The Fungus Among Us

Geastrum

 

Gasteroid fungi produce their spores inside a “stomach”. When they reach maturity, the spores are floating dustlike inside a puffball like stomach. This group of fungi relies on outside intervention to “burst” the puffball and distribute the spores.

The earthstars shown in these photos are particularly interesting because when they reach maturity, their outer fruiting body splits open into triangular flaps which then extend downwards and lift the whole structure to explore the inner “puffball” to animals or rain.

Learn more about fungi with The Kingdom of Fungi by Jens H. Petersen: http://press.princeton.edu/titles/9969.html