earth stars

Geastrum saccatum (Photo: Wikipedia)
I noticed these strange fungi a year or so ago. Lately I have been thinking a lot about them  as they multiply and multiply.  The other plants don't seem to mind their presence. The sage plants have rust or some fungal disease but this is only to be expected in such rainy weather as we've been experiencing lately. I don't think their disease is caused by the mystery funghi.

Now the mystery is solved.  A bit of googling, and this is what I learned ...  

Its name is Geastrum australe. It is an inedible species of mushroom belonging to the genus Geastrum or earthstar fungi. It can be mistaken for Geastrum saccatum or Geasturm simulans, and is found in Melbourne.

I mentioned that it has rained steadily on and off for months now. The soil is nicely damp after years of heat and drought. Other mushrooms have appeared in the garden as well.  Snails have re-appeared after a long absence. Common ordinary garden snails as well as exquisite tiny snails with delicate spherical shaped shells.  There is lovely soft green moss between the stones on some of the paths.

I welcome and appreciate mushrooms, snails and moss in the name of biodiversity. The weather will eventually return to heat and drought. Then the mushrooms, snails, moss and other living things that need damp, will disappear again. 

And then I will miss my earth stars.

Geastrum australes (Photo: Wikipedia)


  1. Catmint they are really quite beautiful and what a wonderful name... I would be delighted to find these in my garden, what a treat. I love a bit of moss and fungi in the garden, it just adds a bit of mystery and wonder.

  2. Hi Catmint! What a fun mystery you've enjoyed and solved! I'm glad you're enjoying the rain... you've had drought for so long.

    We're also having a lot of rain and the fungal formations are rampant! ;-) Meaning lots of mushrooms, toadstools, etc., etc. Thanks for posting on your earth stars! (Great name)

  3. I get these too, Catmint, and it's great to get something coming up so unconventional or gardenly. This wet year I've also been getting loads of little orange toadstools, so delicate, such a strong colour, when colour's draining away elsewhere...

  4. Hoorah I can comment again. And what a strange looking fungi.

  5. What a unique looking fungi. The kids would love to look at them.

  6. Really? Or are you stringing us poor ignorant foreigners along? Seeing your comments I guess the mushroom DOES look like that!

  7. So beautiful and unlike anything I have ever seen before!

  8. How unusual. How big (or small) are they? And are they edible at all? Just curious because I'm fascinated by them lol.

  9. Dear Catmint,

    You left me a comment on May 27 for my post about how to Export your blog... I wanted to follow you but you don't have the Google Friend Connect follow button installed yet.
    This is really easy to do. Just give it a try. I'll come back later.
    By the way, due to the rainy season those toadstools appear. Their spores are 'everywhere' but only the environment selects. That means the optimum for them to grow are now perfect. My husband founded the 1st and only practical training college in the world about Mushroom Growing so we both know something about it. We've done consulting work all over the world, including in Australia!
    Lots of love,


  10. Dear Ali, mystery and wonder ... what I realize I crave in the garden.

    Dear SG, thanks for the visit and comment.

    Dear Faisal, I've got the orange ones too, they're lovely.

    Dear Hermes, welcome back!

    Dear MK, I wonder why they're in melbourne and not Adelaide? I'm sure the kids would love them.

    Dear Cathy, I guess they are unusual. i don't recall seeing them until recently.

    Dear Diana, you've given me a good idea for a fun post - bit this one is for real!

    Dear C and S, thanks for commenting, it actually is like something we have all seen before (the nipple is the elephant in the room, lol)

    Hi Lynnifer, wikipedia says the mushrooms are not edible, and I don't think I'll eat them in case the info is correct!

    Hi Mariette, lovely to hear from you - I don't think I knew your close mushroom connections. I do have Google Friend Connect, and have now moved it up into a more prominent positiion.

    cheers, catmint

  11. Wow, what a fascinating thing! During the wet season here I found some amazing fungi but nothing as amazing as this. Terrific form!

  12. Those are really amazing and so big. I've never seen them before. The conditions must be just perfect and what a great name for them-they come from the earth.

  13. What an interesting and beautiful mushroom! I think it's cool how the fungi and moss are dormant during the drought and heat, but once the rain returns they wake-up and return again :)

  14. I have never seen an earth star but they have been on my list of 'would like to see' for quite a while. I'm jealous!



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