I'd never heard of 'earthstars' before, but when I received a phone call this morning saying they'd appeared in some nearby woodland I had to go and see for myself. It was only a 3 minute walk, and of course I took my camera with me.

Collared Earthstar fungus

The central body of the opened star is essentially a thin-skinned bag through which spores are expelled. We took a few shots which I've put together as an animation. You can see the spores emerging to the right of the body.

Earthstar expelling spores

Earthstars are relatively uncommon. The star shape is the result of the outer skin opening up. This is one in the closed state.

My thanks to Dr Martyn Stenning for the opportunity to see and photograph this. It's sufficiently rare that I may not get another chance.

Camera note: The first shot was taken with the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L USM IS lens. For the rest I used the EF17-40mm f/4L USM. All shots were taken with flash.

This entry was posted in fungi and tagged , .


  1. Vulpes vulpes August 20, 2008 at 11:08 pm #

    Funny, I saw those last year I think and wondered what they were! Nifty animation.

  2. Cynthia23 August 21, 2008 at 12:08 am #

    Never before have I seen these! Awesome opportunity Words! Thanks for this post.

  3. FrogBoots August 21, 2008 at 3:08 am #

    Super! Thanks for sharing! :up: 🙂

  4. Flying Red Fox Blog August 21, 2008 at 5:08 am #

    Wow what an interesting find! 😀 The photo with your fingers seems to move but that might be my pc playing up is it?

  5. Ukwildlife August 21, 2008 at 8:08 am #

    great find.

    Is it just mean or could the animation be misintepreted by some with a less than clean mind lol 😉 😆

  6. cakkleberrylane August 21, 2008 at 1:08 pm #

    Very interesting and an amazing opportunity for you to photograph and for us to read. Thanks for the post!

  7. SittingFox August 21, 2008 at 10:08 pm #

    Cool animation! Great find :up:

  8. Words August 22, 2008 at 12:08 am #

    Mark, yes it was good find, but not down to me. I wouldn't have known what I was looking at. The fingers aren't mine either! But I did take the photos and make the animation of the spores coming out. That's three shots put together and turned into an animated gif file.

  9. Words August 22, 2008 at 12:08 am #

    FB, thanks!

  10. Words August 22, 2008 at 12:08 am #

    Neil, I don't know what you mean :whistle:

  11. Words August 22, 2008 at 12:08 am #

    Vulpes, they were a new one on me. Glad they helped you i.d. your sighting.

  12. Words August 22, 2008 at 12:08 am #

    Lois, thanks. I was delighted to get the chance to see them.

  13. Words August 22, 2008 at 12:08 am #

    Adele, thanks. Until I got the shots I wasn't sure if I'd caught the spores. Once I saw I had, animating was the obvious thing to do.

  14. Words August 22, 2008 at 12:08 am #

    Thanks Cynthia.