Earth star fungus and Tar lichen

Earthstar Fungus

This is another interesting fungus discovered during my recent field trip with Pinelands Preservation Alliance, an Earth Star (Scleroderma geaster).  These unusual fungi apparently grow first out of the ground as a round, almost bulb-like fungus, then slowly split apart into the star-like shape.  The center ball structure holds the spores, much like a puff ball, and emits them when disturbed.   I found several of these on my return trip and, like so many others, it was the first time I had ever really noticed them.

Tar Lichen

I had this unusual lichen identified as Tar Lichen in my notes, though I haven’t been able to find it in my guides or during web searchs.  In this case, I actually remember seeing this before, but had no idea that it was a lichen!  It really looks like globs of tar that have somehow been poured into the sand.  If you have a better or more definitive identification, please send it along to me.  Thanks!

11 thoughts on “Earth star fungus and Tar lichen”

  1. This is so neat! I love seeing the different lichen pics. The teachers at school call me the science nerd, and I guess I am. I’m the teacher who dissects things with 5th graders. Love your pics!

  2. Cool shots. I don’t remember seeing those star lichens, the only ones I saw were well past their prime.

    A friend and fellow Pinelands photographer lent me here marco lichen book to the northeast US. It was on the order of 800 pages. Yeah, there’s lots of them.

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