Earthstar Astraeus hygrometricus

The earthstar fungi is a part of Diplocystaceae family.  It is common in both temperate and sub-tropical climates.

Earthstars are named after the shape of their fruiting body.  After rain or humid weather, rays of fungi flesh splay in a star shape out to expose a circular white/grey spore sac in the centre.  The rays are brown and grey with  a cracked surface that looks like a mosaic tile pattern.  When the weather becomes dry, the earthstar rays will close over the spore sac. The spore sac is smooth and dusty-white with an irregular slit at its centre. When it opens the sac will be white and soft.  Once the spores have matured it will turn a light brown and dry up. 

The earthstar prefers to grow near intricate root systems and helps the trees access the nutrients that are available in the soil. You will find them in groups, growing amongst the leaf litter near larger trees.