A rare fungus find: Daisy Earthstar (Geastrum floriforme) by Anthony Carter

Geastrum floriforme (Daisy Earthstar) – Anthony Carter

 

This species first appeared in Liverpool at Springwood Crematorium in October 2019, a single fruitbody under some Cupressus leylandii near the access road.

There are only 38 previous UK records on the national database. A rarity in this area, the only previous record for the North West was in 1953 at Blundellsands. This was also the first UK record. My find attracted the interest of Kew who requested it for the Fungarium.

In October 2020, I was in Calderstones Park when I came across another specimen in the shrubbery that leads up to Harthill Road. Again under Cupressus.

In February I was back at Springwood Crematorium in the Garden of Remembrance that borders the Eric Hardy Reserve, There is a long line of Cupressus that forms the boundary with the Reserve and is usually a good area for fungi. To my surprise, I came across a patch of twenty Geastrum floriforme in the litter. Why should I make three finds and a decent number of such an unusual fungus that has not recently been recorded in this area? Is it rare or have I ‘got my eye in’?

It is a small species, only 2 cms across. The rays curl over the sac when it dries, like a daisy does at night. So it would be very difficult to locate in this state unless one was looking very carefully.

I put my question to Kew who replied as follows;

"Looking at the British collections databased in Kew, they start in 1953 and are mostly associated with urbanised habitats such as gardens, parks, cemeteries, playing fields and introduced conifers. It might be an introduced species and perhaps it has been increasing in recent years, but always difficult to draw firm conclusions from the records. Of the 20 British collections of this in Kew, 15 were from the year 2000 onwards."

 

Daisy Earthstar (Geastrum floriforme)
Anthony Carter

 

By Anthony Carter