The “Devil’s Cigar” Spotted Near Austin, Texas
Today I learned Texas has an official state mushroom, and it has a bad*ss nickname. Oh, and it also hisses, which makes it even more metal.
A mushroom that talks?
The Texas Star (Chorioactis geaster) is one of the rarest mushrooms in the world. If you happen to be within earshot when this bad boy unfurls, apparently you can hear a hissing noise as it releases a cloud of spores. Hell Yeah!
Recently, someone observed the mushroom along a trail at Inks Lake State Park, located about 70 miles northwest of Austin.
State wildlife officials say that the mushroom usually appears in late fall, appearing as a dark brown, fuzzy capsule measuring 3-4 inches in length, resembling a cigar.
Rarest of the Rare
The University of Central Oklahoma reports that the mushroom was spotted in Oklahoma for the first time in January 2017. Park officials stated in a Feb. 5 Facebook post that the rare and unusual star-shaped fungus grows selectively, mainly on decaying cedar elm stumps in central and northern Texas. The officials also noted that the limited distribution of the Texas star often confounds scientists, with the only other reported sighting being in Kyushu, Japan.
Do you know what's funny about a mushroom that makes hissing noises? It's the idea that a fungus can be so full of attitude! I mean, we usually think of mushrooms as just sitting there, being all quiet and blend-in-able, but this one is like, "Nope, I'm making a statement with my hisses!