Vaulted starfish (Geastrum fornicatum)Systematics:
- Department: Basidiomycota (Basidiomycetes)
- Subdivision: Agaricomycotina (Agaricomycetes)
- Class: Agaricomycetes (Agaricomycetes)
- Subclass: Phallomycetidae (Veselkovye)
- Order: Geastrales
- Family: Geastraceae (Geastric or Starfish)
- Genus: Geastrum (Geastrum or Zvezdovik)
- Species: Geastrum fornicatum (Vaulted starfish)
The vaulted starfish , or Geastrum fornicatum , is a fungus belonging to the Zvezdovik genus, the Zvezdovik family. As a useful mushroom, it rarely comes into use due to its small number. In folk medicine it is used as a hemostatic and strong antiseptic. It has a number of biologically active substances useful for the human body. Mature spore mushroom mass is used as various powders and is used to prepare various tinctures. The young mushroom cut into strips is applied as a plaster.
The fruiting body of the mushroom is spherical, colored yellow - brown and partially embedded in the soil. As the mushroom grows, its outer shell cracks and opens up in the form of several blades that curl as the mushroom grows. The inner gray part has an opening for ejection of spores, which are colored chocolate brown during the period of active fruiting. Light mushroom pulp quickly coarsens during the growth of the mushroom. When ripe, the mushroom pulp almost completely turns into a dark brown mass of spores.
The distribution area of the fungus covers the forests of the temperate Russian zone. A favorite place for the fungus to settle are calcareous soils. Vaulted starfish grows in small groups, forming witch's rings. Its active fruiting occurs at the beginning and end of autumn.
The mushroom is suitable for consumption at its youngest age, when it resembles a ball in shape. But in this form it is quite difficult to find it, since the mushroom is almost completely immersed in the ground at this time. Can be consumed without prior boiling or frying.
Vaulted starfish, although rare, is well known to professional experienced mushroom pickers.