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Geastrum triplex spore dispersal
Spore dispersal of the earthstar mushroom Geastrum triplex. [Photo credit: Josef Stuefer (used with expressed written consent); source: flickr.com]

Geastrum triplex is a member of the order Geastrales in the class Agaricomycetes, and was sequenced as part of the 1000 Fungal Genomes Project. The 1000 Fungal Genomes Project aims to fill in gaps in the Fungal Tree of Life by sequencing at least two reference genomes from the more than 500 recognized families of Fungi. This project additionally aims to inform research on plant-microbe interactions, microbial emission and capture of greenhouse gases, and environmental metagenomic sequencing.

G. triplex is the largest member of the genus Geastrum (earthstar fungi). The specific epithet "triplex" refers to the three-layered peridium and gives rise to one of many vernacular names: "triple earthstar". Spores are dispersed via a puff of air that forces them through the opening (ostiole), induced either by wind blowing over the hole or falling raindrops hitting the flexible endoperidium. G. triplex has a widespread distribution and has been found on all continents except Antarctica. It is saprobic, and found on well-rotted tree stumps1. While nonpoisonous, it is generally regarded as inedible. Historically used in Native American and Chinese traditional medicines, chemical analysis has identified various bioactive compounds including fungal sterols and fatty acids2.

References

  1. Healy RA, Huffman DR, Tiffany LH, Knaphaus G (2008). Mushrooms and Other Fungi of the Midcontinental United States (Bur Oak Guide). Iowa City, Iowa: University of Iowa Press. p. 243. ISBN 1-58729-627-6.
  2. Torpoco V, Garbarino JA (1998). "Studies on Chilean fungi. I. Metabolites from Geastrum triplex Jungh". Boletin de la Sociedad Chilena de Quimica. 43 (2): 227–29.