Schmidel's starman (Geastrum schmidelii)
- 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 schmidelii (Schmidel's starfish)
Schmidel's starfish (lat.Geastrum schmidelii) is a fungus belonging to the Zvezdovikov family. It is considered a fairly rare, but widespread fungus. It has a peculiar star-like shape inherent in all mushrooms of this family. In scientific circles, it is called an earthen dwarf star.
This species belongs to fungi – saprotrophs, capable of successfully growing both on desert soil and on decaying woody forest debris.
The small-sized fruiting body of the fungus reaches eight centimeters in diameter. It has a hole at its apex and a relatively short stem. In unopened form, the young mushroom body has a rounded shape. The spore powder that appears during the period of active fruiting is brown. Fruiting mushroom bodies often overwinter successfully and persist until the next year.
At first glance at this mushroom, it is striking that Schmidel's starfish sits on a star-shaped base surrounded by pointed petals.
The active peak of fruiting occurs in late summer and early autumn.
The favorite habitat of the starfish Schmidel is the soft soil and litter of mixed forests. Light sandy loam soil is considered especially suitable for growth. The area of distribution of the fungus includes the European part of Russia, Altai, vast Siberian forests.
The mushroom has a low nutritional value, but is of increased interest to professional mushroom pickers only because of its rather unusual star-shaped shape.
This type of mushroom is considered conditionally edible. But it's better not to take it into use. Severe poisoning will not be received, but an upset of the body may occur. Schmidel's starfish does not have a pronounced taste and smell.