Earthstars such as Geastrum velutinum, pictured here, grow in leaf litter on the forest floor. When they first appear they resemble a small egg, then their outer layer splits open and folds back into six to eight arms, like a star. The spherical spore-containing structure sits in the centre of the star and somewhat resembles a puffball. When raindrops hit, spores are released through a hole in its top.
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Department of Conservation
Photograph by Paul Schilov
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