Devil's Cigar --the Texas state fungus
(Pretend you are Geronimo Creek in South Texas)
Near this site in 1893, the strange fruiting body of a fungus known as Devil's Cigar (Chorioactis geaster) was discovered. The fruiting body resembles a dark brown cigar emerging from the ground that undergoes dehiscence. Upon opening it resembles a star, and it is ironic that this star- shaped fungus fruiting body occurs in "The Lone Star State." This distinctive fungus releases its spores in a singularly dramatic fashion that earned the plant its common name. When mature, the Devil's Cigar splits open with an audible hiss filling the air with a cloud of spores that waft away to help ensure a future generation of life for the species. The Devil's Cigar  makes its home on decaying hardwood stumps and exposed roots. Although it was later discovered in Kyushu, Japan, it was not found again for thirty-eight years after that until it showed up in other parts of Texas, including Travis, Dallas, Denton, Tarrant, and Hunt Counties. One hypothesis suggests the possibilty that spores of Devil's Cigar arrived in Texas on clouds of Asian dust during spring wind storms. Many are pursuing legislation to have the Texas legislature recognize the Devil's Cigar as the official state fungus of Texas. They believe that Devil's Cigar symbolizes the unparalleled scope and beauty of Texas just as does the pecan tree and armadillo. Forest Mims III argues that "The Devil's Cigar Fungus is as uncommon and striking as the state that serves as its home, and its unique attachment to Texas makes it a fitting symbol of the Lone Star State."       --D. Gomez

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Last modified 26 April 2004

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