En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
8 ratings

Sunday - November 08, 2009

From: Westlake Hills, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Rare or Endangered Plants
Title: How rare is the Devil's Cigar Fungus (Chorioactis geaster)?
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Megan Murphy

QUESTION:

I have found a fungus called devil's cigar in the woods behind my house in Westlake Hills Texas. I read that it is rare. Is it considered rare even to Central Texas? If so, do I need to let someone know I found it as an endangered species or maybe a plant specialist would just like to see it. Who should I contact if necessary? Thanks for your time!

ANSWER:

Our focus and expertise here at the Wildflower Center are with native vascular plants and the fungi don't really fit into that description. However, Mr. Smarty Plants and his friends do know a little about this particular fungus,  Chorioactis geaster (devil's cigar).  It is rare in that it is only found in a few places in the world—Japan is one of them and Texas is the other.  It was, in fact, first found in Austin in 1893. That isn't to say that it is a very common sight in Central Texas, but one of us has seen one in her yard and we know other people who have also seen them. They reportedly make a  “hissing” sound when they release their spores, but we haven't heard it.  In 1997 it was proposed that this mushroom be designated as the the State Fungus of Texas.  However, the effort has evidently not yet been successful since there is no designated State Fungus of Texas. 

If you would like to contact a real mushroom expert,  the best mushroom resource we know of is Sue Metzler (her contact information is under Houston, Texas on this link).  She (literally) wrote the book on Texas mushrooms (Texas Mushrooms: A Field Guide by Sue and Van Metzler).  

 

More Rare or Endangered Plants Questions

Why is endangered Sandplain Gerardia (Agalinis acuta) helpful in the environment
October 31, 2007 - My son is doing a report on endangered plants in Maryland and was assigned the Sandplain Gerardia. On-line we have been able to find much of the information we need for his report. However, there is...
view the full question and answer

Problems with transplanted Texas Madrones from Junction TX
May 13, 2014 - We planted 3 little Texas madrones last year 9 - 12 inches high. 2 of them seem to have some kind of black blight along the edges of the leaves that I don't think was the result of our late freezes. ...
view the full question and answer

Texas madrone trimmings for a wedding
July 26, 2011 - Looking for Texas madrone tree trimmings needed for a special wedding.
view the full question and answer

Storm damage to native sweet bay magnolias in Kentucky
February 04, 2009 - Can you please share information on storm damage to sweet bay magnolias; if the top is broken off can the tree maintain its natural shape or will the sides begin to grow more than the top; i.e., growt...
view the full question and answer

Endangered/threatened status for Hexalectris spicata in Texas
November 17, 2007 - I was wondering about the status of Crested Coralroot Orchid (Hexalectris spicata) in Texas. Over the years I have located several clumps of them growing on a ranch in southern Bell county. The mos...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center