Recently several brown, leathery looking balls appeared in a secluded area of Priory Park, near the Record Office. These have been kept under observation for a week, without any visible changes. With the damper weather today, they have ‘hatched’ into extraordinary ‘Earth Stars’.
These may look somewhat sinister, but are entirely harmless and will not swallow children or dogs, as they are only 10 centimetres across.This is the largest species of Geastrum in the UK, some of the other species being only a couple of centimetres across.
These are the fruiting bodies of fungus and produce spores from the central dome. They will only last a few weeks but the underground hyphae (‘roots’) may last many years.