Bizarre mushrooms that HISS sprout in Texas: Lone Star State and Japan are only places where strange fungus is found

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • A very bizarre mushroom has started popping up in Texas this Winter
  • The Texas star mushrooms is unique because of the hissing sound it makes 
  • Texas stars are so special that they were named the official State Mushroom by Governor Greg Abbot

A very strange mushroom that hisses has been popping up in Texas – with the only other kind of its species being found all the way in Japan. 

The mushrooms are known as Texas stars because of their star-like shape and origin to Texas.

Chorioactis geaster is the Latin name for the unique fungus – which audibly hiss when they release their spores.

‘It sounds like someone is opening a bottle of soda or the like the hissing of a snake,’ according to Angel Schatz, a volunteer with the Austin-based Central Texas Mycological Society.

‘The spores are large, and scientists believe their size has something to do with the sound they make,’ Schatz said.

Texas stars are a very strange mushroom that hiss which have been popping up in Texas – with the only other kind of its species being found all the way in Japan

'It sounds like someone is opening a bottle of soda or the like the hissing of a snake,' according to Angel Schatz, a volunteer with the Austin-based Central Texas Mycological Society (pictured)

‘It sounds like someone is opening a bottle of soda or the like the hissing of a snake,’ according to Angel Schatz, a volunteer with the Austin-based Central Texas Mycological Society (pictured)

The weird toadstools have been popping up in Austin’s Zilker Botanical Garden – and Schatz identified one of the leathery dark orange-colored mushrooms sprouting from a tree stump.

While the shrooms are known as Texas stars in the U.S., in Japan they are called kirinomitake.

‘Texas is only one of three states that has an official state mushroom, and we’re happy that the Texas star earned that honor,’ Schatz said. 

The fruity body grows on the stumps or dead roods of cedar elms in Texas or dead oaks in Japan. 

Texas stars have been appropriately named the official State Mushroom of Texas.

Legislation to officially award the hissing shroom with the honor was filed by 2021 former House Rep. Ben Leman and later signed into law by Governor Greg Abbot. 

‘The mushroom is a poignant reminder of the natural diversity that surrounds us,’ Leman wrote in his 2021 resolution. 

‘The Texas star mushroom is as uncommon and striking as the state that serves as its home, and it is indeed deserving of special recognition.’ 

When the Texas Star emerges from the ground as a three/four inch cylindrical pod it resembles a cigar – hence why another one of the mushroom’s names is the ‘devil’s cigar’.

'The spores are large, and scientists believe their size has something to do with the sound they make,' Schatz said of the mushrooms

‘The spores are large, and scientists believe their size has something to do with the sound they make,’ Schatz said of the mushrooms 

If the conditions are perfect then the mushroom will undergo a process named dehiscence which is when the structure splits apart.

‘It will open up into a three to eight-pointed star,’ Schatz explained. 

‘It is a very cool mushroom to have as our state mushroom,’ she continued. 

‘We love all mushrooms. We think they’re all magical, especially this one,’ Schatz told KXAN Austin. 

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