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These guys take over the whole town after just two or three days of heavy monsoon rain. Some might imagine that they are a sort of stalked puffball, but they're actually more closely-related to a shaggy mane, and they identify with agarics.
Growing on disturbed, loose sand near areas where shade is felt for some time during the day. This fungus and others of the genus Pistillaris has been found in all parts of the world, minus Antarctica, in arid zones (i.e. deserts).
Most people, myself included, get freaked out the first time they see things like this pop up the next morning. I mean they are kinda strange huh? Being spread out all over the globe, these guys have a long list of uses: Australia, gray hair darkener (thanks to the dark spores), face and body paint (again due to spores), and as a fly repellent; Yemen, a treatment to skin cancers; South Africa, folk medicine used to prevent sunburn; China, to treat inflamation. It is said to be edible when young, as long as the inner flesh is still white (mature P. pistillaris become a dark-spored dusty mess -- hardly appetizing), and is enjoyed in India, Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia (although it can be eaten, there's research that supports it as being slightly toxic and other studies claiming it's completely edible without a consequence -- use your own judgement on this). More research must be conducted on this not-so-well-known mushroom to discover what it truly has to offer for us all. (For an in-depth article on the medical aspects of P. pistillaris, check out this report: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles...)
Lat: 32.21, Long: -110.97
Spotted on Sep 20, 2011
Submitted on Sep 21, 2011