Devil’s cigar mushrooms (Chorioactis geaster) are not edible. It is not recommended to eat any type of wild mushroom. Rather, unless you’re a seasoned forager with extensive knowledge of wild crops, it’s best to stick with mushrooms at the grocery store.
Because of its rarity, there haven’t been enough studies on devil’s cigar to understand whether or not they pose any health risks after consumption.
What Does Devil’s Cigar Taste Like?
There isn’t much of a flavor profile to be known about devil’s cigar, since it’s highly recommended not to eat it. However, there are some reports that it does not taste good at all.
What Exactly Is Devil’s Cigar?
Devil’s cigar is a rare mushroom or fungus that is grown in very few areas around the world. They usually grow between October and April, as they enjoy high moisture in the air and cooler temperatures. It’s also said that the devil’s cigar has an interestingly leathery texture to the touch.
What Does Devil’s Cigar Look Like In The Wild?
The devil’s cigar has a short stem that stays in the ground, and it’s usually either brown or white. . As the mushroom grows, it produces a long white stem that eventually spores out into what looks similar to an explosion. As the mushroom continues to grow and mature, the body will turn brown and grow small velvety brown hairs.
Why Is It Called Devil’s Cigar?
Devil’s cigar mushrooms are properly named chorioactis geaster. There are a few reasons for it going by its more interesting moniker. It looks really similar to a cigar when it’s being produced.
It also has a spore cloud that puffs out similar to smoke, and it makes a hissing sound when they are ready to be harvested. From one angle, the mushroom somewhat resembles a star, which is why it’s also sometimes referred to as a Texas star.
Why Is Devil’s Cigar Also Called The Texas Star?
When a devil’s cigar mushroom has grown and is ready to release spores, it splits at the top. The top ends up looking like a five pointed star. Since it mainly grows in Texas, it’s known as the Texas star.
In 2021, the governor of Texas actually ended up naming the devil’s cigar the official fungi of the state.
Why Does The Devil’s Cigar Make A Hiss?
It’s unknown the reason the mushroom is able to emit a hissing sound, but it is known what happens when the hiss is heard. The mushroom is shooting off its spores into the earth in order to be able to reproduce.
Where Is Devil’s Cigar Found?
There are only three places where devil’s cigar mushrooms have been found; Texas, Japan, and Oklahoma. The first place it was ever discovered was in Texas.
It then popped up in Japan in two completely different areas almost 70 years apart. Then a few years after that, it was spotted in Oklahoma. It’s quite the interesting crop, as it’s been difficult to determine exactly what its origin was.
That being said, the variety from Japan and the variety from Texas has slight variations. They also grow on two different types of wood and in different climates. The Asian variety is also currently an endangered species.
Due to limited research, it’s unknown how or why devil’s cigar only grows in these specific areas. There’s a possibility that it has something to do with the soil.
Why Do Mushrooms Spawn In The Wild If Not For Consumption?
The reason some mushroom species grow is to support the plant life around them. So even if a particular plant, such as devil’s cigar, isn’t edible, it still has its purpose in the cycle of life.
What If I Manage To Find Devil’s Cigar Near My Home?
If you somehow manage to find a devil’s cigar growing in your garden or on your land, it’s best to get rid of the mushroom. It’s unknown whether or not it’s poisonous to humans or animals.
Be sure to wear gloves when doing so, and seal the mushroom tightly in a plastic bag. You can also pour baking soda and vinegar into the hole where you dig the mushroom up from to try and stop it from growing again.
That being said, if there is no one that frequents the area where you find the growth, such as pets or children, leaving them alone won’t do any harm to your garden or other plants in the area.
What Happens If I Accidentally Ingest Or Come In Contact With Devil’s Cigar?
If an accident were to occur and you, your pet, or your loved one touched a devil’s cigar mushroom, keep a close eye on the area to see if a rash or sore develops. If they start behaving abnormally, it’s best to seek medical care as soon as possible.
In the case of accidental consumption of devil’s cigar, it would be wise to seek medical care immediately. Be sure not to eat or drink anything else before being examined by a medical professional.
There are no documented cases of any adverse reactions to touching or consuming devil’s cigar. However, because some mushrooms can be deadly, it’s better to be safe.
Why Isn’t There More Information Known About Devil’s Cigar?
Since devil’s cigar is so rare, it’s not one that everyone has heaerd of. With it only being grown mainly in one state, and with sightings in only two other areas of the world, it hasn’t sparked enough interest to incentivize any research funding to be granted to study it further.
However, there is interest in learning more about this mysterious mushroom. For example, there’s an organization in Texas called the Central Texas Mycological Society who is currently fundraising to be able to dedicate time to researching the devil’s cigar.
Hi, I’m John Stephens, chief editor and writer for Totalgardener.com. I’ve been gardening and raising animals for over 15 years starting with a small backyard plot in Northern Virginia where I grew corn, potatoes, squash, and using a high mulch technique called the Ruth Stout Method. I also raised ducks and small mammals for meat and eggs in a movable pen similar to the ones used by Joel Salatin. I later moved to Colorado where I experimented with growing greens using aquaponics inside. I eventually added a microgreens setup and home sprouting operation. I’m excited to share everything I’ve learned plus more from the other local gardening and animal raising experts I know.