The Texas Star (Chorioactis geaster)

Found only in Texas and Japan, it's one of the world's rarest fungi.

The rare Chorioactis geaster is among the most spectacular and rare fungi in the world. It's among very few fungi that produce an audible hiss when it emits spores.  

It is found only at around a dozen sites in Central Texas between Guadalupe County (where I live) and Fort Worth and in a forest on the east side of the Japanese island of Kyushu. The two locations are within approximately the same latitude range. 

A frosty photo of a Chorioactis geaster is on my home page:

In Texas Chorioactis geaster stars appear only during fall and winter following emergence of a cigar-shaped capsule from the stump or dead roots of a cedar elm (Ulmus crassifolia). In Japan the stars appear on exposed trunks or branches of a dead oak (Quercus sp.).