Rare hissing, spore-spewing mushroom found at Texas state park, officials say

Devil’s Cigar is one of the rarest mushrooms in the world.

Pictured is the "Texas Star" mushroom, found at Inks Lake State Park - Texas Parks and Wildlife. (Inks Lake State Park - Texas Parks and Wildlife)

BURNET, Texas – If you’ve seen HBO’s “The Last of Us,” you may perk up when you hear of “spores” or “fungus.”

Though we aren’t on the set of the apocalyptic television series, a unique, hissing mushroom that tends to “puzzle scientists” was recently found at Inks Lake State Park, in Burnet, Texas. The park is about two hours away from San Antonio.

Images of the mushroom, known as the Texas Star or the Devil’s Cigar, were shared by the park on Facebook. It was also named the State Mushroom of Texas on July 22, 2021, according to park officials.

The Devil’s Cigar can typically be found growing on decaying cedar elm stumps in Central and North Texas. Park officials said the only other place the fungus can be found is around Kyushu, Japan.

“It is said that when the devil’s cigar unfurls, it releases a strange hissing noise and hazy cloud of spores,” park officials said.

The mushroom typically appears in late fall and is a “dark brown, fuzzy capsule that spans three to four inches long,” park officials said on social media. It’s one of the rarest mushrooms in the world.

About the Author:

Cody King is a digital journalist for KSAT 12. She previously worked for WICS/WRSP 20 in Springfield, Illinois.