Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Fanciful Fungi

Fungi are the heart of soil nutrient cycling! We often can not see fungi living in the soil. They feed on rotting plant and animals and break it into more plant available forms. Sometimes we are lucky enough to spot a fungi or two on the soil surface. And they can be rather beautiful. However, working out exactly what they are can become a hard guessing game.

Deua National Park is home to some beautiful above ground fungi. We did the Wyabene Cave (Marble Arch) walk, which took us through about eight different forest and heathland ecosystems. I have done the walk twice, and each time I see different fungi. Trees and spiderwebs (of which there were many) distracted us on the walk, and unfortunately my partner only managed to photograph three species. Regardless, they sure are rad!!!!

Mushrooms and toadstools are part of the Basidiomycota genus. These are the common species that we can find popping out of the ground, and also include many of those we eat! Basidiomycota also have a large amount of poisonous species, including more fanciful ones colloquially known as 'magic mushrooms'. 

This particular specimen (above) was unfortunately not in my guide book. I believe it may be a Amanita species, and would love to hear from readers if they know what it is. Amanita species are mainly found in eucalyptus forest. As you can see from the log and the leaf litter in the photo, this one was photographed in a dry sclerophyll forest.

Again, another Basidiomycota that I am unable to identify. The closest I could find was Boletus barragensis. The book said that it is found in Eucalyptus/Leptospermum forest. Again, by the leaf litter, you can see that it was indeed found in a moister valley eucalyptus forest with leptospermum. It also said that they are a red-brown colour. Whilst this one was red-brown, it also had an amazing bronze sheen in the sunlight, hard to tell in the captured photo. 

This beauty I believe is a Ramaria species. Given its creamy colouring and long coral stems, I am fairly certain that it is Ramaria capitata. Like the guide book says, it has a cauliflower top and can be found in forest. This photo was taken at the last wetter eucalyptus forest on the walk, before the decent to the Marble Arch. 

All fungi descriptions are courtesy of: 'A field guide to Australian Fungi' by Bruce Fuhrer. Published in 2009 (revised) by Bloomings Books. However, I was unable to find all the descriptions I was after. The ANBG have a list of resources for fungi ID. However, none of the sites really have searching and identification options available online. If anyone has a good website or great fungi ID skills, please write in! I would love to know what these beauties are.


  1. Nice pics! If you get hooked on fungi you could participate in Fungimap:

    It must be a good time of year for them? I've see a few other bloggers putting up fungi pics too, one had a link to a sydney study group:

    so i reckon there's a few fungi people around that you could send pics to and they'd know what they are.

    BTW, I think there's not much good online ID/searching for plants, let alone fungi.... would be great to see more.

  2. I did see the Fungimap! It is pretty cool. They have some good books from the project as well, including the Field Guide I have.

    Thanks for the Sydney link. I might have to give them an email.

    I would love some better online ID/searching for all types of organisms! I know CSIRO has many of these in the pipeline. However, as they seem to get smaller and smaller in size, perhaps it will be left to enthusiasts to do it themselves.