Sunday, June 27, 2010

Fanciful Fungi #4: Fungi love the Rain

Fungi like the rain! This year is supposed to be exceptional for fungi. With the rain in the earlier months and the cool weather (but not too cold!) we are now lucky to see some rare and beautiful fungi. Dr Andrew Claridge, a mycologist (fungi doctor) in NSW Parks and Wildlife, goes out every Friday for a truffle hunt with his wife and various other truffle lovers. They have found at least one new species of fungi each week! Some of the fungi have laid dormant over the dry years, and popped up during good conditions. Only now we are able to see and classify them. Just goes to show how little we know about fungi.

I decided to do some of my own fungi detection work this week up on Mt Ainslie. All of these beauties were found on the path between my house and the summit. I wonder if any of them are a new species?

Angus spotted this bright orange fungi on a log just as we started walking up the hill. We found it several more times on other decaying and dried logs. It mainly followed cracks or filled holes. I think it is part of the Basidiomycota family, and a type of Tyromyces, possibly T. merulinus. It is a woody pore-fungi, which prefers dead wood (like this log), and often colonises in patches.

Two in one! As I went to take a photo of the green toadstools, I noticed the tiny fungus on the wood; the size of a finger nail! What a lucky find!  The green toadstool is a Basidiomycota, and possibly a Cortinarius species. They were hidden under a rotting log. The cute fungi on the log is a woody pore-fungi. Nether are in my book! Maybe they are new...

These cute toadstools were everywhere on the walk; they liked places with thick leaf litter! There tops were about the size of a twenty-cent piece, and the old ones dried to a cream colour. Their stem and gills were also a cream colour. Unfortunately, my book was unable to help! They are a Basidiomycota, but no idea of the genus or species. I think I need to start taking samples to give to a Mycologist.

This white porous fungi looked like it had been kicked out of the ground and dumped where I found it. No idea on its natural growing location makes it hard to identify. However, I think it is either a coral fungi or a woody porous-fungi. Given its dirty bottom, I would think that it emerged/grew through soil. Given this, it is more likely to be a coral fungi. I searched through my book, thinking it wasn't there (another one unidentified *sigh*) and realised it is actually a bracket-fungi! It is a Laccocephalum mylittae or Native Bread. It emerges from the ground with an enclosed brown fruiting body, and white pores inside. It is these white pores that you can see in the photo. It is also edible, and is eaten by Indigenous Australians!

With the damp weather, it is the best time to spot magical fungi. Try hunting for fungi in your local area. You never know when you might find a new species! 

For more facts on fungi and truffle spotting, check out this article at ABC Science: Native Truffles are Fun Guys

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