Sunday, July 10, 2011

Fanciful Fungi #9: South Western Fungi

South Western Australia is amazing! Giant trees. Great food and wine. Strange yabbie-like crustaceans. Parrots and rosellas that try to attack you (both in and outside of cars). Shallow ocean shelf. Quokkas <3. And other general awesomeness.

Like any other amazing bush-holiday, it can't be complete without some amazing fungi!

After staying in Pemberton, we decided to go to Gloucester National Park to look at the Gloucester tree. It is a giant Karri tree with a fire tower at the top. Yes, you can climb it. And no, I didn't. Too scared of heights. Instead, we decided to do a 10km loop through the Karri and Marri forest. And this is where we found some of the most amazing fungus I have ever seen! There were jelly fungus, native truffles, toadstools, pin-head fungi, punks and bracket fungus!

Here are just a few of the amazing haul!

 I really like this fungus and havent seen anything like it around the Eastern states. It is kind of scaly and near flat on the wood, and has a gradient of colour from brown-yellow-white. They aren't very big either, not more than the end of a finger or thumb. I think it is a leathery fungi, but none of my books have given me any clues about its exact name.

I decided to call this one the vomit fungus. On the outside it is brown and white, and has tonnes of yellow spores on the inside. The outside is also somewhat gelatinous and slimy. There were heaps of them on the surface of the walking track, hiding within the litter.  I think it is actually a bolete eater (Hypomyces chrysospermum), which actually parasitises other species. There was alot of coral fungi on the path as well, and it is possible it was taking over their fruiting bodies and the gross slimyness was rotting fungi flesh.

Curry punk (Piptoporus australiensis) is this yellow woody bracket fungus. I really really wanted to see one, and it was actually the first fungus we saw on the walk! :D Although they have the colour of curry, they certainly didn't smell like it.

Angus managed to get a really good shot of these cup fungi; they are no bigger than a pin head! These are the very first Ascomycota I have seen. With whitish-green flesh, I could not find them in any of my books. Love to know what they are.

This jelly fungus is commonly known as Yellow Brain Fungus (Tremella mesenterica). It loves rotting wood as a place to live.

More tiny tiny white mushrooms on rotting burnt logs. I think it is a small umbrella Mycena sp, which like rotting bark, twigs, leaves and logs.

And finally, a rhubarb bolete (Boletellus obscurecoccineus) which was easy to pick with its red cap and yellow under body. It is a fleshy pore fungus, and loves the forests of SW Australia.

Whilst in WA, I also managed to purchase two new books especially written as guides on South Western Australia fungus: 'Fungi of the South-West Forests' which is part of the Bush Books series and the amazing hand painted 'Magical World of Fungi' by Patricia Negus. I particularly recommend the second book; the illustration is beautiful, it has great personal stories and a lot of love and care went into writing the book.


  1. Hi Jess,

    Glad you enjoyed the South West. I'm looking forward to getting back home and spotting fungi while walking the bibbulmun track. Patricia Negus' book is great, isn't it. Thanks for the fungal adventures.


  2. Thanks Harry! We did enjoy ourselves quite a bit and hope to be back again in the future. I would love to do the Bibbulmun track as well - maybe by bike?!?

  3. I didn't climb that tree either :/

    Southwestern Australia is pretty fantastic.