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.

Fanciful Fungi #8: Hide and Seek Fungi @ Square Rock

A long time ago, April actually, five of us went on a fungi hunting adventure in Namadgi National Park. I have been meaning to sort and organise these fungi photos for awhile now, but been super busy with the PhD (getting close to the end), writing for other rad peeps (Thesis Whisperer, PhD2Published, The Conversation, ViewPoint) and the rest of the time I seem to be flopping around the house in a manic-daze.

Thanks to Lynds for this photo of us at Square Rock

Lynds, Lee, Bron, Jola and I all walked to Square Rock and back. It is an easy-moderate walk about 8km long, with plenty of fungi along the trail. Jola was particularily good at spotting them on the ground or hiding under leaves, and Lee found stacks on logs. With so many amazing fungi, I have chosen a few of my favourites to classify.

This beautiful pink funk had slugs all over it munching away. Although its colour doesn't make it look that appetising, it must be for some animals! I believe this one is Fomitopsis lilacinogilva (or related to it), which can be identified from its pink colour. It is found on dead wood, and leaves a cubical rot in the timber after it has died.

I love the tiny fungi you can find on rotting wood. These ones wouldn't be much bigger than my thumbnail! Unfortunately I am unable to work out what they are. Their little bell like shape, and gills as identifying features seems to be missing from my book. Suggestions on their species would be most welcome.

I have always wanted to find a purple fungus! This Cortinarius archeri  is getting a little old, and starting to get a brown tinge on the top. However, they are common in many eucalypt forests around Australia, so keep an eye out for them!

 Another woody bracket fungi, I think. The brown splodges are actually amber coloured water. It is another elusive species missing from my book. Guesses welcome.

Apart from the fungi, the walk had some amazing views and  rock caves and crevices to explore. You could imagine Indigenous Australians camping between the rocks, protected from the sun and rain, and sheltering their fires.

It is starting to get a bit cold in Canberra for fungi, with snow already on the Brindabellas. Probably no more fungi until next year :(