On my last foray to Otari- Wilton’s Bush I said that it had been a dry cool summer and autumn was not much better. The rains have now arrived and the Wellington region has had two very wet periods in the last two weeks. Here is the rainfall data for the Karori Sanctuary (aka Zealandia) which is a few kilometres to the south of Otari but in the same catchment. (Rainfall graph generated at Greater Wellington Regional Council web site.)
Otari-Wilton’s Bush has a canopy walkway through the treetops. About 18 months ago the decision was made to kill some of the karaka trees [Corynocarpus laevigatus] although native they are not native to this bush and considered invasive. These trees are long dead, have lost their leaves and are now prime fungi habit. Following the recent rain these trees are festooned in wood-ear jellies [Auricularia cornea].
Although there were many species fruiting they were not abundant and often only one or two mushrooms. However there were several species that I had not seen before: a parasol [Lepiota sp.], brown-umbrella inkcap [Parasola leiocephala]; ruby helmet [Mycena viscidocruenta], olive-stemmed helmet [Mycena olivaceomarginata], Parachute conch [Campanella tristis] and tea chalkcap [Russula novae-zelandiae].
A parasol [Lepiota sp.] – This was growing in the leaf litter under the podocarp-kauri stand next to the Information Centre band and was first recoded in April 2013.
Another parasol [Lepiota sp.] – This species was growing in the same habit as the previous species and is the first record for the Otari.
Dark cavalier [Melanoleuca melanoleuca] – Again under the podocarp-kauri stand was a group of three aging and beginning to decay mushrooms which I have tentatively identified as the dark cavalier.
Garlic shanklet [Mycetinis curraniae] – On the bark of living totara [Podocarpus totara].
Brown-umbrella inkcap [Parasola leiocephala] – the brown-umbrella inkcap, growing on woodchips, was segregated from the Japanese-umbrella inkcap. The latter tends to be smaller and paler then the brown-umbrella inkcap.
Red-edged roundhead [Psathyrella corrugis] – Growing on woodchips. I need to check this identification.
Harefoot inkcap [Coprinopsis lagopus] – Growing on woodchips.
Charcoal flycap [Amanita nothofagi] – Beneath black beech [Nothofagus solandri]. [Note it has snapped at the base and is lying on its side.]
Sociable inkcap [Coprinellus disseminatus] – growing on dead woody roots.
Weeping widow [Lacramaria lacrymabunda] – Growing on woodchips.
Ruby helmet [Mycena viscidocruenta] – This small red Mycena was growing on woodchips. Young fresh specimens have a clear layer of slime on their stems but this disappears as the mushrooms age or if conditions are dry.
Brown birdsnest [Crucibulum laeve] – Growing on larger pieces of woodchip.
Scarlet roundhead [Leratiomyces ceres] – Growing on woodchips.
Olive-stemmed helmet [Mycena olivaceomarginata] – This little Mycena was growing on the Cockayne Lawn.
Wood-ear jelly [Auricularia cornea] – This was seen many times on rotting wood. This specimen, at the base of a dead tree was growing in the bush below the Fernery.
Olive honeycap [Armillaria novaezelandae] – growing on a living tree in the Fernery.
Orange poreconch [Favolashia calocera] – This was as common as the wood-ear jelly growing on nearly every dead branch in the bush.
Common scabbards [Volvariella gloiocephala] – Growing on woodchips. The cup or volva at the base of the stem can be seen quite clearly.
Parachute conch [Campanella tristis] – This little, greyish conch, has poorly defined gills with ridges running between the radial gill ridges to give a reticulated pattern. This was growing on dead wood and this photo shows the underside of the mushroom.
White mushroom – growing on the dead rachis of a mamaku / tree fern [Cyathea medullaris] frond. I am wondering whether or not this is porcelain slimecap [Oudemansiell australis]. I need to do some work on this one.
Tea chalkcap [Russula novae-zelandiae] – This tea coloured chalkcap, an ectomycorrhizal species, was growing under kanaka [Kunzea ericoides]. A useful characteristic in Russula is taste. Cut a small piece of tissue, about 2x2x2mm, from the internal flesh or from the gills. Put this piece of mushroom flesh on the tip of your tongue and chew it with your front teeth. Some Russula species are hot/peppery and some mild (have a glass of water handy to rinse with. The tea chalkcap is mild.
Twice a day I walk through the Bolton Street Memorial Park aka the Bolton Street Cemetery. So I have decided to keep an eye open for mushrooms and record them here.
At the beginning of the Carr Path there is a stump which I had seen 3 or 4 flushes of the crumble inkcap [Coprinellus micaceus] over the last three months. And of course I didn’t record these! So when I saw something different I decided I should. The something different was the native wood decay mushroom tree swordbelt [Agrocybe parasitica]. This species is often seen growing from the trunk of living trees but as in this case can utilise stumps. This was 23 March 2014.
Three days later, 26 March, the tree swordbelt had shrivelled away to almost nothing to be replaced by a flush a new flush of the crumble inkcap [Coprinellus micaceus]. The second photo shows clearly the ‘mica’ or glistening fragments on the surface of the cap.
It is only a couple of weeks to the annual fungal foray at Otari-Wilton’s Bush. The walk start at 2pm from the Otari Information Centre, Te Marae o Tane, 160 Wilton Road. Cost for Otari walks $3 and free for Trust members. For further information contact the Treehouse on (04) 499 1400. http://www.kennett.co.nz/otariwiltonsbush2/
It has been a cool dry summer over most of New Zealand so I wasn’t expecting to see much today.
When I was here 2 weeks ago there was no sign of the garlic shanklet [Micromphale sp.] but here it is again. I have consistently found it growing on the living bark of a totara [Podocarpus totara] next to the Information Centre in a mixed grove of podocarps and kauri (Agathis australis).
Just below the Cockayne Lawn in the native plant collection garden is a grove of southern beech including black beech (Nothofagus solandri var. solandri). Although native to New Zealand southern beech do not naturally occur on the Wellington peninsular. Beech form ectomycorrhizae with a number of mushroom species and these species only occur where beech or tea tree [Kunzea and Leptopsermum] are growing. I found a single ectomycorrhizal species fruiting – the cocoa bolete [Tylopylus brunneus ].
Much of the plant collection gardens have been mulched in the last year or two with wood chip. I found these smallish common scabbards [Volvariella gloiocephala] growing in the the native plant collection garden below the Cockayne Lawn and in the garden surrounding the Ponga Lawn. They were a little odd in not having very well developed egg like bases to the stem.
Another wood chip fungus is the hares’s foot inkcap [Coprinopsis lagopus]. This was also in the native plant collection garden below the Cockayne Lawn and in the gardens surrounding the Kauri Lawn.
There were a few branches on the forest floor especially in the Fernery that had clusters of orange poreconch [Favolashia calocera].
Walking down the track from the Cabbage Tree Lawn to the stream I came across cloudy funnelcap [Clitocybe nebularis ] at the base of a mamaku / tree fern [Cyathea medullaris] in a grove of mamaku. These mushroom were 15-20cm in diameter. [Note I saw an arc of about 10 cloudy funnelcaps the next weekend, 6 April, in the Wellington Botanic Garden on the slope above the Glen Rd entrance.]
Hope to see you at the foray.
My collaborator in producing the Mushrooms and other fungi of New Zealand, Don Horne, died yesterday. I met Don and his wife Gwen at the first New Zealand Fungal Foray held in Thames in 1986. I was one year into my PhD and with only one season of collecting mushrooms behind me. The Foray was held over a weekend and in the evening there were talks and slide shows. Don’s slide show was the first time I had seen truly beautiful and artistic photos of New Zealand fungi. Don explained how he took the photo and where he took it and quite often would put a name to the mushroom that he had gleaned from overseas books so were often a good guess but not correct. Don’s photos were artistic and often did not include the necessary detail, such as gills and stem shape, to make an identification which was hugely frustrating to those of us that wanted to know what they were.
Don and I became regular attendees at the annual Forays and over the next couple of years I was able to convince him that he should not only take an artistic shot of the mushroom but also a diagnostic shot, and even better to keep a voucher specimen so a robust identification could be made. Over the next ten years or so Don’s photos appeared in a number of magazine articles on New Zealand fungi but his goal was to produce a book. In the late 90s he persuaded Reed Publishing to do a fungal guide book in its New Zealand nature series. I realised that this was very much Don’s book so when he asked me to help him write it a declined but volunteered to proof it and check the identifications. The book was duly published in 2000.
Don then set his sights on postage stamps. New Zealand had issued stamps based on native flowers, insects, and birds but never on fungi. Don was determined to change this and in 2002 a six stamps featuring his photographs were issued by New Zealand Post.
Now Don was ready to do another mushroom book. He really always wanted to do a coffee table / large format book to feature his mushroom photos. Unfortunately most publishers considered the market too small for such a book in New Zealand. But in his discussion with publishers New Holland Press expressed interest in publishing a mushroom book in their pocket field guide series. New Holland was keen to have a more scientific text to accompany the photos so Don again approached me. So we became collaborators and the book was published in 2006 and is just about to have, in 2014, its fourth reprint. In the strange way that publishing works I was considered the author with photos by Don. I always felt bad about this convention as his photos standalone without the text but the text is nothing without the photos.
Don helped to illuminate mycology in New Zealand and he will be missed.
Last Sunday, 9 March 2014, I made my first trip to Otari-Wilton’s Bush for this years fungal season. Despite a cool dry summer there were a few larger fungi about. These were mostly wood decay fungi as this substrate tends to hold water longer than leaf litter or the soil. The only exception was a parasol mushroom, Lepiota sp., growing in the thick litter below a stand of mixed podocarps and kauri by the information centre.
Many of the paths below the Cockayne Lawn and Lookout have been freshly mulched with wood chip and in the deeper damper patches haresfoot inkcaps, Coprinopsis lagopus, was fruiting.
In the Fernery a few orange poreconch, Favolaschia calocera, were growing on small dead branches mixed in the leaf litter.
Tree species making up the canopy above the Fernery includes tawa (Beilschmiedia tawa) a hardwood species. Several trees had Agrocybe parasitica fruiting on their trunks. Agrocybe parasitica is a heart rot fungus.
A little brown fungus, possibly the bush shank, Heimiomyces neovelutipes, was found on a well decayed log in the Fernery.
The native shitake, Lentinellus novae-zelandiae, was fruiting on rotting logs just behind the carpark at the edge of the Fernery.
On the Circular Walk track that leads down the hill from the Fernery to the Kaiwharawhara stream a single fruit body of the white porcelain slimecap, Oudemansiell australis, was growing on the well decayed branches of a fallen hinau (Elaeocarpus dentatus). This pure white mushroom was difficult to photograph so there is not a lot of detail present.
A few metres further down the track was another decaying tree trunk with wood-ear jelly, Auricularia cornea, growing on the damper underside.
I’d like to apologise to those who follow this blog for the lack of posts over the last five months. I have since my last posting changed job, sold my house and moved to a different city. Now it is time to pick up the threads. Here are few fungi that have come my way in the last few months.
I was in Martinborough in the Wairarapa (south-east corner of the North Island) on a training course in mid-October. In a strip of garden sandwiched between the road and the drive way were a number of tree stumps sprouting bracket fungi. These were the brackets of two relatively common species.
The most prolific on this stump is Trametes versicolor which is very common on all kinds of decomposing wood in forests, parks and gardens. It is distinctive in its concentric bands of greys and browns and with a pale margin. The underside of the bracket is white to very pale brown and dotted with fine pores which are lined with the cells that produce its spores. The brackets are thinnish, up to about 5mm thick, and leathery.
The other orange bracket is Pycnoporus coccineus which produces thicker more robust bracket than T. versicolor but always fewer in number as in this example. Young fruit-bodies tend to be brilliant orange but with age they can become more pale or with some brown colouring, and may be slightly banded. Again as with the previous species the underside of the bracket is densely pored.
A week later in Seymour Square in Blenheim (north-east of the South Island) I spotted these large Volvariella gloiocephala (= V. speciosa), or the common scabbard, growing in the perennial flower bed. These are common in flower beds that have been mulched – in this case with pea straw.
They usually appear when the mulch is about a year old and are seldom seen after this unless fresh mulch is applied. The distinctive feature of this species is its pink spore print and the large egg like volva or sack at the base of the stem from which the cap and stem grow out of.
I colleague sent me this photo this morning, 22 November, of what he described as cat sick. He found it growing amongst grass in a garden.
This is a slime mould, Fulego septica, commonly called dogs vomit fungus/mould, scrambled eggs mould, or flowers of tan he found in Strathmore Park, Wellington. The latter is the most descriptive of its habitat where it was often seen fruiting (the ’flower’) on tan bark, shredded bark from which tannins were extracted for the leather tanning industry. In New Zealand it is often seen fruiting in gardens that have been mulched with bark as in this case. The bright yellow fruit-body will quickly turn into a grey brown powdery mass.
This last summer has been notable in being dry and followed by a reasonably wet autumn (see The drought has broken). So there were plenty of fungi around for the foray, 25-26 May 2013. Below is the list of what we did see.
Otari garden - an exhibition garden of low growing New Zealand native plants but not native to the local area) mulched with wood chips.
Lepiota sp. [a parasol] – this was in the garden under Nothofagus solandri. This is the first collection of this species at Otari.
Leratiomyces ceres [scarlet roundhead] – on wood chip. For more on this mushroom go to my blog here.
Weraroa erythrocephala [scarlet pouch] – in the wood chip mulch and in litter in mixed forest.
Clitocybe nebularis [cloudy funnelcap] – not so much in the garden as down the bank in the bush. Large mushrooms up 25cm diameter and usually in groups or even arranged in arcs in the bush.
Lacramaria lacrymabunda [weeping widow] – solid mushrooms, with a shaggy surface, mottled blackish kills, and a fibrous ring at top of stem. This is the first collection of this species at Otari.
Beech (Nothofagus) grove – this grove was planted as beech is not native to the Wellington peninsular. We haven’t in the past found much here but being a month later there is a lot more to be seen.
Russula acrolamellata [ugly chalkcap]. This mushroom has a brown to golden cap and white stem. Like all chalk cap the stem snaps when bent. If you are prepared to chew a little of the gill tissue on the tip of your tongue it should be quite hot hence the name acrolamellata or acrid gills. We also saw it under kanuka.
Amanita nothofagi [charcoal flycap] – this is an mycorrhizal species which means it is only found growing on the roots of southern beech or teatree. It is related to the scarlet flycap, with its red cap and white warts, seen under pines. Several mushrooms were present.
Coprinellus (Coprinus) disseminatus [sociable inkcap] – A common inkcap found growing on dead wood in all kinds of habitats.
Tylopylus brunneus [cocoa bolete] – Last collected here in 2011. This bolete bruises blue-grey.
I put the cut fruitbody, from above, on paper to dry and the fluid from it seeped into paper where it has reacted with the air and turned the classic blue of this reaction.
Circular walk from Information Centre – this is an area of original broadleaf-podocarp forest but with an underplanted collection of plants that would be expected in this type of forest.
Micromphale sp. [garlic shanklet] – on bark of living totara. If you cup on of these mushroom in your hands and put your hands over your nose you can smell the distinct odour of gallic.
Agaricus sp. [a mushroom] – Growing next to boardwalk in kauri litter. Tall brown mushroom. This is the first collection of this species at Otari. This is very similar to Marie Taylor’s collection GMT737 (PDD84327) which she collected in 1972 from under kauri in Northcote, Auckland.
Lepiota sp. [a parasol] – This was growing under totara.
Mycena pura [lilac helmet] – This distinctive lilac mushroom was growing in the leaf litter.
Favolashia calocera (orange poreconch) – on fallen branches.
Agrocybe parasitica [tree swordbelt] – on living hardwood.
Heimiomyces neovelutipes [bush shank] – Growing on decaying wood.
Armillaria novaezelandae [olive honeycap] – on rotten wood.
Mycena sp. [a helmet] – A very dark coloured Mycena growing on wood. It is similar to Ian Hoods figure 143. It also looks like Jerry Cooper’s Mycena sp. ‘Ahuriri Reserve (PDD80918)’.
Lentinellus novae-zelandiae [bush shiitake] – on rotting log.