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.
I thought I would take the opportunity to clear my inbox and share the treasures with.
I was sent this photo of boletes collected from under oaks in Hagley Park in Christchurch. The characteristic features of these boletes are the finally cracking cap surface exposing the underlying flesh, the yellowish pore surface and upper stem and the reddish base to the stem.
I went back to the sender and asked if where the brown skin of the cap has cracked is the flesh underneath slightly pinkish or is it yellow? If you cut the stem lengthwise it should be reddish near the bottom, after a few minutes exposure to the air does the cut flesh turn bluish? His response was no to both questions. This does show the difficulty of identifying specimens that are past their prime. If we look at both characteristics in turn: The cracking of the cap is quite apparent but the exposure of the reddish underlying tissue is not reliable as it changes with the age. Also many of the description in fact say that the underlying tissue is only pinkish and usually only towards the margin of the cap. As these specimens look reasonably weather beaten and quite dry it is not surprising that the pinkish flesh is not obvious.
The second characteristic is the bluing of the bruised or cut flesh. While seeming a strong feature one description says “sometimes blueing when bruised” and “this reaction takes several seconds with the blueing never as intense”. Not a great character for beginners. If you look carefully at the tube surface of the two boletes in which this character can be seen you will see grey bruising on the pore surface where the bolete has been handled. In some species blue bruising can be greyish and/or be bluish initially then turn grey.
Given that I only have a photo my pick is that this is Xerocomus chrysenteron [red-cracked bolete]. The only other species which it could be is Xerocomus porosporus which I have only seen in Dunedin.
Gracie MacKinley found this large puffball in Greenhithe, Auckland. It is probably Calvatia craniiformis [brain puffball] however it would be difficult to identify as it is immature. You can tell this from the solid white flesh inside the puffball.
As the puffball matures the flesh will convert to spore producing cells. Each of these cells will produce four spores. Once the spores are developed they will dry out to become a powdery yellowish green mass inside the leathery shell of the puffball. Eventually the shell will break to release the spores to the wind. During the drying process the puffball becomes wrinkled like a human brain. The solid white flesh of the immature puffball of Calvatia craniiformis is edible.
Keelan Walker in Blenheim sent me these photos of a bolete under pines. I asked Keelan whether they were sticky on top or did it look like it could have been sticky because pine needle etc. have become firmly stuck to the cap? Did the stem look smooth or spotted with darker markings? When you cut through the flesh length-wise (cut it in two equal halves including the full length of the stem) does any of the cut flesh turn bluish or bluish-black?
Keelan responded “seems to be a sticky substance on the top and on the stem but I don’t notice any spots. When I cut it through the middle there is no blue/black colouring. There is a yellowish/sulphur type colouring tainting the flesh of the cap through”. All useful observations and indicate that this is Suillus granulatus [sticky-bun bolete].
Jan Nisbet photo, from the Whareroa Farm walk about 3.5 km north of Paekakariki, while not a fungus is topical at the moment.
This is a slime mould, Physarium cinereum, which is common at this time of the year on the blades of grass. Slime moulds live as free living organisms in the soil engulfing micro-organisms as a food source. When the reproductive urge takes hold they climb to a high place, in this case blades of grass, and convert, almost metamorphosis, into these rigid fungal like fruiting bodies. The fruitbodies will become hard, break and release spores to start the process again.
Ginelle Simoes left a message on my blog About page last night alerting me to mushrooms growing in the wood mulch under the pohutukawas at the intersection of Jervois Quay, Wakefield St and Taranaki St. Like any good mycologist I was down there at 9pm last night in the dark taking photos and collecting specimens. These were large white and brown, shaggy Chlorophyllum (Macrolepiota) rhacodes and smaller dark brown species of Agaricus. Chlorophyllum rhacodes is regularly eaten as are species of Agaricus (the mushrooms in the supermarket are a species of Agaricus).
Update 24 May 2013
Here is a closer view of the ‘double ring’ found in Chlorophyllum rhacodes as mentioned by Jerry in the correspondence below.