‘Little pig, little pig, let me come in.’ To which the pig answered:
‘No, no, by the hair of my chiny chin chin.’ The wolf then answered to that:
‘Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house in.’
An Italian love of piglets
Antonio Carluccio says of Boletus edulis: The stem is bulky, even when the mushroom is small, which is why it has the name porcino, meaning ‘piglet’. The desire to eat porcino by foodies is much the same as the wolf’s desire to eat the little pigs.
Antonio goes on to say that funghi in Italy really means porcino, the king of all the edible mushrooms. … The ones two seek out are:
Boletus reticulatus: appearing from early May to June, then again from August to September, its name comes from rete, meaning ‘net’ because of the typical net-like pattern on the stem.
Boletus pinicola: in my opinion the best of the all porcini because of its dark chocolate-brown colour, it’s extremely meaty cap and solid stem. It appears from the end of summer through to autumn, in coniferous woods growing on common and red pines.
Boletus aureus: often confused with pinicola, this is equally delicious. It is the most common in the South, the best coming from Calabria, Sardinia and Campania, where the climate is warm and oak trees are abundant. The more intense red-brown colour of its cap differentiates if from other types of boletus.Listen to Antonio talk about edible mushrooms here.
Confused by all the names so far?
Ian Hall and his colleagues wrote in 1998 that:
Some fungal taxonomist divide B. edulis into a number of sub-speciesn or separate species using the following names – B. aureus, B. aestivalis, B. edulis, B. pinicola, and B. reticulatus.
They say that B. edulis can be found under oak, birch, and elm trees around Christchurch in the South Island.
So what about the molecular data?
My Colleague Jerry Cooper has collected B. edulis from under oaks [Quercus robur, Quercus ilex], European beech [Fagus sylvatica], silver birch [Betula pendula], and Atlas cedar [Cedrus atlantica] in Christchurch. He compared them to collection of named collections of B. edulis, B. pinetorum, B. persoonii, B. betulicola, B. reticulatus from overseas. The analysis suggest that there is no correlation between the name given to the collections and the tree species with which it is associated and the New Zealand collections are scattered amongst all of the other overseas collections. So we either have lots of species or there is only one species with many names.
So why are you telling me this?
Well! Conor Burke-Govey sent me some pictures of a bolete he collected in the Wellington town belt in mid-April under the email title Did I find Boletus edulis in Wellington? I think he did. It also looks very much like the single fruitbody I collected in the Wellington Botanic Garden in mid-April 2014 under pines. Conor gave me a specimen to send to Jerry for comparison with the collections – I’ll let you know the outcome.
Antonio and Priscilla Carluccio 1999. The Carluccio’s collection: mushrooms and truffles. Quadrille, London. Page 58.
Hall I, Buchanan PK, Yun W, Cole ALJ 1998. Edible and poisonous mushrooms: an introduction. New Zealand Institute for Crop and Food Research, Lincoln.
Wellington has been very dry in the weeks leading up to the Foray and despite the heavy down pour last night there is not a lot around.
Leratomyces ceres = Stropharia aurantiaca [scarlet roundhead]. A perennial find at Otari. Read more about Leratomyces ceres.Agaricus sp. [a mushroom] – Growing next to boardwalk, at the north end of the Visitor’s Centre, at the base of a rimu. We first recorded this at Otari during the 2013 Foray. Nidula candida [white birdsnest]. A common find on woodchip mulch around the gardens. Galerina sp [a helmet]. A small brown spored mushroom growing on the woodchip mulched path in the fernery. Note the distinctive ring on the stem. Postia sp. [a woody bracket]. See comments on Postia in last weeks blog. Auricularia cornea [wood ear jelly]. A common wood decay fungus. Read more about the wood ear jelly. Favolaschia calocera [orange poreconch]. A common wood decay fungus at this time of the year. Hypholoma fasciculare [a woodtuft]. Another wood decay fungus which is also often found on woodchip. Here it was on a log edging the path in the fernery. Agrocybe parasitica [tree swordbelt]. A common heart rot fungus of living tawa. This particular tree produces two or three flushes of mushrooms each year. To see Agrocybe parasitica as unopen caps look at last weeks blog. Also seen in the fernery were:
- Volvariella gloiocephala (= V. speciosa) [common scabbard] – Read more about Volvariella gloiocephala.
- Trametes versicolor [Turkey-tail porebracket] – Read more about Trametes versicolor.
- Parasola leiocephala [Brown-umbrella inkcap] – Have a look at of the genera cut out of Coprinus i.e. Parosola, Coprinopsis, and Coprinellus.
In preparation for the Fungal Foray at Otari Wilton’s Bush next weekend Rachel and I went and had a look to see what was fruiting. It has been a dry summer and autumn in Wellington so I wasn’t expecting to see much, so was surprised at what we did find.
Scarlet roundhead [Leratiomyces ceres = Stropharia aurantiaca]. A wood decay fungus growing on mulch in the gardens below the Cockayne lawn.The common scabbarb [Volvariella gloiocephalus]. This was also growing in the wood chip mulch in the gardens below the Cockayne lawn.
These two mushrooms were growing in the leaf litter in the Fernery under puriri [Vitex lucens] and wheki-ponga [Dicksonia fibrosa]. I’ll get back to you on this.Tree swordbelt [Agrocybe parasitica]. This cluster of your mushrooms was in a cleft at the base of a tawa [Beilschmiedia tawa]. This particular tawa, in the Fernery, produces a crop of mushrooms every year. Tree swordbelt [Agrocybe parasitica]. A mature cluster on a tawa but but the dry northerly wind has desiccated them. This tawa was on the Circular walk just below the Wilton Bowling Club. Garlic shanklet [Mycetinis curraniae]. We normally find this small mushroom growing on the bark of a living totara [Podocarpus totara] just by the information centre. However these were growing on kanaka [Kunzea ericoides] on on the Circular walk just below the Wilton Bowling Club. The last fungus is the icicle tooth [Hericium coralloides]. The phot was sent to me yesterday by Rewi Elliot who is the manager at Otari – Wilton’s Bush. It is a wood decay fungus and was collected by a visitor to the reserve. Rewi did not know what tree species it had been growing on.
The El Niño/ drought continues in Wellington so there isn’t much in the way of larger fungi to see. The family went to Red Rocks (Wellington South coast) on Boxing Day (26 December 2015). The only fungi here are the lichenised ones.It’s all Greek
The boulders at the high tide mark had a patchwork of orange lichen [Xanthoria ligulata]. This species can be found on rocks all round coastal New Zealand and can obviously tolerate being inundated by salt water during storms.The name Xanthoria comes from the Greek word xanthos or yellow and refers to their yellow to orange colour [from Marie Taylor, 2002: Meanings and origins of botanical names of New Zealand plants].
Why are they red?
A walk to Red Rocks is one of those things that Wellingtonians have been doing for generations. Why are the rocks red? From the Wellington City Council website “This unusual rock formation was created when an outcrop of ancient volcanic pillow lava was embedded in younger greywacke, along with red and green siltstone. The Red Rocks Scientific Reserve was created in 1972 after growing public concern about quarrying in the area.”
LichenmobileI saw this car in the car park at Ruakura in Hamilton. It has an impressive number of lichens (a fungus + an alga) growing on the paintwork and plastic surfaces. I am not an expert in lichens but these are probably s species of Parmelia.
The Encyclopedia of New Zealand has a section on lichens on abandoned cars! It says:
“Lichens can thrive on many different surfaces. The surfaces they naturally grow on are rock, soil, plants, other lichens, and sometimes the fur or shells of animals. Lichens also colonise man-made surfaces such as glass, metal, asphalt roads and plastic. This car has been abandoned on farmland near Kaikōura for a number of years, and is now covered in lichens.”The Hamilton car is the interesting because it is still being driven and the lichens need to be able to cope with an ever changing environment i.e. stationary to a 100km per hour on the open road.
The beginning of the end
Lichens are pioneer species which are the first to colonise a barren sites. They are the beginning of a succession of species that will create and build a new soil. These new soils will eventually support a more diverse range of plants, fungi and animals. In other words these lichens are begin the biological process of breaking the car down and returning it to the earth. All very Zen and Gaia if you are into that kind of thing.
Here are some more car further along the colonisation pathway:More pictures of abandoned cars in New Zealand.
While walking the Highbury Fling track (18 November) Margaret Crimp and Anne Conwell came across this strange object growing on fallen pine tree (Pinus radiata). They said it was about 6 cm across with a membranous cover which had split open.“We were mystified – wondered if it might be fungal. Have you any idea what it might be?”
My first reaction was it didn’t ‘look right’ for a fungus. It seemed too big and the membrane was too papery when compared to how wet the inside of it looked through the cracks. I was thinking slime mould but I hadn’t seen anything like it before.
I did quick trawl of the internet and found this picture by Tony Wills of a similar thing again on pine and in Wellington. Tony’s caption of the photo said:
“Apparently some form of slime mold in the form of a white/cream lump ‘growing’ at the base of a Pinus radiata tree stump. Perhaps related to Fuligo septica, but always found in this domed form. 3 to 4cm diameter. Wellington, New Zealand.”So searching the internet again came up with another slime mould Enteridium lycoperdon (Reticularia lycoperdon). Margaret and Anne’s slime mould is likely to be an immature fruit body of this species.
Slime mould live as a plasmodium – like a living soup flowing through the soil eating bacteria, spores, and other organic material.When the plasmodium is big enough and weather conditions suitable it ‘climbs’ to a high place where it coalesces into a solid, spherical body and begins to turn itself into a fruit body. This involves the out part forming a protective membrane. Meanwhile the inner tissue begin to form into spore. Eventually the inner tissue become a solid mass of dry powdery spore, the outer membrane ruptures and the spore blow away in the wind to start the cycle again.
I was in Hamilton on Wednesday at the Ruakura Research Centre and saw these common-basket stinkhorns growing in the mulched garden directly outside the meeting room.The name of both stinkhorn and basket are something of a contradiction – it’s either a basket shaped or horn shaped! I have included below an evolutionary tree, no doubt hopelessly out of date due to more modern molecular techniques but still useful in seeing the morphological trends in the stinckhorns. The common-basket stinkhorn can be found on bush track edges and in undisturbed parts of gardens especially where there has been mulch applied, and usually appears after heavy warm rains. It is amazing how quickly it comes up then disappears, and for this reason, I think, that it is so seldom seen or noticed. If you examine the basket closely you will find it coated in brown slime; this is the spore mass. If you do get this close you will also discover it smells quite revolting. This attracts flies and other insects which become coated in slime and aid the distribution of the spores. All in all an incredible fungus and always an exciting find. So far this year I have only seen common-basket stinkhorn in the Bolton Street Memorial Park and I was texted a photo, Carol Lee, of it on from the Polhill Reserve above Aro Valley.