Latin binomials can be scary enough to the beginner but when those names are the Latinised words from other languages it is even scarier. Take as an example the New Zealand blue pinkgill, Entoloma hochstetteri. Whoa! Where did that name come from and how do you say it? Most can cope with the Entoloma part of the name but in a predominantly English speaking nation why hochstetteri and how do you say it? The simplest pronunciation, although German speakers will shudder, is hock-shtetter-ree.
The blue pinkgill is named in honour of Christian Gottlieb Ferdinand von Hochstetter. Hochstetter was an Austrian geologist and naturalist who visited New Zealand in 1858 to 1860 (Fleming 1990, The Prow 2009). Although his work here was mainly geological he also made notes on natural history including fungi. On returning to Vienna he passed his notes including a drawing of this fungus to the mycologist Erwin Reichardt who describe it as Cortinarius hochsetteri in 1866.
For the first 60 years of the twentieth century there was almost no taxonomic investigation of the mushrooms of New Zealand. This drought was broken by a series of publication by Dr Greta Stevenson who in 1962 re-determined the blue pinkgill as Entoloma hochstetteri. Below is a plate from the 1962 paper with the blue pinkgill lower middle of the plate and numbered 7. The colours are muted due to the poor reproduction from the original art work by the printer and this was a great disappointment to Dr Stevenson.Dr Stevenson’s papers kicked-off a new interest in mushrooms and further popularised through two small pictorial field guides by Marie Taylor. Below are Marie’s original water colours on which the illustrations in her books were based. These books brought awareness of the blue pinkgill to a much bigger audience and it became the ‘must find’ of new forayers. Mary Smiley wrote of her quest for the blue Entoloma of New Zealand in the American magazine Fungi. Mary wrote – crawling through the mud, wet leaves, sticker bushes, on my belly like a Navy Seal on a combat mission but all the while thinking “This is so much fun, I don’t ever want it to end!” and “… there were blue Entolomas everywhere …”.
In the late 1980s the New Zealand Reserve Bank decided to completely revamp our banknotes. After wide consultation with the public the reverse side of the fifty dollar notes now features Pureora forest, the kokako (the blue wattled crow), supplejack whose fruits are eaten by kokako, and the blue pinkgill. As far as I know this is the only currency to feature a mushroom.
The reason for putting the blue pinkgill on the fifty dollar note is artistic in that the blue of the mushroom is similar to the blue wattles of the kokako. The similar colours was also noted by the Tuhoe people who call it werewere kokako or literally the kokako’s wattle (Best, 1942).
In 2002 New Zealand Post issued a set of stamps featuring native fungi with Entoloma hochstetteri on the 80c stamp. This was the first set of New Zealand stamps to feature fungi. The photos were taken by Don Horne.
Our interest in the blue pinkgill is possibly about to go culinary. The Metabolomics lab at the University of Auckland has been researching biological pigments to replace non-biological pigments used as food colourings. As they note:
P.S. 20 March 2015. Banknotes redesign. In November 2014 the Reserve Bank of New Zealand launched a new set of banknotes. Although redesigned they maintained the native biodiversity theme. Note that the blue pinkgill has moved from the lower right hand corner to centre stage.
Food colouring now represents a $1.2 billion global market, with natural colours capturing 31% of the food market, but growing at a rate of 5%. However, these natural colours are largely plant extracts that have the disadvantage of variability and seasonal supply. Microbial cell production, in contrast, offers a reliable and scalable pigment production technology.
Entoloma species are very difficult to grow in artificial culture but the Metaboloic Lab now has the blue pinkgill in culture. It still has to be determined whether or not it has toxic or psychoactive properties. If it hasn’t then one day we may see kokako blue lollies or cosmetics.
The lead researcher Silas Villas-Boas jokes “that if it is edible, blue mushroom risotto could become an iconic New Zealand dish” (Gates, 2013) It would seem however that blue risotto is already a signature dish in Mallorca Spain and in Malaysia.
P.S. 16 July 2014. How we almost lost Hochstetter’s blue pinkgill!
In 1976 Egon Horak studying Entoloma species from around the world concluded Entoloma hochstetteri and the Japanese species E.aeruginosum was the same as an older named species E.virescens. As a result Barbara Segedin noted in 1988 “Hygrophorus cyaneus Berkeley, later called Entoloma hochstetteri by Stevenson and now called E. virescens, described first from Bonin Is., Japan”. Then the Japanese mycologist Tsuguo Hongo (1990) visited New Zealand in the late 1980s and studied both Entoloma hochstetteri and the Japanese species Entoloma aeruginosum and decided that they represented different species thus saving the name for us.
Best E 1942. Forest lore of the Maori. The kokako or crow. http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-BesFore-t1-body-d2-d6-d16.html
Fleming CA 1990. Hochstetter, Christian Gottlieb Ferdinand von, (from the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography). Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 30 October 2012. http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/biographies/1h30/hochstetter-christian-gottlieb-ferdinand-von
Gates C 2013. Mushrooms might yield major value. Stuff.co.nz http://www.stuff.co.nz/science/9354061/Mushroom-might-yield-major-value
Hongo T 1990. New and noteworthy agarics from New Zealand. Report from the Tottori Mycological Institute 28: 129-134.
Horak E 1976. On cuboid-spored species of Entoloma (Agaricales). Sydowia 28: 171-236.
Landcare Research. Flora, fauna and fungi on the other side of our new bank notes. http://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/about/news/blog/flora-fauna-fungi-bank-notes
Metabolomics Lab. Microbe-derived pigments. University of Auckland. http://www.metabolomics.auckland.ac.nz/index.php/home-top/14-projects-detail-cat/52-pigmentsdetail
New Zealand Post. Native fungi. http://stamps.nzpost.co.nz/new-zealand/2002/native-fungi
Reserve Bank of New Zealand. The history of banknotes in New Zealand. http://www.rbnz.govt.nz/notes_and_coins/notes/0094089.html
Segedin BP 1988. An historical view of the larger fungi. Auckland Botanical Society Journal 43: 23-24.
Smiley M 2010. Quest for the blue Entoloma of New Zealand. Fungi 3(4): 4-6. http://www.fungimag.com/fall-2010-articles/NewZealandLR.pdf
Stevenson G 1962. The Agaricales of New Zealand: III. Rhodophyllaceae. Kew Bulletin 16: 227-237 + plates 4-5.
The Prow 2009. Ferdinand Hochstetter (1829-1884). http://www.theprow.org.nz/people/ferdinand-hochstetter-1829-188/#.UpKDBF329D9
Unfortunately it is based on a misinterpretation of the science.
Recent reports claim that “environmental organisations” oppose the removal and use of timber knocked down by storms around Buller and Westland. These people obviously want the climate to warm further from greenhouse gas increases.
When wood rots, it returns its carbon to the atmosphere. In dry climates, the emission is largely carbon dioxide, but in wet ones it is largely methane, a much more powerful greenhouse gas, because rotting is largely anaerobic in saturated timber. Rainforests like those in New Zealand emit enormous volumes of methane and so contribute to the greenhouse effect. They also dump acidic water into the sea, endangering species that need free calcium for their shells.
The best way to sequester carbon is to tum dense timber into furniture and structures that will last for a long time. South Island timbers could be extremely valuable if competently marketed. As a material for furniture and panelling, rimu could exceed teak in value; it’s much more beautiful and easier to work. The Government should approve and encourage the harvesting of downed native timber and its conversion to fine panelling and furniture.
His first point is that under New Zealand conditions these logs will become water logged and begin to decay anaerobically releasing the greenhouse gas methane. When wood becomes so soaked that oxygen is excluded it ceases to decay, it does not switch to anaerobic decay.This is plainly seen in the near perfect preservation of swamp kauri under anaerobic conditions for up to 45,000 years. It is also a common practice to keep harvest logs sprayed with water to prevent the growth of fungi and to prevent decay while they wait to be milled.
Under aerobic conditions, that is when oxygen is freely available, some methane may be produced by wood decay fungi. However research at the Max Planck Institute in German has measured methane production and concluded that the amount of methane produced is so small that its “contribution to global warming is therefore classified as negligible” (Max Planck Society, 2012). The scientist involved has speculated that released methane may be quickly consumed by bacteria found in the decaying wood in close association with the fungus.Potter also says that theses forest dump acidic water into the oceans endangering marine life that need to build shells out of calcium. While some forest rivers are naturally acidic, often called brown or black rivers, the humic and fulvic acids that make them so is an insignificant contributor to acidification. The acidification of the ocean is the result of atmospheric carbon dioxide, from fossil fuel burning and deforestation, dissolving in to it and not from natural river water.
He states that the best way to sequester carbon is to turn it into furniture and structures. One of the major proponent of sequestering wood, at the University of Maryland in the US, has admitted that the removal of dead wood on a large scale would destroy the habitat of organisms, such as fungi and beetles, that breakdown wood and consequently deprive plants of the nutrients released back into the soil (Lovett, 2008). Even the Department of Conservation recognises the importance of decaying logs as providing nursery beds for the next generation of trees. The removal of logs is likely to slow down forest regeneration and it is very likely the resulting forest will be quite different from the existing forest in both structure and species involved.Finally Potter talks of the value of this wood for furniture and panelling. At this stage there is no indication of how much of this salvaged wood is useable as dressed timber. These trees will probably have extensive heart rot, considerable pin-hole borer damage, and to be shattered and fractured by being thrown in the storm. Of the logs salvaged a considerable proportion is likely to end up rotting as wood mulch or being burnt as waste wood releasing the carbon that Potter is so keen to keep locked up.
This wood should be left to lie where it is.
I have written more on this topic here.
Hood, I.A., 1986 (revised 2009). Tree decay. Forest Pathology in New Zealand. http://www.nzffa.org.nz/farm-forestry-model/the-essentials/forest-health-pests-and-diseases/diseases/Tree-decays
Lovett, R. 2008. Carbon lockdown. New Scientist 198 (2654, 3 May 2008):32-25.
Max Planck Society, 2012. Fungi discovered to be source of methane. http://phys.org/news/2012-09-fungi-source-methane.html
New Zealand Forests, 2014. Swamp kauri. http://nzforests.co.nz/
Potter, K. 2014. Environmentalists’ hot air. New Zealand Listener 244 (5 July 2014, 3869): 8. http://www.listener.co.nz/commentary/letters/letters-july-5-issue/
Ridley, G. 2014. At loggerheads. New Zealand Listener 244 (12 July 2014, 3870): 6-7. http://www.listener.co.nz/commentary/letters/letters-july-12-issue/
Stewart, A. 2014. Cyclone Ita devastates West Coast forests. Stuff.co.nz http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/9975198/Cyclone-Ita-devastates-West-Coast-forests
T.E.R:R.A.I.N – Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network, 2008-2014. Fungal mycelia. http://www.terrain.net.nz/friends-of-te-henui-group/fungi-te-henui/fungal-mycelia.html
In mid June the Cawthron Institute in Nelson passed a photo from Nelson College on to me to have a look at. It shows mushrooms sprouting from the base of a shower stall partition. These partitions will be made from a composite wood fibre board sandwiched between water proof outer layers. The board is mounted in an aluminum frame and water and soap scum will have pooled in the joint between the frame and the board and wetting the fibre board and creating a suitable habitat for fungal growth.
The mushrooms are the fruit bodies of a wood decay fungus. It is a species of Pholiota, somewhere near Pholiota aurivella. I am hesitant to say that it is as Pholiota has not been subject of a taxonomic review in New Zealand. Many of the older records refer this fungus to Pholiota adiposa for instance in Birch’s A synopsis of forest fungi of significance in New Zealand published in the 1937:
However, Egon Horak (1971) examined the material and noted that it closely fitted Pholiota aurivella.
Marie Taylor (1981) published a picture of what she called Pholiota sp. aff. adiposa. The ‘aff.’ simply means like but not the same as adiposa. Marie described it as:
Has lemon coloured, very glutinous caps covered with brown scales floating in the gluten and scaly patches also covering the stem below the ring. The species is found often on lacebark (Hoheria) wood.
Ian Hood (1992) also called it Pholiota adiposa but said that the spores where too big and that further study was needed. Ian gives the habitat as podocarp broadleaf forest occurring on stumps and logs and also living trees, such as Hoheria angustifolia.
The final Photo is by Don Horne.
Birch, T.T.C. 1937. A synopsis of forest fungi of significance in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Forestry 4: 109-125.
Hood, I.A. 1992. An illustrated guide to fungi on wood in New Zealand. Auckland University Press: Auckland, New Zealand.
Horak, E. 1971. A contribution towards the revision of the Agaricales s.l. (Fungi) of New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany 9: 402-462.
Taylor, M. 1981. Mushrooms and Toadstools. A.H. and A.W. Reed Ltd: Wellington, New Zealand.
The Minister for Conservation, Nic Smith, said that “’It is a tragedy that so much forest has been wrecked by Cyclone Ita but no good purpose is served by leaving it all to rot” and that he was grateful for the “common sense support” from United Future and the Maori party that ensured that bill was approved under urgency. The recovery of timber will only occur for proposals that ensured worker and public safety and have minimal impact on the environment.For many New Zealanders environmental impact is limited to trees and birds and this is reflected even in the name of our oldest conservation society – the Royal Forest and Bird Society. What tends to be forgotten is the importance of all of the other organisms that make the biological diversity in a forest or worse those organisms and their activities are seen in a negative context, i.e. that decomposers serve no good purpose. In these days of the loss of vast areas of forest, and its associated biodiversity, around the world this is an extraordinary comment by anyone let alone a Minister responsible for the conservation of biodiversity. The importance of deadwood for conservation of biodiversity in European forests was highlighted in a report released by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in 2004 [Deadwood – living forests. The importance of veteran trees and deadwood to biodiversity]:
Up to a third of European forest species depend on veteran trees and deadwood for their survival. Deadwood is providing habitat, shelter and food source for birds, bats and other mammals and is particularly important for the less visible majority of forest dwelling species: insects, especially beetles, fungi and lichens. Deadwood and its biodiversity also play a key role for sustaining forest productivity and environmental services such as stabilising forests and storing carbon.
It would be unlikely that New Zealand forests would be different.
Sporadic catastrophes are a key feature of the structure and therefore the ecology of New Zealand forest. Glenn Stewart wrote that the forest structure and species composition of west coast forest where the result of:
infrequent, massive earthquakes are the dominant coarse-scale disturbance agent, triggering episodes of major erosion and sedimentation and leaving a strong imprint in the forest structure. In other forests, flooding and catastrophic windthrow are major forms of disturbance.
And the importance of dead wood in forest regeneration after harvesting to mimic catastrophe:
The importance of logs as nursery sites for new trees is well known. But what is forgotten is the importance of fungi and other decomposers in transforming a log into suitable material for seedling growth. In all likelihood, as a result of this legislation, these forest will be slower to regenerate and be of a different structure and diversity because the trees were not left to for fungi to rot.
Any harvesting should recognise the importance for tree establishment of: forest floor microsites, such as fallen logs and tree tip-up mounds.
Mathewson, N. 2014. Storm-blown native timber will be recovered. Stuff.co.nz
Stewart, G.H. 2002. Structure and canopy tree species regeneration requirements in indigenous forests, Westland, New Zealand. Department of Conservation, New Zealand – DOC Science Internal Series 66.
Wassilieff, M. 2013, Forest succession and regeneration – beech and conifer forest regeneration. Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand.
WWF, 2004. Deadwood – living forests. The importance of veteran trees and deadwood to biodiversity.
Richard Davey sent me some pictures of a flycap [Amanita] that he collected under a pine plantation [Pinus radiata] on the western boundary of Otari-Wilton’s Bush reserve. I thought I knew all of the species of flycap in New Zealand but this I have not seen before. There is only one species of flycap, the scarlet flycap [Amanita muscaria], usually found under pine. This new yellow flycap was growing along with the scarlet flycap in the plantation.The distinctive features of the yellow flycap is the large, flat, membranous patches on the cap and the radial grooves (sulcation) on the edge of the cap. The other feature is the lack of a ring or annulus on the stem. For comparison see the scarlet flycaps significant ring in the first photo above. A feature of the genus Amanita is that the fruitbody forms inside an ‘egg’ which breaks up as the mushroom grows and expands. The way it breaks up is a characteristic of each species. In this case the ‘egg’ has broken to form the flat membrane on the cap and may also leave a rim of tissue around the top of the bulb which is at the base of the stem. An interesting feature is the presence of significant amount of the ‘egg shell’ on the stem. In the photo below there is some ‘egg shell’ sticking to the stem just below Richard’s thumb. This almost looks like a ring and in some species is so substantial it is often described as a pseudo-ring. When I visited the pine plantation and collected my specimens there were some young fruitbodies just breaking out of the ‘egg’ and there was no sign of a ring. The other photo Richard sent me shows again the membrane on the stem looking like a collapsed ring and the fragment of ‘egg shell’ around the rim of the stem’s basal bulb. For those of you who read beyond this post you might encounter the formal terms for the ‘egg’ which is the universal veil because it covers the entire fruit body. The ring or annulus is formally known as the partial veil because it only covers the gills on the underside of the cap.
So what is the yellow flycap? The closest I can find is a collection of species from the west coast of North America collectively referred to as Amanita gemmata var. exannulata – this is a working name rather than a real name. See the photo by Ryane Snow, taken in northern California, below for comparison.Clive Shirley, at The Hidden Forest, has a photo of something he suspects is Amanita gemmata. Clive’s fungus differs from this one in having a substantial and obvious ring on the stem.
If you see the yellow flycap please let me know.
Friday 16 May 2014
Slippery-jack bolete [Suillus luteus] – under pines on Pine Hill Path.
Slippery-jack bolete differes from sticky-bun bolete in having a ring on the upper part of the stem.
Scarlet flycap [Amanita muscaria] – under pines on Pine Hill Path.
Cloudy funnelcap [Clitocybe nebularis ] – Under pines with an under storey of regenerating bush near the junction of Junction Path and Serpentine Way.
Skull puffball [Calvatia craniiformis] – Under pines with an under storey of regenerating bush near the junction of Junction Path and Serpentine Way. Note that the outer surface has pealed away from the fruitbody to exposed the powdery dry mass of spores contained within.
Scarlet pouch [Leratiomyces erythrocephalus = Weraroa erythrocephala] – This is a native species which appears to have taken advantage of the trend to mulch gardens as can be seen here in the conifer shrubbery at the lower end of Pine Hill Path.
Ruby helmet [Mycena viscidocruenta] – This small red Mycena was growing on woodchips amongst the Scarlet pouches above.
Harefoot inkcap [Coprinopsis lagopus] – Growing in wood chip mulch in the fuchsia garden along Ludlam Way in the formal garden on Glenmore St.
Coral jelly [Tremellodendron sp.] – fruiting prolifically on the ground under sugar maple [Acer saccharum]
European beech [Fagus sylvatica]. This tough little coralloid fungus has persisted for several weeks and has a cartilaginous consistency and rounded rather than point tips to its extremities. To determine whether this identification it would require microscopic examination of the basidia i.e. the spore producing cells. These were growing at the end of Ludlam Way where it joins West Way.
Ivory conch [Conchomyces bursaeformis]– A fan shaped mushroom, no stem, growing from rotten wood. It can be white to yellowish and has white gills. The ivory conches were growing on the moss covered trunk of an English oak [Quercus robur] growing at the junction of Ludlam Way and West Way.
Sunday 18 May 2014
Yellow chanterelle [Cantherellus wellingtonensis] – This pretty little chanterelle was growing in big troops on the bank along Serpentine Way above The Dell. There was kanaka [Kunzea ericoides] growing at the slope above the bank. This is a Greta Stevenson species, as Hygrophorus variabilis, described from a collection made in the Botanic Garden in 1947.
A chalkcap [Russula macrocystidiata] – this single fruitbody was growing on the same bank as the yellow chanterelles on the bank along Serpentine Way above The Dell under kanaka [Kunzea ericoides] .
Blewit knight [Lepista nuda] – The blewit knight was growing at the edge of a gravel path and woodchip mulched conifer shrubbery on the slope above Pine Hill Path. Although faded the stipe and gills were purplish in colour.
A mushroom [Agaricus sp.] – This was in the mature pine stand but under a eucalypt just below Pine Hill Path.
A pinkgill some where around Entoloma distinctum – Growing under kanaka [Kunzea ericoides] on Manuka Way just below the MetService building.
A webcap somewhere near Cortinarius memoria-annae – Growing under kanaka [Kunzea ericoides] on Manuka Way just below the MetService building. Note the purplish colouring at the top of the stem and into the cap tissue.
Tea chalkcap [Russula novae-zelandiae] – Growing under kanaka [Kunzea ericoides] on Norwood Path leading down from the MetService building to the Lady Norewood Rose Garden.
Dusty flycap [Amanita nehuta] – The dusty flycap. a native Amanita, was growing under kanaka [Kunzea ericoides] on the slope above the Waterfall and Peace Garden near the Lady Norewood Rose Garden.
The distinctive powdery surface and radially grooved [= sulcate] margin of the cap [photo Helen Cairney].
Added 23 May 2014
Here are Edward Bower’s photo in the comments below.Post script 1 November 2014
Kaye Proudly contacted me (see below) on the similarity between the Agaricus I collected under eucalypts and Agaricus augustus that she has collected in Victoria, Australia.
16 May 2014
I have been report the fungi growing on a stump in the lower part of the park -see (2). The grounds have now been ‘tidied’ and several stumps including the one I was watching were ground and replaced with this top soil ready for grass seed.
A roundhead [Psathyrella sp.] – Roundheads are a regular feature of woodchip mulch. I think that there may be several very similar species and I think that this may be Psathyrella microrhiza as it has a rooting base to the stem with whitish hairs. It was growing on a grave on Strang Path.
Scarlet roundhead [Leratiomyces ceres = Stropharia aurantiaca] – The scarlet round head was growing on the same grave as the Psathyrella sp.
T.H. Fitzgerald Path and Observatory Path run parallel to each other down a gully filled with regenerating native bush. Here was:
Scarlet pouch [Leratiomyces erythrocephalus = Weraroa erythrocephala]
Bluing pouch [Psilocybe weraroa = Weraroa novae-zelandiae] – see here.
Olive honeycap [Armillaria novaezelandae] – Note the thick white spore deposit on the upper surfaces of the lower mushrooms.
Common deceiver [Laccaria laccata] – This was growing on grave with deep alder leaf litter behind the Seddon Memorial.