School holidays at Zealandia

I had the chance to help with Zealandia’s school holiday programme on the 24th April (see my previous blog from 2016). The weather has been all over the place so while there where fungi to find they were few in number.

Zealandia staff members use Nature Watch to record what they find at Zealandia and this includes the holiday programme. Here are two groups being shown how to upload photos to Nature Watch before we hit the bush. All of these fungi were found along the Te Mahanga Track between the lower and upper reservoirs.

[photo Geoff Ridley]

Not a great photo of this little wood decay mushroom. It’s got me stumped at the moment. I had thought Heimiomyces neovelutipes but the stipe is too smooth and the gill too white I think.

Heimiomyces neovelutipes? [photo Geoff Ridley]

Hypholoma fasciculares [photo Geoff Ridley]

We only saw one fruitbody of Psilocybe weraroa. Not a great photo of this very pale blue secotioid fungus.

Psilocybe weraroa [photo Geoff Ridley]

Auricularia cornea [photo Geoff Ridley]

Favolaschia calocera [photo Geoff Ridley]

A nice little group of Cyathus striatus – This larger birds nest is easy recognised by the dark brown hairy cup with a shiny fluted interior.

Cyathus striatus [photo Geoff Ridley]

I’m guessing a Mycena but only saw the one and I don’t have a specimen.

Mycen? [photo Geoff Ridley]

Another tiny white Mycena. Looking at the stipe of the larger fruitbody in the second photo I’m thinking Mycena austrororida.

Mycena austrororida? [photo Geoff Ridley]

Mycena austrororida? [photo Geoff Ridley]

These little Mycena were growing deep inside a hole in the trunk of a standing living tree.  It is similar to Jerry Cooper’s  Mycena sp. ‘Ahuriri Reserve (PDD80918)’. See also my find of this from Otari-Wilton’s Bush.

Mycena sp. ‘Ahuriri Reserve’ [photo Geoff Ridley]

The next two photos are what is probably a little Lepiota growing in the litter around the base of a fern. It has a white spore print.

Lepiota [photo Geoff Ridley]

Lepiota [photo Geoff Ridley]

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Otari-Wilton’s Bush Annual Foray, 22 April 2018

Wow, 50 to 60 people turned up for the foray this afternoon. It was a beautiful day but the fungi didn’t live up to it as the wettish summer and autumn resulted in lots of small fruiting flushes. And today wasn’t one of them. Despite that, it was an enthusiastic group with lots of questions.

Wilton, Wellington, looking across the Otari Native Plant Museum. Evening post (Newspaper. 1865-2002) :Photographic negatives and prints of the Evening Post newspaper. Ref: 1/2-088441-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22916054

The forayers met at the house in the middle of the photo above which is now the Leonard Cockayne Centre.

Immediately outside the back door to the Centre was a small group of Psathyrella corrugis – a typical woodchip fungus in the Native Garden.

Psathyrella corrugis [photo Geoff Ridley]

All at several spots around the native garden was another woodchip fungus – Parasola leiocephala – a typical coprinoid parasol fungus. There was also one very small group of Leratiomyces ceres which is generally fruiting all through the Native Garden at this time of the year.

Parasola leiocephala [photo Geoff Ridley]

At the north end of the Information Centre is a grove of podocarps which includes Podocarpus totara. Growing on the lower trunk of this specimen is the tiny mushrooms of Mycetinis curraniae. The question arose why only on the lower trunk? My only suggestion is that this part of the tree stays damp the longest so promotes the growth of this bark decomposing fungus.

Mycetinis curraniae [photo Geoff Ridley]

Over in the Fernery, the last sad remains of an Agrocybe parasitica fruitbody quietly decomposes. This fruitbody was growing from the base of a living Beilschmiedia tawa that has been consistently producing fruitbodies every year for the last twelve years.

Agrocybe parasitica [photo Geoff Ridley]

In the bush behind the Alpine garden is log which has consistently produced fruitbodies Lentinellus novae-zelandiae, the native shiitake, for the last twelve years. However, on this visit, there was only one to be seen.

Lentinellus novae-zelandiae [photo Geoff Ridley]

Just off the path, below the concrete retaining wall at the edge of the car park was a standing dead tree with Auricularia cornea and also a fallen branch with Favolaschia calocera.

Favolaschia calocera [photo Geoff Ridley]

We ran out of time so didn’t go down the track to the waterfall however during my reconnaissance on Saturday, 21 April, I saw Clitocybe nebularis and ….

Clitocybe nebularis [photo Geoff Ridley]

… one sad old Macrolepiota clelandii. This is the only place in the Bush that I have seen this species and my son saw a bigger fruiting in the same place three weeks ago (31 March), his pictures are below.

Macrolepiota clelandii [photo Geoff Ridley]

Macrolepiota clelandii [photo Lachlan Ridley]

Macrolepiota clelandii [photo Lachlan Ridley]

Note that all my photos in this post were taken 21 April.

Otari-Wilton’s Bush Annual Foray, 28 May 2017

 

This year the foray was held on a cold damp day in May rather than April. This year has been cooler and consistently wetter then the last couple of years. This has meant that fungi have been fruiting sporadically over a much longer period of time. Here is what we say today.

Southern Beech Grove

This is the first Cortinarius / Thaxterogater found at Otari-Wilton’s bush.

Cortinarius epiphaeus [photo Geoff Ridley]

Plant Collection below the Cockayne Lookout

The fungi in the plant collection garden are all growing in the thick wood mulch used in this area,

Psathyrella sp. [photo Geoff Ridley]

Lycoperdon perlatum [photo Geoff Ridley]

Leratiomyces ceres [photo Geoff Ridley]

Lepiota aspera [photo Geoff Ridley]

Kauri Lawn and Fernery

Leratiomyces erythrocephalus [photo Geoff Ridley]

Crucibulum laevae [photo Geoff Ridley]

This Psathyrella has a faintly reddish tinge to the gill margin and the cap is hygrophanous. Possibly around Psathyrella corrugis.

Psathyrella aff. corrugis [photo Geoff Ridley]

Armillaris novae-zelandiae [photo Geoff Ridley]

Stump with Armillaria novae-zelandia, Favolaschia calocera, Auricularia cornea, and a small Ganoderma [photo Geoff Ridley]

Auricularia cornea [photo Geoff Ridley]

Coprinellus disseminatus [photo Geoff Ridley]

Favolaschia calocera and Auricularis corneus [photo Geoff Ridley]

Heimiomyces neovelutipes [photo Geoff Ridley]

 Circular Walk Below the Bowling Club

Hohenbuehelia or Resupinatus [photo Geoff Ridley]

Read about the foray in the Otari – Wilton’s Bush Trust News and Views, September 2017

A mycology of New Zealand in 10 fungi

I posed the question to myself – if I had to pick 10 fungi to epitomise mycology in New Zealand what would they be and why would I choose them? In some cases, I have blogged about them before and some I will do so in the future. So here is my choice.

1. Amanita muscaria is number one as this exotic fungus would be one of the most obvious and abundant mushrooms in our autumn landscape. It is beneficial in that it is an ectomycorrhizal fungus and is important in enhancing the growth of our pine and Douglas-fir plantations.

[photo Geoff Ridley]

Amanita muscaria [photo Geoff Ridley]

2. Armillaria novae-zelandiae and Armillaria limonea are two native species that have wreaked havoc in our tree plantations and kiwifruit orchards. They actively attack the roots and root collar of wood plants and are capable of killing them.

Armillaria novae-zelandiae [photo Geoff Ridley]

Armillaria novae-zelandiae [photo Geoff Ridley]

3. Entoloma hochstteri – this beautiful blue native mushroom is everyone’s holy grail to find. It is also the only mushroom to appear on currency, NZ$50, anywhere in the world. See Hochstetter’s blue pinkgill.

The new $50 note

Entoloma hochstteri on the $50 note

 

4. Pithomyces chartarum is an exotic microfungus that you will never see that decomposes dead grass. However, it can produce spores in great numbers at times, such as this year, and causes the disease known as facial eczema in sheep and cattle. The spores contain a toxin which can severely damage the liver of the affected animal and can lead to death. See Brown Grenades.

Pithomyces chartarum [photo ??]

Pithomyces chartarum [photo ??]

5. Gloeophyllum sepiarium, Gloeophyllum trabeum, Oligoporus placenta and Antrodia sinuosa – I am treating this functional group of four native wood decay fungi as one. They cause cubical brown rot and are the most prevalent species causing damage in leaky house syndrome in New Zealand. They rose to prominence in the 1990s after changes in building regulations saw the use of unsuitable material and building styles resulting in buildings not being weatherproof. See Fungi in leaky homes.

Heavily degraded framing caused by brown rot fungus within the wall cavity [photo Dirk Stahlhut]

Rotting framing timber caused by brown rot fungus [photo Dirk Stahlhut]

6. Ileodictyon cibarium is our most common native stinkhorn and once seen never forgotten. I included this one as it one of the few species that has some Maori lore associated with it so bridges the gap between traditional knowledge and western science.

The common-basket stinckhorn: Ileodictyon cibarium [photo Geoff Ridley]

Ileodictyon cibarium [photo Geoff Ridley]

7. Neotyphodium lolii is another exotic microfungus that you will never see but which has had a significant effect on New Zealand pastoral farming. The fungus is an endophyte growing between the cells in a ryegrass plant. It produces a toxin that affects the nervous system of grazing animals. Modern ryegrass cultivars have been bred and inoculated with non-toxic strains of Neotyphodium lolii to overcome this significant disease.

2016.08.07 endophyte

Neotyphodium growing between the cells in ryegrass [photo Grasslanz]

8. Cyttaria gunnii is a distinctive Gondwanan element of our fungal flora. It is a parasite on southern beech [Nothofagus]. Cyttaria species occur in New Zealand, Tasmania, SE Australia, and southern Chile and Argentina. See Cyttaria galls on silver beech.

Cyttaria gunnii [photo Forest Research]

Cyttaria gunnii [photo Forest Research]

9. Auricularia cornea is a very common native wood decay fungus and was the basis of the first fungal export industry in New Zealand. See Taranaki wool.

Auricularia cornea [photo Geoff Ridley]

Auricularia cornea [photo Geoff Ridley]

10. Melampsora larici-populina is an exotic fungus causing rust on poplars. It arrived in the mid-1970s defoliating poplars across the country. It was the first well-documented case of a fungal disease blowing in from Australia in a process that was to become known as trans-Tasman transport. See Melampsora leaf rusts in New Zealand.

Melampsora larici-populina infected poplars [photo Landcare Research]

Melampsora larici-populina infected poplars [photo Landcare Research]

Sunday stroll at Otari

2016.05.15 Waterfall track

Waterfall track [photo Geoff Ridley]

Torrential rain over the last week or so has finally ended the dry spell on the Wellington peninsular. A walk around the upper part of Otari-Wilton’s Bush found a few old friends and some new finds.

Ruby helmet [Mycena viscidocruenta] – There were a few of these small red Mycena was growing on wood chips just below the Cockayne Lookout. Not a great photo.

2016.05.15 Mycena

Mycena viscidocruenta [photo Geoff Ridley]

Scarlet roundhead [Leratiomyces ceres = Stropharia aurantiaca] – There were a couple of good specimens and some very over mature ones as well on wood chips below the Cockayne Lookout. Read more about this species here.

2016.05.15 Stropharia 1

Leratiomyces ceres [photo Geoff Ridley]

2016.05.15 Stropharia 2

Leratiomyces ceres [photo Geoff Ridley]

The common scabbarb [Volvariella gloiocephalus]. This was also growing in the wood chip mulch in the gardens below the Cockayne Lookout.

2016.05.15 Volvariella

Volvariella gloiocephalus [photo Geoff Ridley]

The potted logger [Galerina nana]  – This was growing around a recently transplanted Chatham Island forget-me-not or kopakopa [Myosotidium hortensia]. It was growing from the edge of the potting mix surrounding the plant. I have only collected this species once before and that was growing on soil in a potted plant in Rotorua. This is a new species for Otari-Wilton’s Bush.

2016.05.15 Galerina

Galerina nana [photo Geoff Ridley]

Brown birdsnest [Crucibulum laeve] – Growing on wood chips in the Brockie Rock Garden.

2016.05.15 birdsnest

Crucibulum laeve [photo Geoff Ridley]

A Panaeolina possibly Panaeolina foeniseci ? –  This was growing through a divaricating Coprosma with a small low growing herb in the Brockie Rock Garden. It had a hygrophanous cap and mottled gills and was up to 4-4.5cm in diameter.

2016.05.15 Paneolus 1

Panaeolina sp. [photo Geoff Ridley]

2016.05.15 Paneolus 2

Panaeolina sp. [photo Geoff Ridley]

Common dreamer [Psilocybe subaeruginosa] – commonly found growing on wood chips in urban areas, pine tree plantations and woody debris in forests and gardens.

2016.05.15 Paneolus 3

Psilocybe subaeruginosa [photo Geoff Ridley]

Sulphur pinkgill [Entoloma sulphureum]  – This was growing in the wood chips under the kauri and rimu by the information centre. There was only one fruitbody and it was past its best.

2016.05.15 Entoloma

Entoloma sulphureum [photo Geoff Ridley]

Orange poreconch [Favolaschia calocera] – Growing on log used to edge garden in the Fernery below the Kauri Lawn. Read more about this species here.

2016.05.15 Favolaschia

Favolaschia calocera [photo Geoff Ridley]

Brown-umbrella inkcap [Parasola leiocephala] – This was growing on wood chips in the Fernery below the Kauri Lawn and in the Brockie Rock Garden. The crinkly appearance is a result of drying out due to a strong northerly wind.

2016.05.15 Coprinus

Parasola leiocephala [photo Geoff Ridley]

Sociable inkcap [Coprinellus disseminatus] – Growing on log used to edge garden in the Fernery below the Kauri Lawn.

2016.05.15 Coprinus 2

Coprinellus disseminatus [photo Geoff Ridley]

Wood-ear jelly [Auricularia cornea] – Growing on log used to edge garden in the Fernery below the Kauri Lawn. Read more about this species here.

2016.05.15 Auricularia

Auricularia cornea [photo Geoff Ridley]

A little-gilled conch with dark brown spores [Melanotus sp.]. Growing on a fallen branch in the Fernery. It looks similar to the one seen at Zealandia a few weeks ago

2016.05.15 Melanotus

Melanotus sp. [photo Geoff Ridley]

Native shitake [Lentinellus novae-zelandiae] – This species fruits routinely on a number of logs in the bush between the Fernery and the car park.

2016.05.15 Lentinus

Lentinellus novae-zelandiae [photo Geoff Ridley]

A helmet [Mycena sp.] – This little Mycena was growing on very rotten wood on the Waterfall track.

2016.05.15 Mycena 2

Mycena sp. [Geoff Ridley]

Mycena sp. [Geoff Ridley]

Mycena sp. [Geoff Ridley]

The lost world

When I worked as a mycologist at Forest Research, in Rotorua, a part of the campus, the Long Mile, was rented to a film crew. They were making a television version of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Lost World and were filming in the Red Wood Grove, in the town belt, behind Forest Research.

When it finally screened, it was exciting to watch explorers’ first encounter with dinosaurs in Rotorua’s grove of North American redwoods with their understory of native ferns. However, biological and geographic credibility flew out the window as the explorers ran out of the redwoods on to the shore of a South Island lake surround by kahikatea! Another illusion destroyed.

Still from the Lost World (2001)

Rotorua’s red woods in the Lost World (2001)

I had also read that Doyle’s lost plateau in South America had features that corresponded to those in his home county of Sussex. Seeing the map of Zealandia sanctuary reminded me of that lost plateau.

2016.05.10 Zealandia

The lost world of Zealandia

I was invited to help with Zealandia’s bioblitz school holiday programme at the end of April. I haven’t collected in Zealandia before and wasn’t expecting to find much this time because of the very dry weather we had been experiencing. However, with the help of the kids we found quite a few fungi.

Karori reservoir [photo Geoff Ridley]r

The old Karori reservoir [photo Geoff Ridley]

The beginning of the hunt [photo Geoff Ridley]

The beginning of the hunt [photo Geoff Ridley]

Our first find was the wood-ear jelly [Auricularia cornea] on a dead branch. The fruit bodies are very shrivelled due to the dry conditions but will revive when they are made wet rain.

Auricularia cornea [photo Geoff Ridley]

Auricularia cornea [photo Geoff Ridley]

This little parasol mushroom, about 5 cm across the cap, is somewhere around Leucoagaricus rubrotinctus.

Leucoargaricus rubrotinctus ? [photo Geoff Ridley]

Leucoargaricus rubrotinctus ? [photo Geoff Ridley]

Leucoargaricus rubrotinctus ? [photo Geoff Ridley]

Leucoargaricus rubrotinctus ? [photo Geoff Ridley]

Growing on a well-rotted standing trunk was a leather bracket of Cyclomyces tabacinus.

Cyclomyces tabacinus [photo Geoff Ridley]

Cyclomyces tabacinus [photo Geoff Ridley]

These little mushroom, up to about 4 com across the cap, where pinkish brown and slimy, with white gills that did not reach the stem. I want to say a Limacella?

Limacella ? [photo Geoff Ridley]

Limacella ? [photo Geoff Ridley]

Limacella ? [photo Geoff Ridley]

Limacella ? [photo Geoff Ridley]

 A group of small mushrooms, .05 – 1 cm diameter, growing on a standing dead tree. They were fawn in colour with purplish gills.

 ? [photo Geoff Ridley]

? [photo Geoff Ridley]

Zealandia started life as land that had been cleared and burnt for farmland, then became Wellingtons water catchment areas with the building of Karori Reservoir. The catchment area was replanted in a mixture of trees including exotic Pinus radiata. A number of well-rotted pines now litter the floor of the regenerating bush. This plum woodknight [Tricholomopsis rutilans] was growing from a rotten pine stump. It is almost always found on rotting pine wood.

Tricholomopsis rutilans [photo Geoff Ridley]

Tricholomopsis rutilans [photo Geoff Ridley]

This is a typical mushroom [Agaricus sp.] with its fibrous to scaly cap, prominent ring on the stem, and its dark brown gills.

Agaricus sp. [photo Geoff Ridley]

Agaricus sp. [photo Geoff Ridley]

Agaricus sp. [photo Geoff Ridley]

Agaricus sp. [photo Geoff Ridley]

Growing close to the Agaricus were clusters of black birdsnests [Cyathus novaezelandiae]

Crucibulum striatus [photo Geoff Ridley]

Crucibulum striatus [photo Geoff Ridley]

 These are fruit bodies of dead man’s fingers (Xylaria sp.] on a standing dead tree.

2016.05.10 Xylaria

Xylaria sp. [photo Geoff Ridley]

 This little, about 1 cm diameter, yellow fruit body was in deep wood dust / frass inside a very rotten log. It is a parasol and possibly a Leucocoprinus sp.

Leucocoprinus sp. [photo Geoff Ridley]

Leucocoprinus sp. [photo Geoff Ridley]

 Growing in the litter were a group of Cloudy funnelcap [Clitocybe nebularis]. The large fruit bodies were about 6-7 cm in diameter.

Clitocybe nebularis [photo Geoff Ridley]

Clitocybe nebularis [photo Geoff Ridley]

 Another parasol [Lepiota sp.]

Lepiota sp. [photo Geoff Ridley]

Lepiota sp. [photo Geoff Ridley]

 An artist’s porebracket [Ganoderma applanatum]growing from the trunk of a living red beech [Nothofagus fusca]. Southern beech is not native to the Wellington peninsula and this tree would have been an experimental planting by the catchment board.

Ganoderma applanatum [photo Geoff Ridley]

Ganoderma applanatum [photo Geoff Ridley]

 Note the pinkish brown spores all over the horizonatl surfaces both below and above the bracket.

Ganoderma applanatum [photo Geoff Ridley]

Ganoderma applanatum [photo Geoff Ridley]

 A little-gilled conch with dark brown spores [Melanotus sp.]. There were lots of these growing from very wet rotten branches used to line the edge of an open drain.

Melanotus sp. [photo Geoff Ridley]

Melanotus sp. [photo Geoff Ridley]

The forest and kids [photo Geoff Ridley]

The forest and kids [photo Geoff Ridley]

Further reading

Darren Naish, 2015. Piltdown man came from The Lost World … Well, no, it didn’t. Scientific American blog.

Otari-Wilton’s Bush Annual Foray, 24 April 2016

Wellington has been very dry in the weeks leading up to the Foray and despite the heavy downpour last night there is not a lot around.

Leratiomyces ceres = Stropharia aurantiaca [scarlet roundhead]. A perennial find at Otari. Read more about Leratiomyces ceres.

Leratomyces ceres [photo Geoff Ridley]

Leratiomyces ceres [photo Geoff Ridley]

 Agaricus sp. [a mushroom] – Growing next to the 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.

Agaricus sp. [photo Geoff Ridley]

Agaricus sp. [photo Geoff Ridley]

 Nidula candida [white birdsnest]. A common find on woodchip mulch around the gardens.

Nidula candida [photo Geoff Ridley]

Nidula candida [photo Geoff Ridley]

 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.

Galerina sp. [photo Geoff Ridley]

Galerina sp. [photo Geoff Ridley]

 Postia sp. [a woody bracket]. See comments on Postia in last weeks blog.

Postia sp. [photo Geoff Ridley]

Postia sp. [photo Geoff Ridley]

 Auricularia cornea [wood ear jelly]. A common wood decay fungus. Read more about the wood ear jelly.

Auricularia cornea [photo Geoff Ridley]

Auricularia cornea [photo Geoff Ridley]

 Favolaschia calocera [orange poreconch]. A common wood decay fungus at this time of the year.

Favolaschia calocera [photo Geoff Ridley]

Favolaschia calocera [photo Geoff Ridley]

 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.

Hypholoma fasciculare [photo Geoff Ridley]

Hypholoma fasciculare [photo Geoff Ridley]

 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.

Agrocybe parasitica [photo Geoff Ridley]

Agrocybe parasitica [photo Geoff Ridley]

Also seen in the fernery were: