What Colenso might have seen

Mt Bruce is a legendary in New Zealand biology as it was the place that the takahe, thought extinct but rediscovered in 1948, was brought back from the brink of extinction. It also legendary as being one of the last remnants of the Seventy Mile Bush. The Seventy Mile Bush was a name I occasionally came across but didn’t fully appreciate what it was until I started reading about William Colenso and his mycological collecting there:

IN the autumn of this year I again sent a lot of Fungi to Kew, London (with other plants, both Phænogams and Cryptogams), which I had discovered at various times during the last four years in my visits to the dense forests and deep glens of the Seventy-mile Bush district, County of Waipawa [Colenso, 1890]

The Seventy Mile Bush [from Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand]

The Seventy Mile Bush [from Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand]

A forest lost

The Seventy Mile Bush was a huge area of dense forest stretching from Masterton to central Hawkes Bay and across the east coast. Most of it was cleared for farming. In the 1870s the New Zealand Government bought the 942 ha Mt Bruce block as a forest reserve [administered by the Forest Service], with 55 ha being designated a native bird reserve under the control of the Wildlife Service. The government restructures of the late 1980s saw many of the government agencies responsible for conservation rolled into a single Department of Conservation which became responsible for the reserves.

Five Mile Avenue, circa 1875, Eketahuna [photo James Bragge, from Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa]

Five Mile Avenue, circa 1875, Eketahuna [photo James Bragge, from Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa]

In 2001 the entire Mt Bruce block, of 942, was reunited into a single reserve. And then in 2013 its running passed to a community based charitable trust – The Pukaha Mount Bruce Board is a charitable trust.

Bioblitz 2016

In late February of this year Pukaha Mount Bruce held a bioblitz. I was going to go and help along with some other mycologist, Barbara Paulus and Di Batchelor. But because of the drought we decided it would better to wait until the autumn. Barbara and I finally got to there 5 June and here is what we found that day [note that I still have some work to do on the identifications].

The fungi

Mycena sp. in tawa forest – on fallen log. Note: Maybe close to Marie Taylor’s Mycena dorotheae.

Mycena sp. [photo Geoff Ridley]

Mycena sp. [photo Geoff Ridley]

Mycena pura (?) in tawa forest growing in leaf litter.

Mycena pura ? [photo Geoff Ridley]

Mycena pura ? [photo Geoff Ridley]

Hypholoma acutum in tawa forest on fallen log. Note: Rubbish photo, sorry.

2016.06.11 Hypholoma acutum

Hypholoma acutum [photo Geoff Ridley]

Hypholoma brunneum in tawa forest – on fallen log. Note: on same log as Hypholoma acutum.

Hypholoma brunneum [photo Geoff Ridley}

Hypholoma brunneum [photo Geoff Ridley]

Mycena roseoflava in tawa forest – on stump.

Mycena roseoflava [photo Geoff Ridley]

Mycena roseoflava [photo Geoff Ridley]

Nidula candida in tawa forest – on fallen wood.

Nidula candida [photo Geoff Ridley]

Nidula candida [photo Geoff Ridley]

Nidula candida [photo Geoff Ridley]

Nidula candida [photo Geoff Ridley]

Gyronemma sp. in tawa forest – on rotten tree fern rachis.

Gyronemma sp. [photo Geoff Ridley]

Gyronemma sp. [photo Geoff Ridley]

Armillaria novae-zealandiae in tawa forest – on fallen logs.

Armillaria novae-zelandiae [photo Geoff Ridley]

Armillaria novae-zelandiae [photo Geoff Ridley]

Armillaria novae-zelandiae [photo Geoff Ridley]

Armillaria novae-zelandiae [photo Geoff Ridley]

Favolaschia calocera in tawa forest – on fallen brances. Note: The orange colour has washed out in the photo.

Favolaschia calocera [photo Geoff Ridley]

Favolaschia calocera [photo Geoff Ridley]

Crinipellis procera in tawa forest – on leaf and twig litter.

Crinipellis procera [photo Geoff Ridley]

Crinipellis procera [photo Geoff Ridley]

Hygrophorus sp. in tawa forest amoungst litter.

Hygrophorus sp [photo Geoff Ridley]

Hygrophorus sp. [photo Geoff Ridley]

Psathyrella sp. in tawa forest – on leaf litter.

Psathyrella [photo Geoff Ridley]

Psathyrella sp. [photo Geoff Ridley]

Psathyrella sp. - black spore print [photo Geoff Ridley]

Psathyrella sp. – black spore print [photo Geoff Ridley]

Mycena  mariae or parsonsii (?) in tawa forest – on stump.

Mycena mariae or parsonsii (?) [photo Geoff Ridley]

Mycena mariae or parsonsii (?) [photo Geoff Ridley]

Not sure what this is yet. In tawa forest in litter.

Not sure what this is. [photo Geoff Ridley]

Not sure what this is. [photo Geoff Ridley]

Not sure what this is. [photo Geoff Ridley]

Not sure what this is. [photo Geoff Ridley]

Xylaria sp. in tawa forest on a fallen log.

2016.06.11 Fingers

Xylaria sp. [photo Geoff Ridley]

Hygrophorus sp. in tawa forest in litter.

Hygrophorus sp. [photo Geoff Ridley]

Hygrophorus sp. [photo Geoff Ridley]

Coral fungus in tawa forest amoungst litter. Note: I need to do some work on this yet.

Coral fungus [photo Geoff Ridley]

Coral fungus [photo Geoff Ridley]

Cyathus novaezelandiae in tawa forest on fallen wood.

Cyathus novaezelandiae [photo Geoff Ridley]

Cyathus novaezelandiae [photo Geoff Ridley]

Coprinellus disseminatus in tawa forest – on stump.

Coprinellus disseminatus [photo Geoff Ridley]

Coprinellus disseminatus [photo Geoff Ridley]

Morganella compacta in tawa forest – on fallen log.

Morganella compacta [photo Geoff Ridley]

Morganella compacta [photo Geoff Ridley]

Leratiomyces erythrocephalus [= Weraroa erythrocephala] in tawa forest – in leaf litter.

2016.06.11 Leratiomyces

Leratiomyces erythrocephalus [photo Geoff Ridley]

Conchomyces bursaeformis in tawa forest – on standing dead trunk.

Conchomyces bursaeformis [photo Geoff Ridley]

Conchomyces bursaeformis [photo Geoff Ridley]

2016.06.11 Unknown 3

Conchomyces bursaeformis [photo Geoff Ridley]

2016.06.11 Unknown 2

Conchomyces bursaeformis [photo Geoff Ridley]

Clavogaster novozelandicus Psilocybe weraroa [= Weraroa virescens] in tawa forest – in leaf litter.

Clavogaster novozelandicus [photo Geof Ridley]

Clavogaster novozelandicus [photo Geof Ridley]

Cortinarius sp. in red beech forest.

Cortinarius sp. [photo Geoff Ridley]

Cortinarius sp. [photo Geoff Ridley]

Lepiota sp. in red beech forest – in leaf litter.

Lepiota sp. [photo Geoff Ridley]

Lepiota sp. [photo Geoff Ridley]

Hebeloma  mediorufum (?) in red beech forest.

Hebeloma  mediorufum (?) [photo Geoff Ridley]

Hebeloma  mediorufum (?) [photo Geoff Ridley]

Hebeloma mediorufum (?) spore print [photo Geoff Ridley]

Hebeloma mediorufum (?) spore print [photo Geoff Ridley]

Cortinarius rotundisporus in red beech forest.

Cortinarius rotundisporus [photo Geoff Ridley]

Cortinarius rotundisporus [photo Geoff Ridley]

Cortinarius rotundisporus [photo Geoff Ridley]

Cortinarius rotundisporus [photo Geoff Ridley]

Cortinarius rotundisporus [photo Geoff Ridley]

Cortinarius rotundisporus [photo Geoff Ridley]

Russula sp. in red beech forest.

Russula sp. [photo Geoff Ridley]

Russula sp. [photo Geoff Ridley]

Galerina patagonica in tawa forest – on fallen log.

Galerina patagonica [photo Geoff Ridley]

Galerina patagonica [photo Geoff Ridley]

Chalciporus piperatus in Douglas fir stand. Note:  Amanita muscaria also present but very rotten.

Chalciporus piperatus [photo Geoff Ridley]

Chalciporus piperatus [photo Geoff Ridley]

Futher reading 

Colenso, W. 1890. An enumeration of fungi recently discovered in New Zealand. Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute 23: 391-398.

 

 

 

 

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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 shriveled 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 fond 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 Wellingtom 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.