Back in 1971, Egon Horak wrote:
During our collecting trips in New Zealand, we collected on two occasions a species closely related to L. velutina … In both cases the fungus grew along roadsides. The … unresolved problem is whether the fungus is introduced or indigenous.
Then in 1981, Marie Taylor included Lacrymaria velutina in her book of New Zealand fungi. She said that they could be found growing in rich pasture or waste ground.
When you look at the European literature and websites two names generally appear – Lacrymaria velutina and Lacrymaria lacrymabunda. They are now considered to be the same species and the preferred name is Lacrymaria lacrymabunda.
My first encounter with Lacrymaria was in Dunedin in 1989 with one collection from a lawn in Ravensbourne and the other from my garden in Mornington. Using Marie’s book identified them as Lacrymaria velutina.I didn’t really look at them again until 2013 when I found them at Otari Wilton’s bush, then again this year and included them in my blog. The 2013 collection was from the New Zealand native plant garden which is heavily mulched with wood chip. The second, 2015, was in native bush that has been underplanted with more native species and is more lightly mulched. Both sites are within a hundred metres of each other and are peri-urban being within 50 metres of urban housing. I am not aware that any collections have been made within a more intact native forest. Jerry Cooper has suggested that because they are quite shaggy they might be the Australian species Lacrymaria asperospora. Again this is a species I do not know but Roy Watling looked at it in 1979 and said:
Macroscopically the caespitose [growing in clumps or tufts] habit, Jong stipe and greyer hues of the pileus [cap], and the habitat preference of growing on or close to wood distinguish L. asperospora [from Lacrymaria lacrymabunda]. Present observations show strikingly large size and robustness as features of this species, but perhaps a more representative range of collections is really needed to establish these characters.
Neale Bouger and Katrina Syme give the habitat of Lacrymaria asperospora as wet forest tracks, dump sites, roadsides, and Genevieve Gates and David Ratkowsky say often along roadsides and in other disturbed places.
In the last month, I have also received photos from an urban garden, not far from Otari-Wilton Bush, of a Lacrymaria which I have suggested is Lacrymaria lacrymabunda, however, it struck me as very shaggy and pale in colour for this species.So is our weeping widow Lacrymaria lacrymabunda or Lacrymaria asperospora? I’ll let you know when I find out.
Bougher NL, Syme K 1998. Fungi of southern Australia. University of Western Australia Press.
Gate G, Ratkowsky D 2014. A field guide to Tasmanian fungi. Tasmanian Field Naturalist Club
Taylor GM 1981. Mushrooms and toadstools. AH and AW Reed, Wellington
Watling R 1979. Studies in the genera Lacrymaria and Panaeolus. Notes from the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh 37: 369-379