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]
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.In 2001 the entire Mt Bruce block, of 942 ha, 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.
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].
Mycena sp. in tawa forest – on a fallen log. Note: Maybe close to Marie Taylor’s Mycena dorotheae.
Mycena pura (?) in tawa forest growing in leaf litter.
Hypholoma acutum in tawa forest on a fallen log. Note: Rubbish photo, sorry.
Hypholoma brunneum in tawa forest – on a fallen log. Note: on the same log as Hypholoma acutum.
Mycena roseoflava in tawa forest – on a stump.
Nidula candida in tawa forest – on fallen wood.
Gyronemma sp. in tawa forest – on rotten tree fern rachis.
Armillaria novae-zealandiae in tawa forest – on fallen logs.
Favolaschia calocera in tawa forest – on fallen branches. Note: The orange colour has washed out in the photo.
Crinipellis procera in tawa forest – on leaf and twig litter.
Hygrophorus sp. in tawa forest amongst litter.
Psathyrella sp. in tawa forest – on leaf litter.
Mycena mariae or parsonsii (?) in tawa forest – on stump.
Not sure what this is yet. In tawa forest in litter.
Xylaria sp. in tawa forest on a fallen log.
Hygrophorus sp. in tawa forest in litter.
Coral fungus in tawa forest amoungst litter. Note: I need to do some work on this yet.
Cyathus novaezelandiae in tawa forest on fallen wood.
Coprinellus disseminatus in tawa forest – on stump.
Morganella compacta in tawa forest – on fallen log.
Leratiomyces erythrocephalus [= Weraroa erythrocephala] in tawa forest – in leaf litter.
Conchomyces bursaeformis in tawa forest – on standing dead trunk.
Psilocybe weraroa [= Weraroa virescens] in tawa forest – in leaf litter.
Cortinarius sp. in red beech forest.
Lepiota sp. in red beech forest – in leaf litter.
Hebeloma mediorufum (?) in red beech forest.
Cortinarius rotundisporus in red beech forest.
Russula sp. in red beech forest.
Galerina patagonica in tawa forest – on fallen log.
Chalciporus piperatus in Douglas fir stand. Note: Amanita muscaria also present but very rotten.
Colenso, W. 1890. An enumeration of fungi recently discovered in New Zealand. Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute 23: 391-398.