In a seasonally premature decision, I spent yesterday at Bunyip State Park looking for mushrooms. I also forgot my trusty camera. Fortunately Cindy and Michael brought theirs along, and I have them to thank for these photos of what I believe is Fistulinella mollis:
I didn't expect to see much fungi in Canberra last December. My trusty field guide identifies Canberra as a winter-hotspot, but two factors were on my side. First, it was a wet, wet summer across Australia. Second, Australia loves to wood-chip it's native forests...
This creepy fellow is Phallus rubicundrus, looking slightly worse for wear. The gleba has been stripped of its spores, either by flies, or more likely rain.
Clavulina vinaceocervina, given it's setting of moss. Could also be one of the species in the Clavulina subrugosa complex.
A member of the genus Calocera.
Definitely an Amanita spp., perhaps ochrophylloides.
These are Gymnopilus junonius. The japanese called them waraitake (the laughing mushroom), and they're known in Australia as laughing gyms. Some subspecies contain psilocybin - perhaps the source of the laughter?
I woke up early this morning, and decided I'd take the train back to the Dandenongs. It's been raining quite a bit there recently, and the humidity has stayed above 90%, and best of all I was going alone, so no one could complain about me spending half an hour walking 100m.
I came across these even before entering the park. They're growing on a massive tree stump outside puffing billy (that wonderful celebration of locally polluting transportation), and they were there for my first visit to the Dandenongs, two years ago with Michael Livingstone. I had no idea what they were. I'm now more sure that they're the honey fungus, Armillaria luteobubalina (which sounds awesome). They're an agressive parasite, and although they love dead wood, they're not afraid to venture to neighbouring plants, as you can see below:
This was weird. Next to an old clapped out Datsun 180, a license plate graveyard.
Now these are some sort of Panaeolus spp., I'd wager. Very conical, dark spored, but on second thoughts, the cap seems too transparent, and the stem too insubstantial.
I wish I knew, and I wish I'd managed better pictures. The caps in particular were really viscid, and clearly marked with black spots, like this:
The truly majestic mountain breed of Psilocybe subaeruginosa. They always tower above the surrounding grass and undergrowth.
Mycena spp., in front of some orange bracket fungi.
This species has me stumped.
Lycoperdon pyriforme, a puffball. Clitocybe clitocyboides, standing between me and a questing leech.
This is a close-up of its apical pore.
Not sure. Must find out.
Ah, these beauties are Dermocybe austrovenetas. As you can see, they have a greeny colour that's quite unusual for mushrooms, particularly ones so large. On the whole, mushrooms steer clear of the shade, which they disparagingly leave to the "seeders".
But, speaking of green, I was very pleased with this find. These are Chlorociboria aeruginascens, an Ascomycota species that was used in the past to stain wood to make coloured Tunbridge Ware inlay. You can't see it so well in this photo, but the wood was stained so green I temporarily thought the council had sprayed it with their toxic copper compounds. Then I looked around me, realised I was 250m off the path in the middle of a fern gully in the Dandenongs, with no other green staining around me, and decided that was unlikely.
Two P. subaeruginosa individuals, showing their hygrophanous caps (i.e., they change colour as they dry).
I'd spent wonderful hours in Wandong State Forest over the last couple of years, first going there because it best satisfied my two criteria for weekend visits: (1) close to public transport, and (2) quite wet. I'd been through Kinglake a couple of times, including one memorable weekend when I jumped the fence at Toorourrong reservoir, and followed the bluestone canal for a kilometre, finding both fungi and wombats.
Last year's fires hit both places hard. Kinglake particularly, and I hadn't really prepared myself for the destruction. It wasn't so much the damage, actually, I guess most of that's been cleared (although not all). It was the building-site quality of the streets.
Kinglake NP was almost entirely closed. Only one walk was open, and I followed it until the monotony of burned trunks and underfoot moss became too much. There were lots of fungi, but only really three species of mushrooms.
These were absolutely everywhere, but sadly I can't find out what they are.
This large fellow could be an Entoloma species, although it could be the introduced Hebeloma crustuliniforme, or Poison Pie (the former is apparently uncommon).
I wish this were Mycena nivalis, because I've been searhing for one of them for quite some time now. However, it looks like either at Panaeolus, or a Hygrocybe species.
No idea, really. But pretty, huh? This bracket fungi seemed very common on the burned stumps.
Wow. I'm not even sure these are fungi. My books have nothing like it in them.
My next stop was Wandong State Forest, a place I used to know very well, but which is almost unrecognisable. All of the small houses that lined the forest trails into the park have disappeared, and the pine plantations have been raised, perhaps after being burned. About the only constant was the dirtbikes.
Phew, I'm back on solid ground. These are Psathyrella pennata.
Xerula australis, which looks even taller in person. I call them "long tall sallys", a sure indication that I've been walking alone in the bush too long.
Galerina unicolor, a rather poisonous species.
The Wandong view out to the cleared pine plantations.
Psilocybe coprophilia - not a great specimen, but I loved the fact it was growing out of dung that was perched on a fallen branch.