about this blog



I started this blog in 2008. It started mainly as a way of tracking the evolution of my dry garden, and that led to an interest in photography and in the creatures that live in the garden. It's still about the garden and wildlife, but now my passion is thinking about how we humans can learn to co-exist with wild animals and plants, especially in urban areas.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

fascinating fungi flourishing

I've spotted a few different types of fungi growing in the garden. Yay! That shows biodiversity is increasing in the little ecosystem that is my garden. Their appearance has been helped by two things: the very chunky wood mulch that I liberally spread a couple of years ago, and consistently good rainfall over the last couple of years. 

These photos (except for the last one) are of fungi sighted in the garden over the past few weeks. Identifying fungi is very difficult though, and in the cases of Gold Tuft and Crepidotus, the labels I have given them should be regarded not so much as definitive identification - but identification in progress. 



These subtle brown fungi are not as dramatic as some fungi, but I adore them. They are Fairy-ring Champignons (Marasmius oreades). These are mainly found in urban areas, in parks, gardens and grassy nature strips. They're probably an introduced species. They tend to grow in groups, and often form 'fairy rings'.


If I'm right, this is a pretty exciting find because this orange fungus is uncommon, the only representative of the genus Cyptotrama in Australia. Found on rotting wood in native forests and mountain fern gullies in southeast Australia, this is a small, young specimen of Gold Tufts (Cyptotrama aspratum). It's a one-off - the only specimen I've seen in the garden so far.




These toadstools are very tiny, glimpsed as a pinprick of red among the brown and the green. They are, unsurprisingly, called Ruby Bonnet (Mycena visidocruenta). I've seen a couple of groups of these in the garden, but mostly I've just seen individuals. They grow in litter - dead leaves, twigs, bark of native wood - just what I provide. They're generally found in moist forest areas, fern gullies and drier native bush. If you're lucky, they'll also turn up in southeastern Australian suburban gardens like mine, with native vegetation. 




I originally thought these fungi belong to the Crepidotus genus, a common wood-rotting fungus with gills. They do have gills, but their caps are not directly attached to the wooden steps. And generally the caps of the Crepidotus species are kidney shaped, and these appear to be round. So go figure ... one thing's for sure, identifying fungi is a tough game, not for sissies.


Finally - these mushrooms, fortunately, were not growing in my garden. They are Death Cap mushrooms. This photo was emailed to all students at Australian National University in Canberra with the following message:

The ACT Government Health Directorate is reminding people to steer clear of the world's most deadly mushroom - the Death Cap. All parts of this mushroom are poisonous, and eating just one mushroom can be fatal. The Death Cap mushrooms often grow near established oak trees and are found when there is warm, wet weather. Given recent weather conditions it is likely that Death Cap mushrooms are already growing in Canberra...

... If it is in your own yard, the best option is to leave it be. It will die in a few days. Alternatively, you can step on it to destroy it. Do not kick the mushroom as this spreads the spores further. Never touch the mushroom with bare skin.

Three weeks ago a woman died after eating a meal containing Death Cap mushrooms that she picked in a park in Box Hill, a nearby suburb.

Earlier this year two people died in Canberra after eating the mushrooms.

22 comments:

  1. Catmint, I didn't know you could DIE, just touching one of those buggers, excuse the French. Zara and I will have to put our gloves on!
    I, too, delight in all the wee fungi sprouting up where you least expect them - another type of garden altogether.

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    1. Hi Faisal, you'll have to get knitting, special gloves to fit Zara's dainty paws. Potter and I, we go gloveless, we like to play Russian Fungette. cheers, catmint

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  2. Thanks for the very interesting post. I am happy to see fungi but I don't touch them, unless of course the fungi are morel mushroom, a delicacy around here.

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    1. They must be delicious, you are lucky if they are distinctive and not to be mistaken for any deadly species.

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  3. I often see fungi growing where I have laid new mulch. Not sure if it's because the mulch holds moisture, of if the spores come in on the mulch! But I am not good at identifying any of them, so I try to never touch them except with my shoe. Some of yours though, like the red and the orange ones, are quite pretty!

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    1. Hi Holley, I find them quite magical, I'm always wondering if I'll see a tiny caterpillar smoking a hookah on one of them. If the spores come with the mulch, that's another advantage to putting down mulch. cheers, catmint

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  4. Toadstools and mushrooms are so interesting, so many different varieties, but not knowing much about them, I leave well alone. We have quite a few that appear from time to time in the garden here, 2 that I remember are the Ink Cap and the puff ball. The puff ball is edible but I have never plucked up the courage!

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    1. Hi Pauline, there is something unappealing about eating a puff ball somehow. If I were to eat it I would want to know exactly the contents of its huffing and puffing before I put it in my mouth. cheers, catmint

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  5. Hi Cat, how exciting to find that little orange fungus! I find the world of toadstools fascinating too. As a little girl, I was a 'Brownie' (Girl Guides) and passionately believed in fairies at the bottom of the garden especially where the toadstools or mushrooms grew! BTW - I haven't been to Cranbourne Gardens, and we were in VIC for four weeks in May/June, so I'm kicking myself for not getting there. One day maybe!! You will no doubt enjoy the ANBG, the various Banksia may be flowering there by now. Have fun!! Leanne

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    1. Hi Leanne, I agree with you, toadstools and fairies go together, and just because we haven't seen faires, doesn't prove they don't exist. I choose to be agnostic about fairies. Cranbourne Bot Gdns will be here waiting for you next visit and so will catmint's garden. cheers, catmint

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  6. Hi Catmint
    Good to see you getting down and dirty with your Fungi.
    Re the clumping yellow Fungi, have you considered Gymnopilus?
    The habit, the slightly rough cap, and yellow gills look right , to me, but as you know all too well, it is very hard to ID Fungi by photos alone.
    Cheers
    Denis

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    1. Hi Dennis, thanks for this, yes I think you're right, looks like G. pampeanus. I think it's very hard to ID fungi full stop, but I also think I'm getting hooked! cheers, catmint

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  7. Oh reminded me...I have not seen any fungi yet in our garden here at the moment like last year.

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    1. dear Diana, you are welcome to share my fungi whenever you like ... cheers, catmint

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  8. With the damp weather in the UK at the moment we have had a lot more fungi at this time of year than we normally get.

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    1. when I think of English woods I think of the red and white spotted agaric mushrooms, beautiful and poisonous.

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  9. I find fungi fascinating but very mysterious - and fiendishly difficult to identify. They seem to revel in a number of disguises!

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    1. i agree, i think i might give up my new career as amateur fungi id'er - too hard basket.

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  10. Hi Catmint, i am amazed at the number of mushrooms you know!We also have many here but i only know two, just those which i eat. I remember seeing the star mushrooms in Stewart's blog and i found it too in your old post.

    Re my flower post, i will post the ID when many already commented or before my next post, haha. Thanks for your visit and kind words.

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    1. Hi Andrea, I'm trying to learn to id them, but it's really hard. Those star mushrooms are very distinctive. I'm going back to your blog now to check out the mystery flower! cheers, catmint

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  11. The fungus kind of plants will start growing here. There's one that is a HUGE mushroom. Touch but a little and you have "black smoke" pouring out all over. It's a really cool mushroom. With monsoon rains arriving, they should be in the garden next week or so. I love your pics....if I see one over here, I'll take a shot:) The little red ones are cute. I tried to take pictures of them but the camera doesn't always like to focus on them!!! Very frustrating. I like that line "fairy ring". Sounds magical:)

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    1. Dear Chris, I think there is something magical about mushrooms - like the 'black smoke'. I've never seen such big ones in my garden. I wonder if that big one is edible? It is hard to take pics of the tiny ones. I had to reject lots of blur. Hope you're feeling better, catmint

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