Tremella fuciformis

Brains, butter and boletes

DSCN8050It is not just the disparity in size and form that makes fungi so fascinating. It is their names. Some names are simply descriptive, such as the coral fungus or the Golden Jelly Bells, but others borrow from the anatomical, the mystical, even the historical. Winter has come, the temperatures have dropped and the fungi are appearing in large numbers. I think that it will be a great fungi year.

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DSCN8086One group of fungi is the jelly fungi, so called because of their gelatinous appearance. The White Brain (Tremella fuciformis) jelly fungus pictured above is one of the earliest to appear. Another goes by the wonderful name of Brown Witch’s Butter (Tremella fimbriata), pictured right.

Another group of fungus is the boletes, characterised by a spongy surface of pores on the underside of the cap, rather than gills. The name is derived from boletus, the Latin word for mushroom. After the recent rains, our ridge DSCN8303top has seen the appearance of a group of Giant Boletes (Phlebopus marginatus) (pictured left). As the name suggests this species is large. In fact the Giant Bolete is Australia’s largest terrestrial fungus with some weighing in at over 20 kg. The specimen photographed is nowhere near that big but big enough when it is compared to the five cent piece. In a week or so this large mushroom will be a large pile of ooze (click HERE to see why).

DSCN8181On the other end of the size spectrum are these mushrooms from the Mycena genus (pictured right). The word Mycena comes from the Ancient Greek for mushroom shaped. An alternative derivation to the naming is that the mushroom resembles the helmets the soldiers wore in the Ancient Greek kingdom of Mycenae.

Either way, in my next life I am going to get a job naming fungi.

Won’t you take me to … Fungi Town

We of a certain age will remember that catchy refrain from the 1980s band Lipps Inc. Or at least it sounded something like that.

Fly Agaric

Fly Agaric

This has been a strange year for fungi. Maybe I missed them, but for the first time that I can recall we have not seen the Fairy Toadstools or Fly Agarics (Amanita muscaria), pictured left, decorating the floor of our pine grove. However with the recent rains, mushrooms and toadstools are popping up all over the place. Here are a few of the more funky fungi I have recently noticed around the place.

"Pixie's Wading Pool'

“Pixie’s Wading Pool’

Pictured right are specimens from the Cup fungi family with the scientific name Aleurina ferruginea. I cannot find a common name for them, but given they are only 3–4 mm across, I am proposing the name Pixie’s Wading Pools. Even though they are quite common, due to their size you will need to keep a sharp eye out to see them. They exist in dispersed groups and tight clusters of individuals on (very small) bare patches of ground.

Jelly Fungus

Jelly Fungus

The Jelly Fungus (Tremella mesenterica) pictured left is one of the earliest fungi to appear in the season. It has a gelatinous texture and is found throughout eucalypt forests on fallen tree trunks and branches.

Golden Jelly-bells

Golden Jelly-bells

Another common fungus on dead logs is Golden Jelly-bells (Heterotextus peziziformis). It starts its life orange in colour that fades with age, but eventually dries deep orange in colour.

Very funky indeed!