Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Ravensbourne Outing 06 April 2014


(Article and photos by Glenda Walter)

In preparation for the TFNC outing on 06 April, I went to Ravensbourne National Park the Wednesday prior to see if there were any outstanding fungi to be seen. Even though it was a week since the 140 mm of rain that had fallen over several days, after spending four hours searching along the tracks I was disappointed to find that there were only several very small species to be found, apart from some large Macrolepiota which had sprung up in open areas. Fearing that Dr John Dearnaley who was going to lead our walk would find that his time was wasted, I contacted him and told him that he need not accompany us.

I was amazed to find that in the subsequent few days fungi had sprung up everywhere! Murphy’s Law, I think! The Macrolepiotas were past their prime, but there were many other species to be seen. Of course I regretted not having Dr Dearnaley with us, but we did the best we could. We were unable to identify everything we saw to species level or even to genus, but after Fran Guard’s talk two months ago we could see that there were many different types of gilled fungi, some puffballs, polypores, brackets, jelly fungi, and tiny Ascomycetes.

Those who were keen to walk rather than crawl about in the leaf litter went on ahead with Neil McKilligan to the sandstone cave or overhang further down the hillside while others walked the rainforest circuit. About 20 members attended, including Ian and Delsia Mitchell who were visiting from South Australia.

The most interesting specimens spied by the sharp eyes of Jane Orme and Diana Ball, were very small and tucked into the soil on the side of an earth bank. These are named Gymnogaster boletoides. One was larger, about 23 mm long and looks by its stem as if it is actually two fused together, and the others were about 10 mm high and 6 mm long, looking like small yellow cylinders with red spots at the top. They stained blue when handled.

Gymnogaster boletoides
The specific name “boletoides” refers to the way this fungus stains blue then darkens to brown, like many boletes. Despite that, it is still placed in the family Agaricaceae with the mushroom-type gilled fungi. Microscopically, it must be more similar, despite its looks. Nigel Fechner, the Mycologist from the Queensland Herbarium said in his email to me when I found this fungus at Bellthorpe two years ago: “Quite a curious, yet stunning, mycological oddity. Despite its staining habit, it is actually placed in the Agaricaceae (gilled fungi). It is a monotypic genus (only one species) and was described by Joan Cribb (Qld Nats) almost 60 years ago.” An internet search showed that Joan found Gymnogaster boletoides at Mount Glorious, and it has been recorded at Cunningham’s Gap as well. Well done, Jane and Diana. Many Mycologists have never seen this special and unusual fungus.

Mystery mushroom (unidentified as yet)
Unidentified fungi upto 7 mm across with rudimentary fills and growing on dead wood

Bolete eater Hypomyces chrysospermus
We saw many small mushrooms with pinkish or greyish fibrous caps, Lepiota species. One type, Lepiota haemorrhagica, had rosy pink stems and pink rings, the white gills staining pink when touched. We also saw a brilliant yellow jelly fungus, a purplish-brown crust fungus, many delicate Mycenas of various species including a tiny black one 3 mm across, a small bolete, and the white furry “bolete eater”, Hypomyces chrysospermus which attacks only boletes. A mystery mushroom was tiny, tough and rubbery in texture, with an under-surface which looked neither like the usual gills or pores.

AMycologist friend described them as “rudimentary” gills, and did not know of any such fungi which grow on dead wood as these did. I have dried and sent some to him for further identification. Many fungi in Australia have yet to be described and named – maybe this is one of them.

After lunch, by which time many people had gone off to other engagements, some of us walked briefly in other areas, but we had left just before a thunderstorm passed over, soaking the area. Although most of what we found was small, from a fungus-hunter’s point of view it was a short but successful day.

Lepiota haemorrhagica

Unidentified hard puffball
Polyporus badius

Jelly fungus
Sporangia of an unidentified mould 3 mm high

Fungi list
Russula species; Lepiota species (several different); Lepiota haemorrhagica; Macrolepiota species; Marasmius species; Coprinellus species; Crepidotus species; Omphalotus nidiformis; Hygrocybe species; Mycena austrororida; Mycena species (several different); Gymnogaster boletoides; Laccaria species; Hypomyces chrysospermus (the “bolete eater”); Pisolithus species (seen on the roadside); Stereum possibly hirsutum; Stereum ostrea; Polyporus badius; Calocera sp.

Seen but unidentified
Small hard puffball species (very common); Small rubbery mystery mushrooms; A small bolete; Various small brown gilled fungi of different types; Several different bracket fungi; Several crust fungi of various colours; Yellow jelly fungus; Small grey cup fungi, 3 mm across; Small white stemmed Ascomycetes; Sporangia of two slime moulds, looking like pink tails and yellow balls

Left to right: Jelly fungus and Lepiota

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