I’m still on a mushroom kick after reading Entangled Life. One of the bonuses of working at home now is being able to go out mushroom hunting at lunchtime to take photos! I usually go down into the bush but these ones were right next to the house growing out of some hay mulch. I took a few photos when they first sprouted. I’d planned to take some more the next day as they grew but when I returned there was a slug with it’s mouth wrapped around the entire cap! An hour later the slug was gone, all that was left of the mushroom was a bare stalk.
After a day of growing they were about 5cm tall, the cap had expanded and turned a deeper red colour with regularly spaced white nodules around the rim. I returned an hour later to take a photo and found this!
This is all that was left.
I took the slug photos with my SLR and 70-300 zoom lens. They are not as clear as I’d hoped, I’ve got some extension tubes on order to hopefully step up my macro photography game. The other photos are taken with my phone.
I’ve been reading Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake and it inspired me to go out looking for mushrooms. It’s good timing as we’re in autumn and have recently had a lot of rain, great mushroom conditions!
During a short explore in the bush close to home I came across these large striking purple mushrooms. There were 3 of them, 2 quite large with caps approximately 10cm across, a 3rd was smaller and growing under the shelter of one of the larger ones. The caps were wet and slimy and deep purple in colour. They were growing in the ground pushing up through the covering of leaves and sheoak needles. Next to them was a small hole that looked like it had been dug by a foraging animal.
Some Google image searching pointed to it being a common Australian native, Cortinarius archeri. Cortinarius archeri has been found along the east coast from southern Queensland all the way through to southern Victoria. It’s also been found throughout Tasmania, South Australia surrounding Adelaide and in Western Australia from Perth down the south West coast to Albany. Peak season is April to July.
I sometimes upload sightings like this to the Atlas of Living Australia. I’ve not done it for a while, when I went to post there was a message saying they are transitioning to use iNaturalist to upload observations. OK. I signed up and posted, it made a suggestion that the photos were of Cortinarius archeri, quite impressive. Then within a few hours 2 community members had also suggested it was Cortinarius archeri. Nice.
Hoping to find and post some more fungi over the next few months!
[update] – I returned the next day and one of the large mushrooms had been knocked over, the day after that they were all gone! The base of the stalks were broken off at ground level. Looks like something had eaten them or taken them away
Another epiphyte observed on the morning dog walk. Beard Lichen looks so similar to Spanish Moss that the scientific name for Spanish moss is derived from it’s name. Biologically it would hard to be any more different. Spanish Moss is a plant, Beard Lichen, like all lichen, is a symbiosis of a fungus and an algae.
Beard Lichen grows off the ground, often on tree branches. It appears as a scraggly hair like growth up to 20cm long, it’s also known as “woman’s long hair” and “old mans beard” all good visual descriptions. It’s soft and flexible to touch and is light green in colour. Beard Lichen needs light to grow, it’s often found on sick or dead trees due to the the light permitted by the reduced canopy, but the lichen itself does not damage the tree.
Beard Lichen has antibiotic properties, it’s been used for 100’s of years to treat wounds.
This unusual looking fungus was growing in the back yard on a rotting tree stump in amongst some dense Fishbone fern. It’s another thing in the backyard that I’ve never noticed before, or more likely have seen and just forgotten.
After a bit of searching around on Google images I think it’s a type of coral fungus.