When I wrote my last story about Fungi, I was looking at venturing into some of our rain forests to see what I could find in the damper parts of our region; unfortunately, that never eventuated. So why am I writing another story on fungi? Well, as it turned out, as autumn rolled along, with winter in ‘hot’ pursuit, there started to appear some rather unusual fungi on what you could call our doorstep (the top of our driveway) which I couldn’t ignore. Added to that, I finally decided to have a look at our local Lyrebird Forest Walk, which I’d been meaning to do for around four years. It was only a short walk that I did that day, but it presented quite a range of fungi compared to what lies closer to home.
I don’t think there really needs to be much explanation about the name ‘Horse Dung Fungus‘, as that’s pretty much what it looks like (more so from a distance). The specimen on the side of our driveway was about 6cm across when I first noticed it, with a fairly smooth outer skin and I didn’t really give it much consideration at the time. But it kept growing fairly rapidly and in a very short time was around 12cm across, which is when I decided to take note. It simply kept expanding and at it’s maximum, was around 14cm across. During that time, it began to show signs of rupturing and these ruptures became more evident as the days wore on. Unfortunately, at some point in time I must have reversed over the fungi and flattened it, so it now looks more like a cow pat with its own mould taking hold.
That one was pretty interesting and I’ve noticed that there are more growing next to the road from our driveway and I’m not sure what has spurred this uprising, as I haven’t noted it in previous years. Anyway, on my visit to the Lyrebird Forest Walk there was a fairly significant variety of fungi along the pathway; however, as I had my two hounds with me, I was somewhat restricted when it came to really searching out interesting stuff off he pathway. The variety ranged from the fairly ordinary to some that were quite interesting. It’s not just the fungi themselves that catches my attention, it’s the background in which they grow. I’m going to have to venture back, without the hounds, and see if I can find some really interesting things.
Once again, I have no idea what each type is called and I really don’t want to trawl through Google trying to find this information, if at all available, so I’ll just keep calling them fungi. I did make an extra effort for the Horse Dung fungi, as it was so unusual. Despite the Horse Dung fungi being unusual (to me at least), the traditional toadstools etc always offer an interesting variety of shapes, colours and sizes. And often while you walk about and see these, they may look similar, but on closer inspection, there are often surprising variations. I haven’t yet come across any really colourful varieties, but I guess that simply involves greater exploration.
So Winter is rolling in now, after a fairly warm start, and it’ll be interesting to see what pops up in the area. No doubt the dark, dank, areas will see their fair share of fungi despite the time of year and hopefully I’ll find something truly interesting and unusual. And the hounds will definitely stay at home, as many of these places are home to leeches and whatnot, and I don’t want a repeat of an earlier visit to a dank, dark, place. And it seems that I’m not the only one interested in fungi.
I can’t even hazard a guess as to what I might find from one day to the next, but there always seems to be something new underfoot. The good thing about fungi, as I understand, is that it’s a sign of healthy soil and forest system. And that really is a good thing.
Update 1: I just had to include this, as it shows the incredible nature of fungi. Last week I was taking the hounds for a walk in Mossvale Park and spotted a rather ordinary looking fungi, but took a photo of it anyway. This morning I was doing the same and the rather ordinary fungi had made a dramatic change. Last week the fungi was about 10cm across and today it was over 30cm, with a bit of a colour change to boot. Quite amazing.
Update 2: It’s quite surprising where fungi can sprout and I recently discovered these little fellows popping up in our elevated herb garden that’s on our veranda. Obviously there must have been spores in the soil or in the soil of the basil pot between which these have emerged. I’m not sure what type they are, but they are certainly not going into any recipe. I didn’t take any photographs when I first spotted them, but they effectively tripled in size overnight.