Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Fungal Queen of Kangaloon

Queen's Birthday celebrations
Last Monday, Lucy, being a "loyal Pom" held a Queen's Birthday Party at her place. I did not take any photos of Her Majesty's loyal subjects, however, Penny sent me this none-too-flattering photo of myself (in the foreground, in blue tennis hat, eating a piece of Royal Birthday cake) with some friends, James, Steve and Andy (partly visible). Other friends, such as Sarah, Larry, Celeste and Emma (and Lucy herself) seem to manage to avoid the scrutiny of Penny's lens. (Ooops, I left Anni off the list - how could I? Now corrected. Apologies. DJW)

A very nice day was had, and Lucy deserves congratulations for arranging the weather to break, just for that Monday afternoon. It is raining and hailing again, as I write, and of course, we had 5 inches of rain prior to this event.
Largest Fly Agarics
I have ever seen.
The piece de resistance, was the way Lucy had arranged some very nice "Fly Agaric" toadstools to appear just near the gate, to welcome visitors. They were spectacular, and although Robertson is well supplied with this type of "Fairy Mushrooms" (under the very large Pine Trees here, mostly), these were the largest, and most tightly clumped I had ever seen.

My camera bag is posed there, for scale purposes. It is quite bulky, large enough to hold a camera with 3 lenses. The old toadstool on the left is about as large as they normally grow. The big one in front is huge - twice as large as normal.
Immature Fly Agarics
with the "covering" still
The immature toadstools of this genus arise from inside a covering which then ruptures, as the Toadstools expand. This is the source of the little white dots, or flecks, which are normal on these Toadstools, and which give them their distinctive appearance.
I have previously posted a series of photos which shows the entire range of development of these fungi - from covering just cracking, through to fully mature fungi.
Fly Agaric is known technically as Amanita muscaria, but is often referred to as the "Fairy Mushroom", or Fairytale Toadstool, because its popularity in children's picture books, illustrated with fairies sitting on these fungi.
Cracking of
outer covering.
Here you can see the red coloured skin just peeking through.

So, in honour of the Queen's Birthday event, and these spectacular Fairy Mushrooms, I propose that Lucy be dubbed the "Fungal Queen of Kangaloon".

My lawyers insist that no other implications , nor interpretations are to read into this title, which is entirely good natured. Also, it has been "cleared" with Her Majesty's personal Legal Counsel.


Gaye from the Hunter said...

Chuckle chuckle - an entertaining read at this chilly hour, and I will say that I have never seen a fly agaric anywhere near the size of your largest there, neither have I seen such a tightly packed group.

My first sighting of the beautiful fly agaric was during the first and only time I have travelled through the Southern Highlands many years ago.

I was SO excited, and thought I must surely be the only person in Australia to see these beauties. It was a single fungus growing under a pine by a main road (I must have looked an awful spectacle down on all fours photographing it).

Since then, the only place I have seen them is in the New England region of NSW in the pine plantations of Hanging Rock. We go up there once a year about April or May to go fungus hunting for photographic and observation purposes, which I always enjoy.


Denis Wilson said...

Thanks Gaye.
These are "iconic" fungi. Robertson has many huge old Radiata Pines growing here - they were much beloved of the early settlers who realised the need for wind breaks (once they had cleared the natural forest). So they planted pines. They were a very popular tree in late Victorian era, when Robertson was being settled.
Many are now huge trees, with massive trunks 10 feet or more, in diameter.
Anyway the Fly Agarics love them, and thrive in our wet soil, in the late summer and early autumn.
Even though they are really common, people still love to see them, and as one photo on the linked page shows, photographers go nuts for them, for they are so pretty. As I say, they are common, but I always take photos of them, every season.

On the Fungimap link, this image is not the first one (they are in alphabetical order), but its file number is 001. That tells you something. It was the first species they decided to load!
Glad you enjoyed the post. It was intended as tongue in cheek, but I was unsure that people would get the joke. Obviously you did.
And Kangaloon is such a good name to play with, anyway.



Denis Wilson said...

Lucy has confirmed that she is content with this posting.

Mind you, she is glad that I have not published some of the other conversations we have had over the years. Fair enough.

I am a marvel of discretion - sometimes. :-))