Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Fungi love the rain (as we know)

My new Blogging friend, Peter Welt, a mycologist (Fungi expert) from Chemnitz, Germany said just a few days ago, "Fungi love rain". How true.

Today, Robertson once again had more rain - heavy rain. I had to drive down to Tourist Road to feed a cat for a friend. As I drove down Kirkland Road I noticed several large fungi. Some were really obvious large white lumps in the long grass. These are seen at the end of this posting.

A more unusual fungus was growing out of the hard ground, immediately beside the bitumen road, where the road goes through tall Eucalypt forest. The cap of the Fungus was brownish grey in colour. There is a hint of pink in this specimen, perhaps made more obvious as the fungus was very wet, which made it almost translucent.

I believe this specimen is Amanita eucalypti. It matches the illustrations of that species on that site, and also in Bougher and Syme: "Fungi of South Australia". I cannot find any distribution map of that species. I know it was described in West Australia and is found in South Australia.The gills were slightly pinkish. The stalk was unusual in that it was narrower at the top than at the base, where the remains of the "volva" were clearly evident. There were some traces of the "veil" on the top of the cap of the fungus.The whole fungus was slippery, (it was totally wet, of course).
And it was noticeably heavy.

The stem shows the annulus (ring) and the "volva"
(that is the egg-like pouch from which the fruiting body emerges).

This image shows the greatest similarity to the illustrations on the web.
Here is the annulus, or what is left of it.
The gills do not run right through to the stem.
There is a slight separation around the stem, before the gills start.
The whole of the underside of this fungus has a pinkish tone
but the colour is very faint - quite different from the "field mushroom".
The edges of the gills
After I brought this fungus home, to try to get a "Spore Print"
the stem had snapped off cleanly from the cap.
This is the broken section of the stem.
It was not fibrous, but quite brittle.
On the relevant page on his Amanita website Dr. Rodham E. Tulloss states: "The volval limb is extraordinarily thick for a species of section Phalloideae and very much suggests the sort of limb one sees in section Amidella. On the other hand, the accompanying photograph does not clearly show either the termination of the stem within the bulb or a continuation of the stem beyond the point of attachment of the volva. The absence of a definitive indication that the stem is totally elongating and inserted within a thick volval sac supports the interpretation of Miller that the species should be placed in the Phalloideae. However, comparison of the protolog with recent photographs (shown on this page) indicate that revision of this species may be necessary." R. E. Tulloss.

***** ***** ***** ***** ******

Back to the "large white lumps" I had also seen as I drove down the road.
I collected several specimens on the way home. These were much lighter in "density" than the previous specimen. I say that, even though the mature one was totally soaked and was falling apart under its own weight.

These latter fungi were easily enough identified (well, down to a certain point) as Amanita farinacea. Trouble is, the taxonomist have been changing their minds, and perhaps the true name ought be Amanita ananaeceps (or is that A.ananiceps? (see note in item 49).Either way, these two specimens were soft, downy, but soggy Fungi. One was open, and already showing signs of moisture stress (falling apart under its own weight). The other was fresh, just starting to open. It was very "mealy" - the source of one of those names means "floury" (as if getting your hands covered in cooking flour).
The gills run through to the base of the stem, but not quite joining it.
But there is no gap around the stem, as with the previous species.

This Fungus had no strong smell (to my nose), but as soon as I took it to show my friend Joan Freere, she started to complain about its unusual smell, and she started to cough. I quickly took it outside her house.

This fungus had a very long stem,. some 18.5 cm long.
The cap was 12.5 cm wide.
There was no sign of the "volva", as I pulled the stem from the wet soil.
It is possible that I lost the volva - as I pulled these specimens.
If you look back to the image 2 above, you will see
that the unopened specimen has a bit of a swelling at the base of the stem.
I see no mention of an odour in any discussions of these fungi, but one cannot ignore the possibility of an allergic reaction, especially with such strong "chemical factories" as the genus Amanita (famous for the "Death's Cap Fungus"). It is interesting to note how different people can be, regarding sensitivity to certain odours and even to chemicals. I know enough about Fungi to take no chances with them.


Flabmeister said...


The paddocks (and indeed what is left of our lawn) at our place certainly support the statement. However it isn't the big impressive jobs that have sprouted but very small brown ones. I shall try to get some images later in the day.

We are hoping to find some more Field Mushrooms when we take the small dog for her morning walk.


mick said...

Interesting close photos of the fungi. Good on you for recognizing that some people are more sensitive to chemicals and odors etc. I have several allergies and its surprising how many people (even medical professionals!) won't recognize such things unless they have already been documented.

Anonymous said...

Dear Denis,

I'm not sure in either case, Whether there are any mushrooms of the genus Amanita. Both species have a transient ring and the lamelae are pink. Amanita always has white lamellae, because the spores of white powder. The second type is in my view, a species of the genus Leucoagaricus.

Best regards Peter

Denis Wilson said...

I was worried Peter would contradict my (hopeful) Identifications.
Oh well - I did my best.
One of the best sources on Australian Fungi (FungiMap) is off line at present.
I will seek advice from Heino Lepp in Canberra, now.
I agree the first one does not look like a classic Amanita, but there is an illustration in Bougher and Syme which I shall try to photograph. That illustration looks "spot on".
I agree the gills (Lamellae have some pinkish colour, but that is perhaps magnified by the camera and flash. Also, they were totally soaked (wet).
The spore print of both was white.
It took a long time to get the Fungi caps to dry enough to produce a spore Print. I shall publish that soon.
If I obtain other information, I shall re-publish it.
All comments always welcome. Thanks Peter.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Martin and Mick
I understand Canberra and the South Coast have been getting a dumping of rain, which should have Martin running for cover soon. Hopefully the short legged dog will not get bogged.
Mick, the Lady in question is the widow of a great friend of mine, and she is very experienced with fungi, as her husband was a life-long amateur mycologist.
We all know that, like snakes, one does not "joke" about the chemical powers of Fungi.
As for the variation in sensitivity, I know from being a gardener that there are some perfumes I simply do not "get". Violets for one, are lost on me. But heavy scents like old-fashioned Roses I really notice.