Seasonal Almanac

Start of winter: Water begins to freeze (1 of 5)

May 6th, 2009

Start of winter 1 of 15 There are an estimated 250000 species of fungi in Australia and 5000 of which are macrofungi. Identifying some common-looking specimen is no small feat. Once again, I am up against the challenge of identifying species using online resources and with no expert knowledge (in fact very little knowledge in the field).

Entering the description of the fungus into google images presents me with pages and pages of images. The specimen’s approximation to the deadly Galerina variety opens up the world of mushroom hunting for the edible and the Psilocybe kinds. Perseverence leads me to some useful fungi-dedicated sites: Sydney Fungal Studies Group Inc., Australian Fungi – A Blog, and Mushroom expert.

After further examining the specimen (shape of its cap, its gills, its stems etc.), making spore prints, and using the key supplied by Mushroom expert, I propose that the fungus to be Psathyrella candolleana.

2 Responses to “Start of winter: Water begins to freeze (1 of 5)”

  1. 1 Silvia kwon
    May 15th, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    Interestingly, I read recently of a well known UK writer who was visiting some very well to do friends on a large estate in Scotland who nearly died from sampling one of these on the very estate he was visiting. he and his partner and the hostesses (who no doubt happen to be some earl/lord and duchess) decided to take a walk in the woods after a heavy lunch and all four were rushed to emergency after falling ill from consuming some deadly fungus. The men suffered permanent kidney failure (so that they will have to depend on dialysis machines to clean their kidneys) and while the women’s condition were not so serious they too will have some permanent side effects from this unfortunate incident. I think they probably had too much fine wine during lunch which may have hampered their judgement…….

  2. 2 jolaw
    May 17th, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    In my research, I found that there are mushroom hunters of various kinds. There are those who are after the edible sorts, those who sought the Psilocybe varieties(aka magic mushrooms), and those who seek out the wildest, most bizzare forms to photograph.

    As much as I love the idea of foraging for food in the general surrounds, the difficulties I experienced in just identifying this one simple fungus, I am not too tempted to dine on any wild ones soon. The photographic pursuit is much more attractive.