Sunday, 9 December 2012

Local Plants: Australia's largest mushroom

Both exotic and native fungi are plentiful in the Capertee district especially in woodland and forest areas. While most mushrooms are moderate in size there is one species that is rarely missed due to its massive proportions.

Phlebopus marginatus
This giant mushroom is a native species called Phlebopus marginatus and can be found growing in the area during spring, summer and autumn after rain. The locally found specimen shown above is of typical size, but larger specimens are often found. According to Bruce Fuhrer, in his Field Guide to Australian Fungi, the caps of this mushroom can grow to 1 metre across, and a staggering weight of 29 kg was recorded for one specimen in Victoria.

This mainly solitary mushroom is commonly found growing close to Eucalyptus trees and can sometime be seen on local road verges. The soft, fleshy tissue is a favourite breeding ground for fungus flies and the cap is eaten by their maggots.

This mushroom evolved at the time of the Gondwanan super-continent and is still found growing in Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and New Zealand. While not recorded in South America a closely related species exists there. We are unsure whether this plant is edible or not. Wikipedia references two publications that claim the mushroom is edible and mild tasting, while the ever-cautious Bruce Fuhrer records it as poisonous. Best to act on the side of caution and leave the flesh to the maggots.




1 comment:

  1. This was the coolest process. Thanks for sharing. Now if only I liked the taste of mushrooms...

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    ReplyDelete

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