Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Macro Fungi

A few years ago I heard that in prime rainforest there are approximately seven rainforest fungi for every rainforest plant species, and that we know very few of the fungi as yet. More recently I came across the fact that most Australian trees live in a symbiotic relationship with particular fungi. 

As I understand it, 'symbiotic' means that both the tree and the fungi get something out of the relationship. The fungi surround the tree roots with their mycelium (roots) sending them into the interior of the tree roots and get food sugars straight from the sap stream. The tree gets elemental nutrients broken down from the soil delivered straight into the roots. 

So far, I've seen about seven different macro fungi (where macro is the size that can be seen without a microscope) around my backyard. What we can see is usually just the fruiting body. 

'Fringed' Fungi
This one I'm calling the 'fringed fungi' for now, since it is going to take me a while to learn any names, or even find where to look for names. 

I'm also still learning how to take their images so they can be identified. Ideally this shot should have had an item in it to give you an idea of the size. The larger cap is about the size of a five-cent-piece (Australian). 

The shot underneath is the underside of the cap, showing the cellular structure. Or pores, as the author whose book I'm using to learn from, calls them. If these are pores, and I'm not even sure of that, then this fungi might be a type of Bolete.

Please let me know if I'm wrong. I'm interested in learning more.

Under the cap of a Fringe Fungi 

Reference: A M Young, A Field Guide to the Fungi of Australia, Illustrations by Kay Smith, reprinted in 2009, UNSWPress.

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