Tremellales & Others (The Jelly fungi)
These fungi are easily recognized in the
field by having a rubbery or jelly like texture. They have different shapes
and sizes, some are cup shaped others have stalks and caps some look like
coral reefs. They mostly grow on decaying wood and their spore bearing
surface is usually smooth or lumpy or veined but because it is always
exposed to the elements they are classed as Hymenomycetes.
Auricularia polytrica (Wood Ear)
I just kept coming across this mushroom from Christmas holidays to the end
of July, 2000. After that I seemed to find them dry suggesting that they
stopped, but they can be found year round.
Size Varies from 2-1 5cm wide but can be larger. Texture is rubbery or
leathery and as the name suggests they look like ears. They have a hairy
surface, almost like velvet and the undersurface is somewhat veined.
Colour ranges from black to dark purple or violet.
Growth is always on dead wood.
Edibility: Edible. This mushroom is actually very popular in China.
It is a commercial variety and can be bought here in New Zealand from some
supermarkets but is rather expensive at NZ$60/kg.
Note: This species is
known to exist in colours ranging from black to dark purple or violet,
however, as you can see in the above photos and the additional pictures,
there is a white
growing amongst them. I have recently found an article in the Mycologist
about this white wood ear mushroom, I am quite sure it is the one from the
description!! It is a different species to the common wood ear called 'Auricularia
lactea'. The article states that this mushroom is relatively rare, so I am
quite pleased with my find!
(White Wood Ear)
Found on the same day and on the same tree as the A. polyticha pictured
above as you can see it was growing amongst the more common kind.
I have only recently been able to identify this mushroom through an
article in the August 2000 edition of the Mycologist!! It is supposed to
be relatively rare when compared to A. polytricha.
I apologies about the quality of the picture but it was growing in a very
awkward position and thus was very hard to get a clear shot.
the picture contains both A. polytricha and lactea, I have decided to
leave the larger picture on the same page as the A. polytricha.
Gelatinosum (Toothed Jelly Fungus)
Found at Lake Waikeramoana on May 10, 2001 at the 15th New Zealand Annual
I was very excited at spotting this mushroom, I always see it's pictures
in most field guides and I was equally fascinated by it in the wild if not
Small, about 4-5cm high, stem and cap with teeth lining the underside of
Grayish in colour, the teeth appear whiter then the rest of the fungus.
Habitat: On wood
Edibility: Edible and said to be quite good in texture though not
Found at Lake Waikeramoana on May 11, 2001 at the 15th Annual New Zealand
White to clear jelly brain like mass.
Habitat: On wood.
Edibility: Unknown to me.
Slimy and slippery to the touch. Common.
Different people react
differently to different mushrooms.
NEVER eat a wild mushroom
without being 100% sure it is safe to do so.