Just about every time I go for a walk in the bush there is something interesting or usual to see. On Sunday at Dereel I came across what looked like a chunk of bread, it turns out to be the last stage of the fungi, white punk. Laetiporus portentosus White Punk grows on eucalypts. The photos healthy white punk were taken at Teesdale. Wallabies often eat fungi but I am not sure if they eat this one.
These tiny fungi belong to a group known as bird’s nest fungi. I think these are Nidula emodensis. They grow on rotting twigs, dung or humus and look like very tiny nests with eggs. The small cup-shaped structures are about 5mm across. Young specimens have a lid-like covering and when that falls off, the ‘eggs’ or packages of spores called peridioles are exposed. They are released when raindrops fall into the cups and splash out the brown packages.
I am still on about fungi and these photos were taken near Wombat Station in the Wombat Forest. If you rug up and go for a walk at this time of year you should always see some fungi. They come in all shapes and sizes. What we see is just the showy top or fruiting bodies and underneath there is a lot of work going on. The rest of the fungi is breaking down organic matter and recycling nutrients. They are vital for healthy ecosystems. Some fungi are food for wallabies.
This time of year especially after some rain is the best time to see fungi. Fungi are an essential part of the ecosystem and many form an association with plants to assist growth. Others have a big role in the breakdown and recycling of all types of organic waste material. Fungi also form part of the diet of some native animals such as bandicoots and small wallabies.
While it may seem a bit dreary outside there is still plenty of interesting things to see in our local bush. There are lots of fungi and orchids if you dare to brave the cold.