Sunday, 13 November 2011

A rudely named fungus

That title should serve as due warning for the sensitive!  This morning I wandered past a pile of old (about 2 years since they were chipped) eucalypt chips and noticed a red object showing.  On closer examination I found that it appeared to be a fungus.
On looking a little more closely I found the tip of one the 'arms' where it had been broken off (presumably by a bumble-footed macropod, of which there were several in the area)
The brown streaks on the cap were very slimy (presumably spore residue) and also very unpleasant smelling.  On consulting Bruce Fuhrer's Field Guide to the Australian Fungi I find this matches Phallus rubicundus in all respects (appearance, growing in decaying wood debris) except range, which Fuhrer cites as tropical and subtropical habitats.  The species has been reported in detail by Gaye from the Hunter, which while not subtropical is a lot warmer than Carwoola.

Although not a target species in view of the aberrant range I have reported this to Fungimap.  They advised that the species has been reported from further South than us, even into Victoria.  A comment on this post reports it appearing in suburban Canberra and my response records its re-emergence in Carwoola.

Adding to the confusion my friend Linda has sent an image from her grassland plot showing the fungus growing in a Poa labillardieri environment.
 She has commented that there is no mulch nor dead timber near the fungus but it is rather damp (as one might expect with Poa lab. growing in it).


Denis Wilson said...

Nice find, Martin.
I have never found that species.
Glad you linked to Gaye's post.
Definite associations with mulch.
The seasonality surprises me, but you might have had recent rains to trigger a sudden burst of fungal growth.

sandra h said...

Hi Martin
I've had this pop up twice in last month in my front garden, which has some wood mulch. had never seen one before, so conditions must be just right at present.
Sandra H

Flabmeister said...


This must be something to do with the weather. Close to 2 months after the original sighting about 4 fruiting bodies have now popped up in my big mulch heap (which is getting less by the day as I create paths).