Last week Zealandia published a glorious little photo-essay An Enchantment of Fungi, alerting us to the fact that after a long dry summer, the recent rains have brought forth a rich crop of fungal fruiting bodies.
I went for a walk there last Friday and found plenty of variety amid the damp forest, especially on the Valley View and Swamp tracks. The proliferation of Sticky Bun boletes and the angry red caps of Amanitas make them hard to miss, but some of the more fascinating species are minuscule and delicate, requiring a keen eye to detect them among the dripping mosses and ferns.
If you’d rather not spend $18.50 to look at some mushrooms, there are plenty of other places to look. Mycologist Geoff Ridley (who assisted Zealandia’s Hayley May with identification advice for her photo-essay) has a blog rich with field notes from Otari-Wilton’s bush, the Botanic Gardens, Bolton St cemetery and elsewhere. Hayley also linked to a useful identification guide on T.E.R.R.A.I.N., though mycological taxonomy is notoriously tricky, so I wouldn’t rely on that for culinary or (ahem) other recreational identification purposes.