I had the opportunity to go on a guided tour of New Zealand fungi found in the Otari-Wilton bush this weekend. This tour was led by Geoff Ridley who is extremely knowledgeable on the subject.
He maintains the site Spores Moulds & Fungi of New Zealand which is an excellent source of information on New Zealand mushrooms, including both native and introduced species. He is also the author of A Photographic Guide to Mushrooms & Other Fungi of NZ.
The main thing I took away form the walk was how difficult it can be to identify different mushroom species. The other thing I took away from the walk was how little research has been done on NZ mushrooms. There is simply so much they haven’t studied.
The guide described these as “little brown mushrooms”, probably
Panaeolus sp. [a roundhead] – on wood chip. These mushrooms are ‘hygrophanous’ that is they change colour as they age.
According to the guide these mushrooms are in the same genus as those with psychoactive properties. Unfortunately on our walk the guide didn’t point out any psychedelic mushies, though they certainly do grow in the wild here. I was also informed that collecting or possessing those types of mushrooms is illegal in New Zealand.
We also spotted a few other varieties, but due to the drier-than-normal conditions this autumn, the mushies just haven’t been growing in abundance.
One we did see, that is edible, is called the “New Zealand Shitake”.
Here are some better photo’s from Geoff’s blog:
Lentinellus novae-zelandiae [bush shiitake] – on rotting log
He went into quite a bit of detail about brackets, veils, stems and other complicated stuff I barely understand. I think you can get more information on that kind of stuff here.
You can see more photos from the fungal foray and other mushrooms on my Picasa page.