15 October 2021
15 October is National Mushroom Day, and we are lucky to have abundant wild-growing species in Queensland. From coral-like Ramaria to pink-red Russula and Amanita species, to edible oyster mushrooms, glow-in-the dark ghost mushrooms, super-cute Geastrum geostars or the dramatically glossy purple ‘Emperor’ of Australia’s ‘shrooms Cortinarious archeri – Australia’s fungal diversity is astonishing.
Whether edible and delicious, psychoactive or poisonous, fungi play vital roles in Australian ecosystems as decomposers and nutrient recyclers. Many are also food sources for fungivorous or truffle-hunting species (such as north Queensland’s musky-rat kangaroo) and form symbiotic relationships with tree species, their mycelium operating as a subterranean network between flora.
Best of all, fungi are easily spotted – especially in the cooler autumn and winter months – and fun to photograph. All of the pretties in the header above were photographed in Logan and Redland parks and reserves during the autumn and winter of 2020–2021.
Fungi can be difficult to identify to a species level, but the Queensland Mycological Society has some excellent resources to help. iNaturalist’s algorithms are also getting better at auto-recognising fungal species as more mushroom enthusiasts add images.
So have a fun(gi) Friday this National Mushroom Day, and don’t keep your mushroom images in the dark – ‘pop up’ your photographs on our Facebook channel today.