What the Fungus?!


If you have found an odd or interesting looking fungus let us know! We will upload the picture of it here and ask our expert members to respond.


Send your query and one or more high quality pictures to the Webmaster (dee.carter@sydney.edu.au)

If possible include in your pictures a scale guide, such as a ruler or a 20c coin, to help with the identifiction.

Attached are unidentified moulds found today in a client's garden in Morisset Park NSW.


I look forward to hearing what they are and if there are any health risks to human or animal.



Roberta Ewing

This is the Anemone Fungus, Aseroe rubra.


We have just a specimen of the Aseroe rubra in its more natural habitat in north-west Tasmania. It has been found in wet forests in Tasmania as well as on mountain sides. The first time I saw it was on the slopes of Cradle Mountain many years ago. It is now found in mulch and wood chips through much of Australia and has turned up, much to the delight of British mycologists, in England and seems to be spreading there.


The photographer has shown the gelatinous, purplish 'egg' from which the fruit body 'hatches'. The fruit body consists of a rather spongy stem which is topped by the 'arms'. These arms are always forked at the tips. In the centre is an evil-smelling, blackish slime. Flies are attracted to this spore-filled slime, land on it and disperse the fungal spores which stick to the feet and body of the flies. They are also probably attracted by the flesh-like appearance.


It is less easy to answer the question of toxicity. I understand that Aseroe rubra  is unlikely to be toxic to humans, although toxicity of Australian species of fungi is largely unknown. This fungus belongs to the Stinkhorn group and it is known that another fungus in the group, Phallus rubicundus, is highly toxic to dogs.   



Pam Catcheside
Honorary Research Associate,
State Herbarium of South Australia,
P.O. Box 2372
Kent Town, S.A. 5071.
Phone: (08) 8222 9379
Email: pam.catcheside@sa.gov.au

This picture was taken in Parkville (Melbourne). I have tried to identify it but with no luck. Any ideas?


Juliana Tasevska

Our mushroom expert Dr Sapphire McMullan-Fisher believes this to be  an Agaric, probably Amanita sp. coated in green herbicide!

I found what I think are Boletus edulis as per the attached pictures but I was quite surprised as it was in the Macedon Ranges in Victoria and to the best of my knowledge, the only ones found in Australia were in SA.

So could it be something else or does it mean that there are some in Vic as well?


Any thoughts or opinion are most welcome.


Many thanks,



The specimen is almost certainly Boletus edulis. The stipe has the white reticulations, it isn’t staining when cut, shape of stipe, cap and colours are right. Microscopy would help but all characters are right for the cep.


Boletus edulis is a Fungimap target species, and Fungimap should be contacted with this record (http://fungimap.org.au/). The fungus has been found throughout quite a large area in the Adelaide hills but I wasn’t aware of it elsewhere.


Pam Catcheside 
Honorary Research Associate, 
State Herbarium of South Australia, 
Kent Town, 
South Australia 5071 

Phone: (08) 8222 9379 
Fax: (08) 8222 9353

Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, South Australian Government 
www.environment.sa.gov.au | www.naturalresources.sa.gov.au | www.waterconnect.sa.gov.au | 

I was walking in the Adelaide Hills last year and came across this wonderful growth and was amazed to see such natural architecture. The other photo shows what was sitting inside when the outer form was moved.  I still can't believe it is something found in nature. This is something I could not have imagined. I thought maybe it is of interest.  


Peter Stephens


Dear Peter

Your fungus is a lattice or cage fungus in the genus Ileodictyon. These form an unusual structure, with arms joined in a three dimensional lattice, resembling a soccer ball with the panels punched out. Spores form a green, slimy mass on the inside of the arms. Lattice Fungus is initially tightly packed into an egg-like structure; and the lattice can rapidly burst out from the egg. There are two species of Lattice Fungus in Australia - Ileodictyon gracile (arms smooth, expanded at joints, initially sinuously folded) and I. cibarium (arms creased, initially folded like a concertina), with the latter having thicker arms. The two species can be rather difficult to tell apart and there may in fact just be one rather variable species. Your photo is hard to match definitely to either species, but is probably I. gracile (but with fairly thick arms).

The receptacle of Ileodictyon is strikingly similar in structure to the ‘buckyball’ - a molecule which forms a polyhedral hollow cage of carbon atoms (called buckminsterfullerene). Buckyballs were named because of their resemblance to geodesic domes designed by architect Buckminster Fuller.

Lattice fungi gain nutrients from decomposing wood chips and other organic matter, and are not harmful to plants.

For the distribution in Australia see:

See also:




Dr Tom May

Secretary, Nomenclature Committee for Fungi

President, Fungimap Inc.

Senior Mycologist
Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne
Private Bag 2000
South Yarra, Victoria 3141

Email: tom.may@rbg.vic.gov.au
Phone: 03 9252 2319

Mobile: 0417 375 216
FAx: 03 9252 2350




Here are a couple of photos of a rather large specimen on our farm.
Kind Regards,
Mary Phillips


Dear Mary


Your fungus is the Giant Bolete Phlebopus marginatus. This produces the largest fruit-bodies of any Australian fungus.


Giant Bolete has pores on the underside of the pileus, and a large stipe that can be swollen towards the base. There are a few species of the bolete group that form large fruit-bodies, but the other common one (Boletus barragensis) can be easily distinguished because there is a red rim around the opening of the pores .


For more information on Phlebopus marginatus, see, for example:








Hi there,


This specimen was recovered East Victoria in eucalypt forest and I have had no luck in finding a positive ID!
I have attached photos of two young and one mature fruiting bodies, what a remarkable transformation it took me awhile to even realise I was looking at the same mushroom!




Hi Tim


From the photos, the best match for your fungus is Neolentinus dactyloides.


This is a very tough, gilled fungus that produces fruit-bodies after bushfires. There are lamellae under the pileus, but these can be quite shallow and sometimes with inter-connections. The pileus surface is usually dark brown and with stiff hairs. The stipe is connected to a pseudosclerotium - an underground mass of soil bound together with hyphae of the fungus. The pseudosclerotium can be quite long and branched, appearing rather finger-like.


See the fact sheet at: http://www.dpaw.wa.gov.au/images/7_2007-01_Neolentinus_dactyloides_DEC_FF.pdf


The W.A. specimens in the fact sheet have a paler brown pileus and more well-developed lamellae, but the species seems to be quite variable, perhaps relating to how fresh the fruit-bodies are. They might persist for quite a while (in contrast to most mushrooms that decay after a few weeks at most).


See also images from Victoria at: http://photos.rnr.id.au/2009/12/20/Neolentinus_dactyloides_Bunyip091220-8802.jpg

and New South Wales at: http://mushroomobserver.org/84671


From the map in Australia's Virtual Herbarium (http://avh.ala.org.au/occurrences/search?taxa=Neolentinus+dactyloides#tab_mapView), Neolentinus dactyloides is a widespread species, but not often reported


You might like to send locality information to Fungimap: info@fungimap.org.au







I recently harvested a tree mushroom from the Terry Hills area of NSW and was wondering if you could lend any information as to it's species, or guide as to how I can correctly identify this

Many thanks,



Hi Daniel

The fungus on the tree is most likely a species of Phellinus, such as Phellinus robustus.

Phellinus forms tough, almost woody, bracket fungi. They often cause decay in the dead heartwood of living trees.

There is no recent treatment of the Australian species, so identification to species is difficult. In addition, many species of Phellinus are now placed in other genera such as Fomitiporia.

Depending on why you need an identification, a DNA sequence may be the best way to get an authoritative identification, although this does depend on their being sequences already available in reference databases such as GenBank.