Sharpes Beach fungi

The rain continues on and off. Lismorons (and I mean that in an affectionate way) are a bit over it, but ducks, frogs and fungi are loving it.

There’s a newish walking/cycling/jogging/dog- and/or child-walking path through the heath on the coast at Sharpes Beach. As well as a good spot for surf-watching (always a relaxing activity), at present it has lots of fungi.

The yellow and red species below are stinkhorns, Phallus multicolor and P. rubicunda. The brown slime is stinky and attracts flies, which gobble up the spores and distribute them around the place. Both these species are very common. It’s best to wait for a couple of days after rain to allow time for the fruiting bodies (the main body of the fungus – the mycelium – is underground and what we think of as fungi are actually the fruiting bodies) to appear. The mycelia are saprophytic, meaning they break down organic matter, thereby distributing nutrients  into the soil. These phalluses were in mulch.

Phallus multicolor

Here are some others from the same path. The first two are agarics, Schizophyllum commune. They start off pinky, then bleach to white with age.

Schizophyllum commune; 5c piece on top for scale

Schizophyllum commune, white when bleached with age


Next is (probably) Pycnoporus coccineus (the scarlet bracket). The underside shows pores rather than gills (making it a polypore).

Pycnoporus coccineus

Pycnoporus coccineus underside, showing pores

Another polypore …

Underside of the photo below

Amanita xanthocephala

Amanita xanthocephala underside – note the gills, not pores, and there’s no annulus (ring) on the stem. Amanitas generally have an annulus, but this species doesn’t.

When you take photos of the fruiting bodies, ideally you take a shot of the underside as well as the top (to see whether it has gills or pores), and the stem (to see whether it has an annulus or not), and include a 5c piece for scale. Undersides can be seen via a small mirror. If you ask for IDs on a Facebook group like SEQ Fungi, you’ll be in their good books if your photo has all that. Location is vital, too.

After handling fungi, it’s best to wash hands as you do not want to be carrying around more spores than you need to.

IDs are from:

  • “A Guide to Common Fungi of Coastal New South Wales” (Dept of Primary Industries, 2016). This is available as a free download on the last page of ‪ The download is called “A Guide to the Common Fungi of the Hunter-Central Rivers Region”, but covers many of our fungi in the Nortern Rivers. I think the 2016 book might be an update.
  • “Australian Subtropical Fungi” (McMullan-Fisher, Leonard and Guard, 2014)
  • Australian Fungi blog.

Any ID mistakes are my own.

Here is a free poster to download for identifying stinkhorns (don’t worry, it’s not scratch and sniff).

If you are on Facebook, there’s a transcript of a good talk on fungi edibility.

And here’s a cute rewriting of Dorothy McKellar’s poem “My Country”: “My Fungi“.

This entry was posted in Fungi and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Sharpes Beach fungi

  1. Prue Gargano says:

    Nice shots! Is that plant in the first couple of photos Aneilema biflorum?

    • Joy Window says:

      I think it’s Commelina cyanea, but not 100% sure.

      • Prue Gargano says:

        It looks as though there’s a tiny white flower in the background.Does it belong to the plant? If so, it’s probably Analeilma as Commelina cyanea has blue flowers. (BTW, how’d you get the italics, Joy? Every time I tried, the ‘Bookmarks’ side bar shot up.)

        • Joy Window says:

          Ah, I didn’t spot that white flower. There was a lot of Commellina there (blue flower). Will check next time I go there. Do you mean italic in the comment? In the ‘Reply to comment’, I have a bar with buttons ‘b’ (for ‘bold’), ‘i’ (for italic) and others. I just clicked on the italic button.

          • Prue Gargano says:

            Yes, italics in the comment.Control I doesn’t work (or the others) in the ‘reply’ box.Control B brings up the ‘Bookmarks’ sidebar too. (Where is my technical officer when I need him? Oh, gone these 5 years now…)

            • Joy Window says:

              Yes, blogs are strange beasts. I had a go at putting in itals in this reply (done from ‘outsde’ the blog – I usually log in as administrator) and you can’t put them in the way you mentioned. Sorry about that.

  2. janebeau says:

    Such diversity in such a small area!

  3. Roz says:

    Great lot of fungi there, and good clear pics. I like the idea of 5c piece for size comparison.
    I’ve never seen the Phallus ones with the veil/nets before. And the Schizophyllum commune – great care with these, as the spores can cause respiratory and other problems.

    • Ooh. Ick. Thanks for the warning. A search on (“Schizophyllum commune” “respiratory”) gives 17,500 hits – and the headlines alone are enough to make me squeamish.

    • Joy Window says:

      Thanks for the heads-up about those spores, Roz – I had no idea. On the SEQ Fungi Facebook page, the moderator often extolls people to use ‘the echidna’ (5c piece) for scale. And to take underside shots for gills/pores/annuli – helps ID.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s