By Lachlan Turner
Dramatic colours, unusual shapes and interesting patterns.
This can describe a whole range of Colourful Fungi that may be found in some of the damp areas of creekside bushland.
It is easy to overlook many Colourful Fungi as most prefer spaces where there is no, or, next to no sunlight. They are often seen growing on decaying vegetable matter such as dead branches and fallen trees, mostly in a damp location.
Where the environment is consistently cool and damp and there is a thick leaf litter you can almost be sure that you will find a variety of fungus nearby. However, there are some Colourful Fungi that prefer a drier location in the open forest. The main requirement appears to be the availability of decaying vegetable matter in the form of fallen sticks, limbs or even trees.
It is not the intention to identify the Colourful Fungi shown in the images accompanying this column, as that process requires considerable knowledge gained from experience and research.
Some varieties are edible but most are not. It is known that Aboriginal people possessed the knowledge to discern which ones were suitable for food.
The advice is — do not pick any fungus with the intention of taking it home to cook and eat — at worst the consequences could be fatal.
It is much better to look out for examples of fungus, than to marvel at their ever differing patterns, colours and shapes.
If you take your camera with you when bushwalking, take a photograph. Don’t get too close, as it may be better to stand back and zoom in, as this allows more of the natural light to reach where the fungus is growing. It may be advantageous to experiment with the camera’s flash if the surroundings are dark.