(Kauai, Hawaii - the Big Island, Oahu)
December 2008 was a good month for mushroaming Hawaii. When we got to Kauai on Dec. 12, it had already rained every day for two weeks in Kapa'a. The rain did not stop and the sun shone once in awhile too, so fungi fruited plentiful, at least for Hawaiian condition. Hawai'i has a rather sparse funga (formerly mushroom flora) in the first place; as Don Hemmes & Dennis Desjardin stated in their very useful guide "Mushrooms of Hawai'i (2002) "what Hawai'i lacks in diversity and abundance, it makes up for in beauty and uniqueness". In this context it should be mentioned that so far no endemic ectomycorrhizal species is known, the few EM species growing in Hawai'i were all introduced with non-native tree species. Thus saprophytic species rule, making up 95% of the 300+ species recorded so far (Hemmes & Desjardin 2002). UPDATE: I heard recent research has turned up an endemic ectomycorrhizal species, but I have not seen the publication yet. I would appreciate receiving a hint regarding the reference.
As you can see from the below images, there is more to see in Hawaii than the beaches, resorts and Viking yachts for sale in port. Inland you can see some amazing and unique mushroom flora across the island. Of course there is nothing wrong with chartering a yacht and exploring the beautiful Pacific Ocean while visiting Hawaii.
Aseröe rubra Labill.: Fr. Starfish Stinkhorn or Sea Anemone Fungus
The fruiting body of the Sea Anemone Fungus just opened. The gleba, the dark brown slimy spore mass, is still in its original position and will soon spread out onto the base of the tentacles. The gleba has not developed its awesome smell, at least spoken through a fly's nose. Humans in general are less fond of this particular smell imitating rotting flesh. However flies flock to this filth and take care of spore dispersal. © Daniel Winkler
The hollow stem of this Aseröe rubra fits over my little finger. © Daniel Winkler
One of the two eggs is fullydilated. The fruiting body extends within hours by pressurizing already developed cells with liquid.
One of Hawaii's most beautiful and intriguing mushrooms is definitelyAseröe rubra, the "Starfish Stinkhorn" or "Sea Anemone Fungus". Starfish Stinkhorn indicates that it is unmistakably a member of the Stinkhorn / Phallales order named for the infamous Stinkhorn, poignantly known as Phallus impudicus.
All Aseröe rubra photos were taken at Kalalau Lookout, Koke'e State Park, Mount Wai'ale'ale, Kauai Island, Hawaii on Dec. 19, 2007, 1200 m asl (4000 ft).
This site is within 10km to the earth's most rainy site, Mount Wai'ale'ale (a.k.a. Waialeale, height 1569 m / 5,148 ft). Here, on this heavily eroded dormant volcano precipitation measures 11,700 mm (460 inches) onannual average. Photos: Daniel Winkler.
Neither Starfish nor Sea Anemone manifested yet, but they are lurking to hatch. The universal veil of this mostly buried egg is being ripped open by the fruiting body about to hedge. Aseröe rubra is a saprobic fungus, feeding of decaying biomass. It also grows in flower beds on mulch and in disturbed areas in general. It is common on the Hawaiian Islands and other tropical Pacific Islands. It seems to be spreading to the continental US and Europe. In 1800 Aseröe rubra was the first Australian fungus to be named. © Daniel Winkler
Dictyophora multicolor Berk. & Broome - Yellow-veiled stinkhorn
What a unique beauty!
And it does not reek so strongly of rotting meat like many of its lovely relatives, but offers a decisive spermatic note to spice up its aroma.
Laid out on a lava rock the jelly-filled volva with its rhizoids is separated from the hollow stem of the fruiting body of Dictyophora multicolor.
The Yellow-veiled stinkhorn Dictyophora multicolorgrowing out of needle duff of Iron wood (Casuarina equisetifolia). Most netted stinkhorns have white indusia, while Dictyophora multicolor has a yellow indusium (the apron/veil-like structure). Also growing in Hawai'i is the yellow-netted stinkhorn (D. cinnabarina), which has a longer insidium.
All Dictyophora photos: MacKenzie Park (see Agaricus subrufescens below), Puna, Hilo, Southeast Hawaii, Jan 2, 2008. © Daniel Winkler
Amanita marmorata subsp. myrtacearum O.K. Miller, Hemmes & D.Wong Marbled death cap
Amanita mormorata growing through the Casuarinaneedles. The species name of this Amanita refers to the marbled pattern of the cap. It is rather small with an cap diameter of 5 to 7.5 cm (2-3 in).
Amanita mormorata surrounded by the needles of Iron wood (= Australian pine,Casuarina equisetifolia) and an old tree snail shell (Achatinella sp. ). Iron wood and Hawaiian death cap live in ectomycorrhizal symbioses. It is believed that this deadly poisonous mushroom was introduced from Australia while introducing one of its host trees such as Casuarina, Araucaria, Melaleuca or anEucalyptus species. © Daniel Winkler.
A more complete description of Amanita mormorata subsp. myrtacearum can be found on Tom Volk's webpage, where it was recently honored "mushroom of the month".
Carved spirits are watching over two marbled death caps on a beautiful site overlooking the Pacific ocean.
All Amanita photos were taken near Moloa'a Beach, Kauai Island, Hawaii on Dec. 17, 2007, 50 m asl (160 ft), All photos: Daniel Winkler.
Under the same Iron wood trees Amanita marmorata is growing on the northeast coast of Kauai, a Laysan albatross (Phoebastria immutabilis)broods in a nest built from scooped up needles. With a wingspan of 'only' 2.1 m (7 ft) the Laysan albatross is regarded as a small member of the albatross family. © Daniel Winkler
Chlorophyllum molybdides (Meyer: Fr.) Massee - Green-Spored Shaggy Parasol
A flush of Chlorophyllum molybdites fruiting along a road near Kapa'a, Kauai, Dec. 19, 2007. Photos: Daniel Winkler.
Kapaa, Kauai, Hawaii, Dec. 19, 2007. Photo: Daniel Winkler.
Chlorophyllum molybdites, a Green-spored shaggy parasol - note the pale greenish hue of the oldish gills - is a poisonous look-alike of several tasty shaggy parasols. According to Hemmes & Desjardin it is causing the most fungally induced emergency room visits in Hawai'i. However, its unique green spores, which gave the genus its name, make it clearly distinguishable from other white-spored Chlorophyllum species, such asCh. rachodes, Ch. brunneum [back to PNW edibles] and Ch. olivieri. In the past these three were all identified as Macrolepiota. However, DNA analyses has shown (Vellinga 2002/2003) that these fungi are more closely related Ch. molybdites than to Macrolepiota procera, the Parasol mushroom, one of Europe's most famous edible mushroom.
Sources: Vellinga, E.C. 2002. New combinations in Chlorophyllum. Mycotaxon 83: 415-417. Vellinga, E.C. 2003. Type studies in Agaricaceae– the complex of Chlorophyllum rachodes. Mycotaxon85: 259-270.
A group of Green-spored shaggy parasols in fruiting between a flower bed and the lawn. Jan. 6, 2008. Kilua, Oahu, Hawaii © Daniel Winkler
Agaricus subrufescens Peck Almond Mushroom
Agaricus subrufescens, the Almond Mushroom is close relative of the Prince -Agaricus augustus, one of my absolute favorite edibles. And the almond taste is even stronger in this fungus. A. subrufescens is also saprophytic, but prefers a warmer climate than A. augustus. Dec 29, 2007, MacKenzie Park, Southeast Hawaii © Daniel Winkler
MacKenzie Park, Southeast Hawai'i ("Big Island")
Typical conditions in December 2007 in Hawaii, the skies are gray and the Pacific surf is up. Picking Almond mushrooms under these conditions is ideal. The salt sprayed made this tasty mushroom even more delicious, yummy! (I like to eat this almond mushroom and the prince raw).
Often the Almond mushroom fruits in groups. It used to be cultivated since the late 1800s on the East Coast, but somehow got forgotten in the early 20th century and replaced by the boring button mushroom (Agaricus bisporus). Dec 29, 2007, MacKenzie Park, Southeast Hawaii © Daniel Winkler
Agaricus subrufescens is not just tasty, but reputed to be highly medicinal. However, the almond mushroom made it to its myco-medicinal stardom under the name Agaricus blazei Murrill (sensuHeinemann) and most recently as A. brasiliensis Wasser et al.
See: Richard W. Kerrigan 2005. Agaricus subrufescens, a cultivated edible and medicinal mushroom, and its synonyms. Mycologia, 97(1), 2005, pp. 12-24
Agaricus rotalisK.R.Peterson, Desjardin & Hemmes
This Agaricus rotalis is a newly described species from Hawaii. It was growing in leaves under a banana in Moloa'a, Kauai.Agaricus rotalis stains yellow at the stem base (not pictured) and smells of phenol, two good indications that digestive problems will follow consumption for the ones who were not deterred by its chemical smell. Andy's backyard in Moloa'a, Kauai. Dec. 26, 2007. © Daniel Winkler
Lepista tarda (Peck) Murrill
Lepista tarda Peck, a close relative of the Blewit [Lepista / Clitocybe nuda], is reputed to be as tasty as the Blewit, but it lacks the blewit's typical orange juice concentrate smell. Since I rely on my nose for the final identification of the blewit, I did not fry these ones. This mushroom has also been described as Clitocybe tarda Peck, Clitocybe sordida (Fr.: Fr.) Singer and Tricholoma sordidum (Fr.) Kummer.
Dec. 23, 2007, Haena State Park, Kauai, Hawaii. © Daniel Winkler
Wood Eating Fungi
Auricularia cornea (Ehrenb.: Fr.) Ehrenberg ex Endlicher Pepeiao / Wood Ear
Pepeiao, Hawaiian for "ear", Auricularia cornea growing on branches. This wood ear species is commonly eaten and also cultivated in Asia and the South Pacific. Dec. 31, 2007, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park - Kipuka Puaulu (Bird Park), Hawaii. © Daniel Winkler
Schizophyllum commune Fr. Splitgill mushroom
Pycnoporus sanguineus (L.: Fr.) Murr. Red Polypore
Schizophyllum commune is named for its split gills. Due to its unique lengthwise split or grooved gills it is placed in its own family: Schizophyllaceae. It is globally distributed. Dec. 22, 2007, Kapa'a, Kauai, Hawaii. © Daniel Winkler
Pycnoporus sanguineus is a poisonous pan-tropical white-rot fungus that recycles lignin. Its unique color helps identifying it. This picture shows the Red Polypore growing out of dead hardwood from above (right). On the left, the hymenium, the spore bearing porous undersidea turned-over conk (left). Dec. 27, 2007, Kapoho near Hilo, East Hawaii, Hawaii. © Daniel Winkler
The Fan Jelly, Dacryopinax spathularia (Schw.:Fr.) G.W. Martin feeds of dead wood. In China this tiny Fan Jelly is eaten just as much as its better known relative Tremella mesenterica, the Witch's Butter. The latter I had the doubtful fortune to taste in a Chinese eatery in Tibet. I found it very bland and I have no intention to pick it for the table. Dec 29, 2007, Kehena, Pahoa, East Hawaii ("Big Island") © Daniel Winkler
The beautiful "Golden Scruffy" Cyptotrama asprata (Berkeley & M. A. Curtis) Redhead & Ginns is a small gilled wood decayer, formerly classified as a Collybia. Jan 1, 2008, MacKenzie Park, Pahoa, East Hawaii ("Big Island") © Daniel Winkler
Desjardin, D.E.; Hemmes, D.E. 2002. Mushrooms of Hawaii: An Identification Guide, Ten Speed Press, 1-212.
Arora, D. 1986. Mushrooms Demystified. Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA. 959p.
Webpage graphic background: Dicranopteris linearis - False staghorn fern Hawaiian: uluhe - Gleicheniaceae
Some more non-fungal photos
A grown green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) resting on lava rocks. Jan. 7, 2008. Near Haleiwa, Oahu, Hawaii © Daniel Winkler