MushRoaming Hawaii

MushRoaming Hawai'i
(Kauai, Hawai'i - the Big Island, Oahu)
December 2008 was a good month for mushroaming Hawai'i. 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. 
Aseröe rubra Labill.: Fr.  Starfish Stinkhorn or Sea Anemone Fungus
 Aseroe rubra starfish stinkhorn
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 fully dilated. The fruiting body extends within hours by pressurizing already developed cells with liquid.
One of Hawaii's most beautiful and intriguing mushrooms is definitely 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.
Aseroe rubra transect
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) on annual 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
Phallus multicolor (Berk. & Broome) Cooke  - 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 Phallus multicolor aka Dictyophora multicolor growing out of needle duff of Iron wood (Casuarina equisetifolia). Most netted stinkhorns have white indusia, while Dictyophora multicolor has a yellowish indusium (the apron / veil-like structure). Also growing in Hawai'i is the Yellow-netted stinkhorn (Ph. cinnabarinus), which has a longer veil and a cinnabar red receptacle, the tissue that is covered by the gleba.
All Phallus photos: MacKenzie Park (see Agaricus subrufescens below), Puna, Hilo, Southeast Hawaii, Jan 2, 2008. © Daniel Winkler
Link to Lysurus mokusin stinkhorn in China
Phallus_multicolor Hawaii
Two specimens whose gleba has been been partially eaten or ran off so that the color of the receptacles shows. These specimens were found in the same location but note the difference in the color of the stem and veil to the specimens above. The short veils still indicate Ph. multicolor
Amanita marmorata subsp. myrtacearum O.K. Miller, Hemmes & D.Wong    Marbled death cap
Amanita mormorata growing through the Casuarina needles.  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 CasuarinaAraucaria, Melaleuca or an Eucalyptus 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 (sensu Heinemann) 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 rotalis K.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 PeckClitocybe sordida (Fr.: Fr.) Singer and Tricholoma sordidum (Fr.) Kummer.
 Dec. 23, 2007, Haena State Park, Kauai, Hawaii. © Daniel Winkler
On Kauai Philly cultivates oysters et al. Check out
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 and eaten in East Asia. Also there is a fair amount of research indicating medicinal value. Dec. 22, 2007, Kapa'a, Kauai, Hawaii.  © Daniel Winkler
Pycnoporus sanguineus is a pan-tropical white-rot fungus that recycles lignin. It is used as a a febrifuge to reduce a high fever in traditional medicines in the Amazon. Its unique color makes identification easy, though it has also be known as Trametes sanguinea. This picture shows the Red Polypore growing out of dead hardwood from above (right). On the left, the hymenium, the spore bearing porous underside is turned-over resting on a 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" or "Golden Tuft", 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

Main sources:
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.
Many of the gilled mushrooms of Hawaii can be found at:
Former webpage graphic background:  Dicranopteris linearis - False staghorn fern Hawaiian: uluhe - Gleicheniaceae
Webpage first published: 2-24-2008
Last revision: 6-3-2024
Bonus non-fungal photos
A grown green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) resting on lava rocks. Jan. 7, 2008. Near Haleiwa, Oahu, Hawaii © Daniel Winkler

Last edited on Mon, June 3, 2024, 6:54 pm