Friday, 3 August 2007

In the poo

In a very sandy area of Mt Eccles National Park I have found all sorts of interesting things, and I have never yet met anyone else there so it's all 'mine'. When I first realised that the plant world was as interesting as the bird world it was in this spot that I identified and photographed many of the heath plants that grow in the area.
Everything changed about 18 months ago when a fire went through the bush. I have photos of the 'devastation' but what followed the fire was amazing. Magnificent displays of Drosera whittakeri and Pyrorchis nigricans, carpets of moss and fungi, new growth from the blackened skeletons of stick and twig, epicormic growth on the eucalypts and numerous seedlings of banksia and teatree. It's a work in progress and fascinating to study.
Who would have thought that amongst all of this splendour I would have got most excited about some dung. Specifically, what was on the dung. There was a lot of fungi in this spot last winter, and it was relatively easy to find because the background was black and the vegetation sparse, and the fungi came in all colours - bright orange, purple, yellow, brick red, cream. I had a great time and hit the reference books as well. I took gps readings and photographed several records to submit to FungiMap. The one fungi I was most pleased about was the Small Dung Button Poronia erica I found on some dung. This fungus only grows on herbivore dung (kangaroo or wallaby in my area, perhaps rabbit) and it is tiny - it only grows to about 10 mm across. It's surface is scattered with black dots called ostioles. I'd seen it illustrated in the books but thought I'd never have any hope of actually finding any myself.

Small Dung Button Poronia erici

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