Monday, 17 April 2017


For nature lovers, this past summer has been one of disappointment. Prolonged drought and heatwave conditions had resulted in stressed forests, dried up wetlands, and minimal growth of annual flowering plants.

However, with heavy rain followed by high humidity and warm temperatures, nature instantly bounces back through a proliferation of growth, not just the annuals and new leaves on shrubs and trees, but with a sparkling array of fungi.

They come in every form, size, colour and shape imaginable. They grow on trees, rocks, on the forest floor and on rotting logs, even on grasses.

Photo: J Edwards

The more common groups include mushrooms, those with simple gills on the under surface that distribute their spores, while others have pores. There are coral fungi, puffballs, earth stars, underground truffle-like fungi, slime moulds, shelf, jelly and birds nest fungi, and stinkhorns.

These latter, while beautifully intricate of form, live up to their names giving off an unpleasant odour to attract flies to help spread their spores.

Some fungi are barely visible, with heads only 2 – 3 mm across supported on long stalks no thicker than a thread of cotton, while others are immensely powerful, able to force their way through the rock hard surface of termite nests that even a wielded mattock would have difficulty breaking. The variety is endless.

So get out into our magnificent national parks right now and experience the finest of nature.

- John Edwards

This article was originally published in the VOICES FOR THE EARTH column in The Daily Examiner on April 3, 2017.      

Photo: J Edwards