My fungi adventure is rolling on. As we walked through the bush on the dreaming track towards Grey Rocks yesterday I kept my eyes peeled for fungi. A big old banksia growing on the edge of the sanddunes had collapsed, and fungi was busy dismantling the dead timber. Fungi are essential to life on earth, one of their roles is break down organic material into its constituents such as compounds, molecules and atoms! I found this wonderful array of mushrooms, and climbed down to photograph them.
My partner knew at once that they were ones that glow in the dark. Long ago we first saw them at a National Parks campsite near the Victorian border. At night there were no lights, so when you looked out past the campfire you could see a ghostly glow in different areas of the bushland. Very spooky! This type of bioluminescence is known as Foxfire, and is thought to be produced by the fungi to attract insects. We see them around us here quite regularly, a fun thing to see if you walk down to the beach at night.
Another theory about the glow is to warn that they are poisonous. This one was lit by the sun, the younger one behind still has a convex cap, while the mature fruit has a deeply funnelled shape.
The funnels held little pools of rain water. This is how they appear at night, photo courtesy of the Australian Museum. I hope you enjoyed seeing my new mushroom find!