The hidden dangers of unidentified fungi


by Al Williams
They tend to pop up about this time of the year, although there is sometimes trouble in identifying what they are.
These fungi were photographed in Timaru last week and asked authorities to identify them.
Courier gardening columnist Keith Omelvena said “They are just the fruiting bodies of an underground fungus.
“The damp, cool conditions have encouraged the reproductive stage of its life cycle.
“They will disappear once spores have been shed, until next time conditions are right, maybe next spring.”
Timaru District Council parks and recreation manager Bill Steans said “Sorry, I’m not familiar with these fungi.
“There is a possibility that they are associated with the roots of a nearby tree.
“I would treat them as inedible without a positive identification.”
South Canterbury Museum director Philip Howe no fungal expert, but I had a flick through my mushroom book and I couldn’t spot them.
“Given that there are 6000-plus fungal species in New Zealand, finding an exact identification can be tricky unless you have experience.
“These are probably one of the many introduced species and best left alone.”bridge mediaNIKE