One of the great things about this block is the vast variety of fungi that grow here. When I first looked around I found this native chanterelle. It was the first time I had ever seen this particular fungus and it was quite a thrill. In my mind, I have christened the property ‘Chantarelle’.
Since that first find, I have logged 90 different species of mushroom on the block. A few of them, like the chantarelle are edible, most are of unknown edibility and a few are deadly poisonous.
Personally, I find that the chantarelle is quite tasteless, although some report and apricot taste. It does have some decorative value in cooking.
These mushrooms grow in rings in the forest. Sometimes they occur in large numbers, but usually there will be no more than about 20 or 30 in a ring. They are a much smaller and more delicate mushroom than their European counterparts. The colour is distinctive. This helps amateurs from confusing them with the poisonous Paxillus infundibuliformis that is extremely common around these parts.
Austropaxillus infundibuliformis (funnel-shaped) is shown below. It bears a strong resemblence to the European chantarelle, but it should be treated with great caution, as its close cousin, Paxillus involutus is poisonous. The nature of the poison in this fungus is quite different from other common types. It causes a reaction within the body whereby the immune system collapses. This doesn’t always happen, for some reason. There seems to be a sensitising process. But a very nasty way to die. Note that the Paxillus shown below comes in a variety of colours centred on yellow, and it bruises black after time.
The chantarelle mushroom cannot be cultivated without planting an innoculated host tree. Nobody would bother doing that as the fungus is too small to be commercially viable.
There are more species of this mushroom growing on the east coast. See for example these two posts from my fellow blogger.