One very common mushroom throughout the SW of WA is a species commonly known as Hydnum repandum. It differs from normal mushrooms in that it has spines instead of gills or pores.
It can be found in open marri/jarrah forest in hills around Perth, but down here I find it most frequently in association with tea-tree (Taxandria) scrub on my property. Like the Chantarelle, it grows in rings.
It is a relatively long lasting mushroom, not prone to insect attack or rot. Though small, it is not hard to pick enough for a meal or two in half an hour if you are in the right area.
Here is a plateful that I picked one day.
A favourite dish I make with these involves putting them into a pan with some chicken stock and red wine and reducing the volume to about half. Then chicken can be added, along with vegetables and some cream to finish.
A close-up of the mushroom is shown below, but the colour leaves something to be desired. I will try to get a better one this season.
These also occur on the east coast where they are reported to grow in Messmate forest in Victoria.
There is another very similar species or perhaps variety that grow in close proximity to these ones. They have been described as Hydnum ‘chestnut’ or Hydnum aff. repandum. These ones have a longer stem and a chestnut brown cap. I have also eaten these and they taste similar though they are not as robust in form as the orange toned species. This one also grows in Victoria and Tasmania.
Both of these forms can exhibit a deep pore at the centre of the cap. I did wonder if this was Hydnum umbilicatum, but Roger Hilton advised me otherwise and since this feature appears to be randomly distributed in specimens of both types, it is most likely a morphological variation rather than a separate variety or species.
Note: August 2016
Some recent DNA information from suggests that the chestnut variety is Hydnum crocidens. It is interesting then to see the similarities between these mushrooms and those on Clive Shirley’s NZ site that are named as varieties of Hydnum crocidens.
It is even more interesting to read a recent phylogenetic analysis of Hydnum based on DNA analysis and published in May 2016. This puts paid to any concept that this mushroom is Hydnum repandum. Specimens in the WA Herbarium are of un-named species (17 and 19) and others are unequivocally Hydnum crocidens. The 3 species from New Zealand are all found in Australia.