A caution

The pages of this blog contain pictures of mushrooms that I have personally eaten.

Unfortunately, there are people who will offer idiotic advice regarding the edibility of mushrooms.  Statements like “Australian native mushrooms won’t kill you – look at the statistics” have been made to me.  The reason that the statistics are low is that we are a nation of mycophobes, which is a good thing in some ways.

Let there be no mistake, there are plenty of Australian native mushrooms that will kill you in a slow and horrible manner.  It is not a hobby to be taken lightly.  My photographs and notes provide a guide, but they are not idiot proof.  I never eat a mushroom until I have researched it throughly and even then I always try a little bit first.

There are not a lot of qualified mycologists around in Australia, and their primary interests are usually not in the area of edibility of mushrooms.  That said, they are the people who are uniquely qualified to do identify a mushroom.  It is a worthwhile exercise to aquaint yourself with the resources that are available to you in this regard.

If you have a field mushroom about which you are in doubt, in Western Australia, there is a service provided by The Department of Agriculture’s AGWEST Plant Laboratories, 3 Baron Hay Court, South Perth which will provide an identification service for a small fee.  Such as service is an extremely valuable resource.  See also their guide to indentification of field mushrooms.

You should also be aware of the Biodiversity Conservation Bill 2015 in WA which specifically places native fungi in the category of plants and thus flora and imposes massive fines for picking them.  In addition, species which are quite clearly introduced rather than native in the  normal sense of the word have been classified as native.  As a result you should only pick any mushroom from private land.  WA is perhaps the only place in the world where you could potentially face financial ruin for picking a common field mushroom or even a sprig of wattle.

There are also  of course many internet resources available regarding the edibility and chemistry of mushrooms.  Mostly, these are not directly applicable to Australian mushrooms, although it depends on whether the particular species is native or introduced, which in itself can be hard to determine.

I shall try to list a few resources here.  One I have recently come upon that has some extensive chemical data and references is:

http://healing-mushrooms.net/terms-and-conditions

A site with a good collection of photographs of mushrooms in Australia is provided by Bill Leithhead.

5 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Janelle said,

    I wa sout walking on Sunday, a friends property not far from pingelly in the wheat belt.. i came across a huge sluggish brown slimmy thing, that was drying , decaying.. yet oozed brown muck when i proded it with a stick.. i was told it could be a gient salmongum bolete.. it was in a very wet place lots of moss, im sure in a spring.. would you know what it was and if it were edible.. as ive heard there are large mushrooms that the indeidgenouse people would eat…
    im thinking it could make a great dye bath for silk! or wool being in the wheat sheep area.
    regards
    Janelle

    • 2

      morrie2 said,

      Hi Janelle,

      It could be a salmon gum bolete that you have seen. They do grow out in that area. They are reported to be edible. They come up in the same area year after year, so perhaps you could keep an eye out a bit earlier next year. If you do find some next year , I would be happy to have a look at them and sample their edibility.

      I am not sure if they would work for as a dye bath. Have you tried the leaves of the Marri tree? I have found that it provides a lovely golden yellow colour.

      Cheers,

      Morrie

  2. 3

    Richard said,

    Hi Morrie,

    Interested in sending edible samples by express post ? Happy to pay for collection and postage? Boletes family especially interested.

    Regards,
    Richard

    • 4

      morrie2 said,

      Hi Richard,

      I am afraid that I don’t have any samples of edible boletes. In fact I have never seen the salmon gum bolete in the flesh and the pictures and information I have provided are from friends.

      Cultivation of boletes is a much more complicated enterprise than oyster mushrooms. It would require introduction onto the roots of a host tree and then growth of the trees as with truffles. So you would need the spores as a starting material. I am afraid that I don’t have access to any spores, but someone reading this might be able to help.

      Cheers

      Morrie

  3. 5

    Clowez philippe said,

    Dear Mister, l am a french morels specialist. l am very interresed by your morel on the web…under eucalyptus?. Contact me please pharmacie.clowez@wanadoo.fr
    Well cordially . Philippe.


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