Chin’s Nature Corner

Mushrooms on field
These mushrooms are usually seen on a field, as in the photo above, or on grassy road shoulders
(photo below). They are always a surprise as they seem to have sprung up overnight.
Fungi and mushrooms

THE FRUITING BODIES or basidiocarps are the parts of fungi that we usually see and call mushrooms. Some species have been cultivated for food and sold fresh in the wet market, or dried or canned and sold in groceries and other retail outlets. Some are colourful while others have unusual shapes. I often see them during my treks in the forest, and I am interested in these fungi and mushrooms only as photographic subjects because of their colour or shape. I doubt the species shown here are edible, so this selection is intended to be a feast for your eyes only.
Psathyrella splendens

Forest Floor Fungus ~ When I stumbled upon this "bunch" of mushrooms that was growing on the ground under fairly dense canopy in a secondary forest near Kuala Lumpur, I felt that I just had to photograph it. The species has been identified for me by a mycologist (i.e. an expert on fungi) as Psathyrella splendens (Coprinaceae).
Bracket Fungus

Bracket Fungus ~ Some insects eat fungi as part of their diet. I once saw a grasshopper eating a small mushroom. Several species of Fungus Beetle (Eumorphus) feed on the spores of bracket fungi. In this photo, many insect larvae had gathered on the underside of this large bracket fungus, presumably to feed on its spores.
Jelly Fungus

Jelly Fungus ~ This jelly fungus was found growing on a piece of rotting timber that I found on shaded, damp ground near my house. The basidiocarps, standing one centimetre to 2cm high, were conical or club-shaped and had a bright yellow colour that caught my eye. The species is possibly Guepinia spathularia (Ascomycotina).
Gills of a fungus

Gills of Fungus ~ Many agaric fungi have "gills" on the underside of their fruiting bodies. Often, it's difficult to photograph the underside without removing them from the substrate on which they grow. I photographed this specimen in situ; it was growing on a broken tree branch about one metre (several feet) above a forest trail.
Cup Fungus

Cup Fungus ~ Two species of Cup Fungus, Cookeina sulcipes (shown here) and C. tricholoma, are found in Malaysia. They grow in damp areas under forest canopy. C. sulcipes has "smooth" cups with colour ranging from peach to light orange, while C. tricholoma has hariy cups with colour ranging from a very pale shade of pink to light red.
Giant Forest Ant

Parasitic Fungus ~ This Giant Forest Ant (Componatus gigas) had been infected and killed by a species of parasitic fungus related to Cordyceps sinensis. The fungal spores had entered the ants's trachae through the spiracles or breathing pores and the fungus had grown in the ant's body until the basidiocarps emerged through the exoskeleton.
Bracket Fungus Bracket Fungus ~ Bracket fungi (Ganoderma) usually grow on dead tree trunks but they can also grow on living trees which have been "wounded". They stick firmly to the wood substrate. Bracket fungi are generally not edible because they are hard and tough, but one species, Ganoderma lucidum, is cultivated to produce Ling Zhi, a food supplement.
Coral Fungus Coral Fungus ~ This coral fungus (Ramaria species) grows in very damp areas that are well-shaded by the forest canopy, for example near water courses in the lowlands. The specimen shown here is quite young, but older specimens are highly branched and resemble corals, hence the common name of the various species in the genus Ramaria.
Agaric Fungus Agaric Fungus ~ This cluster of subtly coloured agaric fungus nearly escaped my notice. It was growing on sloping ground lightly covered with some leaves and was almost the same colour of the soil and dry leaves. I cleared the leaves for this picture (and replaced them later). This species probably belongs to the genus Termitomyces.
Stinkhorn Fungus Stinkhorn Fungus ~ Stinkhorn fungi emit an unpleasant odour like that of rotting meat or carrion, which attracts flies looking for food. The fungal spores stick to the flies' legs and bodies, and thus the flies help to disperse the spores.In this picture, some blow flies (Chrysomyia species) have settled on a red stinkhorn fungus (family Phallaceae).
Ink Cap Fungus Ink Cap Fungus ~ This ink cap fungus (Coprinus) has fruiting bodies which appear like a mass of tiny umbrellas (with a diameter of less than 2cm). I found it growing on the broken tap root of an uprooted tree. The matured caps of this type of fungus dissolve into a "gooey" black mass containing the spores.
Parasol Fungus Parasol Fungus ~ Looking like miniature umbrellas, these are found in leaf litter on the forest floor. They have a leathery texture, and the long, thin stalks are also tough and wiry. The species shown (Marasmius sp.) grows on dead leaves. Like other fungi in the rainforest, Marasmius species are efficient decomposers that recycle the nutrients in dead leaves.
A big toadstool
What is a toadstool?
ONE dictionary I have defines it this way: n. a fungus (especially a poisonous one) with a round top and a slender stalk.
 Another dictionary states: n. kinds of umbrella-shaped fungus, some of them poisonous.
Why is a toadstool called a toadstool? This I got from Uncle Google: "This nickname probably came from the fact that this looks like a perfect spot for a toad to sit! Some people believe that the term toadstool means a mushroom that is poisonous. This belief may have come from the fact that many toads were considered highly poisonous."
  When I found this mushroom many, many years ago (see photo), I thought it was large enough for a forest elf, or gnome or troll to sit on, not just a warty, poisonous toad.
 It was growing in dry leaf litter in a forest near Kuala Lumpur (it was during a dry period of the year around February).
 I posed my daughter, who accompanied me on that trek, with the huge mushroom for a photo to give an indication of its size.
 I estimated that it was about 20cm (8 inches) in diameter, with a stalk above the ground of about 10cm (4 inches).
This page revised on 08 October 2018. Copyright © Chin Fah Shin.