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
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 ~
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 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 ~
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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
species) have settled on a red stinkhorn fungus (family Phallaceae).
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.
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
species are efficient decomposers that recycle the nutrients
in dead leaves.
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
I estimated that it was about 20cm (8 inches) in diameter, with a stalk above the ground of about 10cm (4 inches).