Thursday, April 28, 2011

alien footprints

so apart from running amok & falling in love with aliens lately i've been 'shrooming. the mountains at this time of year with the cooler nights & snappy mornings provide perfect parameters for fungi heaven. if only there was more cow poo... but perhaps the power of the digestion process of the wombat or kangaroo shouldn't be overlooked quite yet. and i could always introduce it.

australia has a number of native edibles & hallucinogenic fungi which precede the introduction of agricultural animals like cows which are traditionally viewed as essential to provide the appropriate conditions for certain mushrooms. still it's easy to see why the cow is considered sacred in indian culture -- those trippers with their blue deities. india is one giant cow paddock...

fungi are an indelible mystery which provide gateways to either mind or flavour expansion. that's without even getting into their industrial or biological applications, their uses are practically endless. food for thought.

limited mycology repositories in australia make absolute ID of species difficult. there are some books & as my research takes me closer to unveiling alien life beneath my toes more information is surrendered, but there's no one real centralised index. still based on information gleaned, next time i go to the mountains i'm going to make my first spore print which is one method to ensure correct species identification.

some wonderful resources do exist online to aid the mycologist in trainer-wheels/wings.

my personal faves are:

i tried to join the australasian mycological society but their online subscription application is from 2008, and who sends cheques in the mail anymore? i guess they don't get too many queries... the NSW arm doesn't seem too active either. if anyone can direct me to other local mushroom lovers your input is welcome.

this speciman [i think] is suillus luteus although typically it grows in pine forests and these are all growing in eucalypt woodland in forest litter. it is an introduced species being native to the northern hemisphere. and is edible. i haven't eaten it yet but will try next visit if there's stll some about.

i recently bought some at marrickville markets which i frequent on sundays, where the mushroom man often sells freshly gathered fungi. they look the same: the pores underneath are granulated as opposed to open gills & old gold meets orange/brown sponge. it is recommended to peel the skin as it does give some people stomach upsets.

originally i thought it was suillus granulatus which deviates only slightly but there seems to be a visible ring which makes this specimen commonly known as slippery jack a popular edible known to be found in the southern highlands around easter. ching ching.

Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slimes and swallows of outrageous fungi,
Or to take arms against a sea of Suillus,
And, by opposing, end them.

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