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Humungous fungus!

I was walking down my creekline, cleaning up, checking for weeds and rabbits and generally enjoying the day when I saw what I thought was a big piece of old rusty metal.

What on earth was this doing on my creek!

All metal bits, old fencing wire and so on had been cleaned up many years ago.

When I got closer, I realised it was a monster fungus emerging from the leaf litter.I only had my binoculars to use as a comparison.

So next day, I went back with the tape measure ( and binoculars again) and measured 45mm length and 26 mm front to back.

I also managed to get a bit of a look at the undersurface which was spongy, confirming that this humungous fungus was a bolete of some sort.

On scanning my several Fungus books I came up with Boletus ( or Phaeogyroporus) portentosus-regarded as Australia's largest terrestrial fungus "with individuals sometimes exceeding 1m in diameter" (A Field Companion to Australian Fungi- Bruce Fuhrer).

So this one was actually a baby.

From the Atlas of Living Australia-

"Phlebopus marginatus, known as the salmon gum mushroom in Western Australia, is a member of the Boletales or pored fungi and possibly Australia's largest terrestrial mushroom, with the weight of one specimen from Victoria recorded at 29 kg (64 pounds).

It is an imposing sight in forests of southeastern and southwestern Australia. Initially described as Boletus marginatus in 1845, and also previously known by scientific names such as Phaeogyroporus portentosus and Boletus portentosus it is in fact not as closely related to typical boletes as previously thought."

You can see the difficulties with identification even for the experts.

Bruce Fuhrer's comments on the edibilty of this species should put you off sampling it-"favourite breeding ground for fungus flies, the maggots of which cause rapid putrefaction..." although it is eaten,with relish, particularly in South- east Asia.

As with all fungi- the greatest care should be taken with identification before eating- if in doubt- don't.

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