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The Butterfly Garden (蝴蝶園) in Shing Mun Country Park (城門郊野公園 )

The Butterfly Garden (蝴蝶園) in Shing Mun Country Park (城門郊野公園 ) is not just for butterflies. I am very pleased to have Andre Jagger back with his guest blog to continue about fungi.

The Butterfly Garden (蝴蝶園) in Shing Mun Country Park (城門郊野公園 ) is a popular place for locals to photograph butterflies in the spring and early summer. What perhaps is not so well known are the number of fungal species that call that area of Shing Mun Country Park home. Under some of the large deciduous angiosperms, particularly Lithocarpus harlandii (Harland's Tanbark) quite a few Bolete, Russula and Laccaria species can be found. Further down the steps towards the reservoir itself the bright red-orange Clavulinopsis sp. cf. miyabeana can also be found and all around the perimeter of the garden there are many interesting fungi, including one amber-golden Pluteus species. One of the more famous and not so uncommon fungi is the Golden Scruffy Collybia (Cyptotrama asprata). This being the second of the Agaricales, the first was Panellus species cf. violaceofulvus, unlike Panellus in the family Mycenaceae this fungus belongs to the fungal family Physalacriaceae.

The Golden Scruffy Collybia was found growing on the partially rotted and very moist dead wood (small branch) of an evergreen to semi-deciduous angiosperm, as pictured. It has a sweet mushroom scent, slightly floral or fruity. The taste is slightly hot at first, not unlike some Russula species, this very rapidly dissipates to a mild to strong button (Agaricus sp.) mushroom taste. The basidiocarp was only noticeable due to the strong contrast between the orange pileus and the surrounds, it was quite small - the cap/pileus at around 20 mm in diameter. There had recently been some large rains and so the wood was exceedingly wet, with water soaking out of it albeit slowly. Cyptotrama asprata is a saprobic fungus appearing to live primarily on the undersurfaces of dead wood and amongst leaf litter when very damp.

The pileipellis of the pileus will not peel from the context of the pileus, however it is covered with tufts of fibrils which will readily come away cleanly with brushing and a small scrape of a stylus or probe. These tufts of fibrils are seen at various magnifications in this picture and are to some degree are what gives this member of the family Physalacriaceae its reputation and common name. The embryonic basidiocarps can be seen, the tufts stand out significantly even at the early stage. They only exist as buttons up to around the 0.5 mm mark after that the tufts become prevalent as tufts of fibrils. The mycelium is virginal white and so too is the context of the pileus. The gills are moderately thick and exist in at least four series with the main series (largest gill length from stipe) connecting to the stipe in an adnate to subdecurrent fashion.

From the microscopics, abundant cheilocystidia (large sterile cells found on the gill edge) can be seen if this picture is viewed at the full size. A few pleurocystidia (large sterile cells found on the gill face) can be identified but are rather uncommon. The spore print is also very white and glistens slightly.

The stipe of this mushroom is fascinating, it is cylindrical, hollow with a few fibres running down the inside surface of this hollow and has an external shell of pale to bright yellow hyphae that appear both woolly (flocculose) and hairy (fibrillose).

Cyptotrama asperata has a pantropical distribution and the Fungal Studies Group of New South Wales Australia and the Facebook group for the Fungi of the Sydney Region both regularly record this species. Apparently the species has records extending from; Australia, southeastern Canada, China, Costa Rica, India, Hawaii, New Zealand, Japan, and the Russian Far East. It is not known from Europe and Northwestern North America.


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