Join the next park Fungal Foray

The poisonous Fly Agaric or Amanita Muscaria toadstool can be seen popping up all around Invercargill as the delayed mushroom season gets under way.

SOUTHLAND’S mushroom season has come a little later this year because of the drought, Invercargill historian and naturalist Lloyd Esler says.

Mr Esler, hosted a “Fungal Foray” involving foraging for mushrooms in Queens Park last weekend where people learned about the different kinds of fungi growing in the region.

Different tree species influenced the type of mushrooms growing beneath them.

Many of the edible mushrooms growing in New Zealand were not natural to the region, but arrived with imported trees.

Mr Esler said there was no simple answer when it came to identifying edible fungi.

“I’m happy to eat about 15 sorts and feed them to your kids.

“The rule is don’t know what it is, then don’t eat it.

“If you do know that it is edible, then eat it.”

The one that kills people is the Deathcap which is pure white, pale green or yellow on top with white gills. People mistake it for a mushroom.

“I’ve never seen it in Southland. [It] tastes nice and you have about 48 hours of liver function left.

“Don’t try what you have dug up thinking it is a truffle either. It’s not.”

Fungi was aten avidly in Europe and Asia but the Brits were terrified of them.

“In a week or so I’ll advertise a Fungal Foray in Queens Park.”

Mr Esler encouraged anyone interesting in learning more about edible and non-edible fungi to join him on the foray.