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Fungi Hunters in the Wairarapa

Published: Thu 3 May 2007 12:21 AM
Fungi Hunters in the Wairarapa


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The iconic bright blue mushroom or werewere-kokako (Entoloma hochstetteri) is a common mushroom throughout New Zealand, and was found during a Fungal Foray. Photo: Bronwyn Dee


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Fungal specimens laid out for identification. Photo: Peter Buchanan
21st Fungal Foray at Masterton, 6-12 May 2007
Fungi Hunters in the Wairarapa
The Fungal Foray is an annual event organised by Landcare Research. The Forays began in 1986 and have been held at different sites each year, ranging from Tangihua in the North to the Catlins in the South. The event attracts both amateur and professional mycologists from New Zealand and overseas.
This year’s Foray will be held in Masterton in the Wairarapa, with the Tararua Forest Park and other reserves providing great opportunities for collecting fungi. The region has a proud history of fungi hunting with New Zealand’s earliest fungal enthusiast, William Colenso, collecting fungi in an area known as Forty Mile Bush in the 1850s.
Landcare Research mycologist (fungal scientist) Dr Peter Buchanan says despite these early efforts, little is known about the diversity of fungi in this region. “In all of New Zealand, there could be up to 22,000 fungi and only about a quarter have been given a name. Even less is known about the fungi of the Wairarapa,” Peter says.
Autumn is the best time to hunt for fungi, a From the 6th to 12th May, about 50 fungi enthusiasts will focus their attention on fungi thriving on the forest floor. These fungi fulfil vital ecological roles, such as breaking down wood and leaves and forming beneficial partnerships with trees.
The fungi-hunters’ challenge will be to identify and catalogue the discoveries. The information will be included in a National Database of Fungi and with so many more to discover, fungi enthusiasts will be out again next year.
ENDS
For more information, see http://www.funnz.org.nz

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