If you are lucky enough to find a Stonemaker Fungus…

Kings Park fungi researcher Dr Matt Barrett has asked to be contacted if anyone in WA comes across any fresh Stonemaker fungi: Laccocephalum species.

Stonemakers are the amazing ‘fire fungi’ that pop up from a sclerotium, a tuber-like hyphal mass sometimes incorporating soil particles, hence the common name ‘stonemaker’. They come up in the ashes shortly after a burn, usually within 2 to 10 days.

Matt wants to be notified immediately by email (click this link) so that he can collect samples and he would appreciate photos with your notification email. He needs a location (preferably with GPS), and photos of the fungus as you first see it, before you dig to confirm its identity. If it’s accessible to Matt in Perth please leave it in the ground. If you are somewhere that you cannot get back to easily and you have a collecting licence, then Matt would appreciate you collecting the whole specimen, including the sclerotium which will require you to do a fair bit of digging.

There are few recent collections in the herbarium, and a lot more are required to fully understand their diversity.

Matt is trying to work out how many species there are, whether they all belong to a single genus, or if the post-fire fruiting-from-a-sclerotium strategy has evolved multiple times.

Roz Hart