My personal highlight during this Bush Blitz at Neds Corner Station has been finding what I strongly suspect will be a new species of truffle-like fungus related to button mushrooms.
Unlike many truffle species, it fruits above the ground.
I found this species just after Neds Corner Station got a good soaking last week. Like many other dry-adapted plants and animals on this conservation reserve, it popped its head up in response to the rain.
It seems to be quite widespread across this 30,000 hectare property because I’ve found in it four different vegetation types; but is most common on the chenopod plain.
Our native truffles have no commercial value — that is, you can’t eat them — unless you like eating powdery chalk!
While not for the human dinner plate, roos, possums and small marsupials are likely to feast on these truffles when they’re quite fresh. They’re full of valuable micro nutrients which can otherwise be difficult to find in this harsh desert-fringe environment.
I’ve put the challenge out to the Bush Blitz team to come up with a name for this new species. Can you think of one?
Dr Teresa Lebel ‘truffle woman’ Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne
Bush Blitz is a biodiversity discovery partnership between the Australian Government, BHP Billiton and Earthwatch Australia that aims to document the plants and animals across Australia’s National Reserve System.
Neds Corner Station is managed for conservation by Trust for Nature as part of the National Reserve System.