Mushrooms and toadstools conjure up images of pixies and fairies, and some extraordinary fungi come up after we’ve had some rain. Don Burke recently looked at an absolutely glorious fungus which he says had a soft, cold and clammy, yet almost human feel to it.
Common name: Giant mushroom/toadstool
Botanical name: Phaeogyroporus portentosus. It may also be known as Boletus portentosus. ‘Portentosus’ is Latin for amazing or marvellous.
Description: This is Australia’s largest fungus. The cap can grow to a width of 1m (3′) and the stalk can resemble a small tree trunk. The weight for a specimen from Victoria was once measured at 29kg(64lb). They can be found in grasslands, pasturelands and under trees.
The giant mushroom has olive green spores and this fungus is a prime breeding site for fungus flies. The resulting maggots will break down the fungal structure.
This fungus is said to be a big brother of the Italian yellow Porchini mushrooms (known as Cepes in France).
Note: Not all fungi are edible. You should never eat any fungi unless you are able to positively identify it.