Plant of the Month — August 2015
Pyronema omphalodes (Bull.) Fuckel
Pyronema omphalodes is a wonderful and extraordinary fungus that requires fire to stimulate its growth and fruiting. It appears as small, lumpy, orange masses that form extensive carpets that contrast against the blackened ground in post-fire habitats. Fruiting is restricted to micro sites where the fire is hottest, for example along the ash beds of logs. It appears quite soon after fire (within a week or two) and is usually followed by a succession of other fire-dependant fungi.
Pyronema omphalodes is related to the cup fungi (Ascomycetes) and occurs throughout Europe, America and Australia. This image was taken in Kings Park in May 2015 following a research burn by the Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority, who are investigating the interacting effects of different weed and fire management approaches on urban bushland biodiversity, fire risk and weed cover.
Photo: N. Bougher
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