Judy Edwards

Judy Edwards

Former Minister for the Environment; Science

    Ancient fungus discovered in Perth

    3/07/2005 12:00 AM

    An unusual fungus uncovered in a Perth urban bushland has been identified as a relic from the ancient southern super continent Gondwana.

    Environment and Science Minister Judy Edwards said ‘Cortinarius phalarus’ or ‘The Volvate Cortinar’ was first named and published in 1989 by N L Bougher and R N Hilton from near the South-West town of Denmark and has been rarely recorded since.

    “The fungus is considered a gondwanan fungus because it is a member of an unusual small group of volvate cortinarii also found in South America,” Dr Edwards said.

    “The fungus was found at the Forrestdale Lake Nature Reserve by participants in a Perth Urban Bushland Fungi (PUBF) project workshop in July 2004.

    “Back in May this year, I released the final management plan for the reserve, which was prepared in close liaison with community groups and other interested stakeholders.

    “The plan will protect the important environmental and cultural values of the reserve, while providing for passive visitor uses.”

    PUBF is a collaborative project begun in 2004 between the Urban Bushland Council and the Western Australian Naturalists’ Club.

    It operates in conjunction with the Department of Conservation and Land Management’s WA Herbarium and receives financial support from Lotterywest.

    The Minister said the PUBF project aimed to highlight awareness and knowledge of the importance of fungi in bushland management in Perth.

    “The bushlands are an important natural refuge for many fungi,” she said.

    “They underpin the long-term health and resilience of urban bushlands and increased knowledge about them and other organisms that help keep the region’s plants healthy is essential for effective conservation management.”

    Dr Edwards today launched PUBF’s new website that will enable the development of an on-line fungi information base for the Perth region.

    “The website includes information about upcoming project events, news items, information about fungi and most impressively, a Fungi Field Book that can be downloaded and used to record data collected on field trips by interested volunteers,” she said.

    “We cannot underestimate the importance of fungi in maintaining healthy bushland ecosystems.

    “I congratulate PUBF for their ongoing work and the creation of an interesting and necessary information base. It is a big step forward in raising community awareness and knowledge about the importance of fungi to our bushlands.”

    The website can be found at http://www.fungiperth.org.au

    Minister's office: 9220 5050