Wednesday, May 19, 2010


For the last 28 years since I became fascinated with wild mushrooms which has resulted in a passion and pretty much obsession, I have been enamored with mushrooms that are blue. They are quite rare in nature but there are some true beauties to be found in the woods.

Here in New Zealand there is one little mushroom that has won the hearts of many and is even depicted on the fifty dollar bill. That little mushroom is the blue entoloma aka Entoloma hochstetteri. I have been wanting to find this little mushroom to photograph for years but my trips to New Zealand usually take me there at the wrong time to find this mushroom that isn't available until the Autumn rains arrive each year.

This year I am in New Zealand in May which is the heart of the rainy season when the fungi are flourishing, especially on the South Island. I was on a quest to find the blue entoloma so when I left Queenstown and headed up the coast to Franz Josef Glacier, I decided to start searching the forests for my quarry. My first stop was a short hiking trail just past the Haast Visitors Center heading north. I hauled all my camera equipment into the woods with me through the swampy area and boardwalk. I stopped a few times to photograph the general view of the area and then just after stopping to take a photo I was just taking in the view and turned my head just to the right where right there in front of me was a blue entoloma, just the most gorgeous, vibrant, electric blue imaginable and protruding from a brilliant green mossy background on a tree just next to the boardwalk. I gasped with joy and excitement and started clicking off photos like a wild woman.

After overnighting at Holly Homestead in Franz Josef, I headed north the next morning to Greymouth, met up with some friends and then off to search for more blue mushrooms. We went to a hiking track near Lake Brunner and climbed to the top of a plateau and immediately started seeing blue here and there and everywhere. There were lots of other beautifully colored mushrooms I will post separately.

I have fallen in love with the blue entoloma and will continue to dream about it for some time to come.

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