You never know what treasures you’ll find when out walking so it always pays to have your camera handy. These white basket fungi seemed to pop up all over the place once the autumn rains arrived. They’re common in New Zealand. I remember being fascinated by them in our back yard when I was little.
Ileodictyon cibarium is a species of fungus native to New Zealand, Australia, and Chile and introduced in East Africa and Europe. It grows alone or clustered together all year round near woody debris, in lawns, gardens and cultivated soil in tropical and subtropical areas. (And temperate regions like ours.)
It is commonly known as the basket fungus or the white basket fungus. The fruiting bodies are shaped like a round or oval cage-like structure (5-25 cm across) with interlaced or latticed branches forming 10-30 polygons. The white branches are lumpy, about 1 cm in diameter.
The mature fruiting body is foul-smelling and covered with an olive-brown spore slime on the inner surfaces. Prior to opening, the fruiting body is egg-shaped and white to greyish in colour.
You might be lucky enough to find one in your back yard.
Facts from the T.E.R.R.A.I.N. website, a wonderful source of information on NZ’s natural world.