Tiny glowing mushroom discovered by local photographer
IT’S NOT every day you get a Chinese magic mushroom named after you.
But internationally-acclaimed Booyong fungi photographer, Steve Axford, had just that honour last week.
Mr Axford’s fungi photography has featured in nature magazines around the world and many documentaries such as Planet Earth 2 with David Attenborough.
He has been globetrotting around the world photographing different species of mushrooms, since developing a passion for them about 15 years ago.
The newly discovered psilocybin mushroom named after Mr Axford is called Panaeolus axfordii.
The naming was given to him by the Kunming Institute of Botany in China in recognition of the work he had done with them over the last four years.
“It was out of the blue so it was surprising, but it was good,” Mr Axford said.
“Living in the Northern Rivers and having a magic mushroom named after you is the ultimate isn’t it?
“We went over there for a month each time photographing fungi in various parts of the area.
“It was nice to be recognised for the work.”
According to Mr Axford, the Panaeolus axfordii grows in abundance on the lawns of the Kunming Institute of Botany.
“I don’t know whether the students there are into magic mushrooms but they have marvellous gardens with abundance of mushrooms growing,” he said.
“There is talk of another fungus being named after me that I found here in Australia that also grows in New Caledonia … that’s in the works.”
This year has been an exciting one for Mr Axford, who also revealed he had discovered a new species of bio luminescent or glowing fungus in Maghalaya in India.
“We always ask locals if there are any luminous mushrooms around when we travel anywhere, and they took us down to a stream and showed us the mushrooms,” he said.
“They are tiny little things – they are about a centimetre high and the caps are just a few millimetres across.
He said the locals already knew about it and called it electric fungi.
“We first saw them in 2018 and we were back again last year and we went back with some mycologists this year... they got samples and they were actually a new species of fungus,” he said.
“After that discovery, my partner Catherine Marciniak and I now are co-authors on a scientific paper on luminous fungi, but it hasn’t been published yet.”