Dr. Adolf Ceska contributed today’s photographs as well as a portion of the write-up. Until his retirement, Adolf worked as a botanist with the British Columbia Conservation Data Centre. He is also responsible for Botanical Electronic News, which he’s published since 1991. He and his partner Oluna are two of British Columbia’s pre-eminent field botanists.
“Squamanita paraxoda, or powdercap strangler, is an extremely rare fungus and this is the first record for Canada. It is a parasitic fungus that grows from another mushroom, the common widespread Cystoderma amianthinum. The “wellingtons” at the base are in fact remnants of the host.”
“Oluna and I found it on November 27, 2009 on Observatory Hill in Victoria, exactly five years after Oluna started her inventory of macrofungi of Observatory Hill. So far, her inventory has yielded about 835 species from the area of about 75 hectares.”
For more on fungi parasitizing other fungi (mycoparasites), see Tom Volk’s entry on Hypomyces lactifluorum, the lobster mushroom (he jokingly refers to the phenomenon as “mycological cannibalism”). If you are keen on learning more about the genus Squamanita, Ian Gibson of the South Vancouver Island Mycological Society has assembled this key to