Fungus like no other this 'old cockie' has ever seen

For 50 years Darcey Browning has, in his own words, been “prowling around the bush” but he’s never seen anything like it.

He’s shown photos of the humongous fungus to friends around Bellingen and he’s still none the wiser.

“I’m not a fungi fanatic or anything but I do notice things. I’m reasonably perceptive for a dumb old cockie.” - Darcey Browning

He discovered the beast when he was out slashing a neighbour’s property at Thora and estimated it to be one metre long, 80cm wide and 60cm high. 

“It was growing from the one base – the whole thing moved as one when you touched it.”

Its brilliant white colour first attracted his attention.

“It was such a magnificent thing to look at, all crystal white like a castle.”

Darcey Browning 'feeding' a bull.  He has lived in the Bellingen district for 74 years and hasn't seen anything like the huge fungus that popped up recently.

Darcey Browning 'feeding' a bull. He has lived in the Bellingen district for 74 years and hasn't seen anything like the huge fungus that popped up recently.

Darcey, who describes himself as “half way between a red neck and a greenie” first saw the fungus about a month ago and now it’s starting to go brown and rot.

“The smell – I couldn’t describe it, it’s really horrible.  I wouldn’t be going down there and cutting off a section and putting it in the pan for breakfast that’s for sure.”

So far he has shown photos of it to about 30 people.

“And nobody has seen anything like it.  Surely it’s not a one-off?” he wonders.

Friends and neighbours have come to see the spectacle for themselves and one who has taken a particular interest is Greg Stonehouse.

“It’s been a month of quite strange fungi,” he said.

So Greg started asking around and he thinks it could be a Macrocybe crassa –  a wild, edible mushroom.  It has a large fruiting body with a meaty texture and a pleasant taste.

They are known to occur in Thailand and other Asian countries and can weigh up to 80kg.

If you have ever photographed anything like it, or think you know what species it is, email janine.watson@fairfaxmedia.com.au

Ever inquisitive Darcey would certainly like to know more.

“I’m not a fungi fanatic or anything but I do notice things.  I’m reasonably perceptive for a dumb old cockie.”

More fungi fun from across the Mid North Coast:

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