Mushrooms and more

Walking track

On my morning exercise routine through the walking track to Skeleton Point I have regularly seen large wild mushrooms and wondered if they belong to the edible species. So I finally decided to pick one and despatch it home to conduct empirical research as to whether it is safe to eat.

If you live in Italy you can take your wild picked mushrooms to the local pharmacist for identification but I doubt whether Australian pharmacists are ever given such training or if they have the knowledge are ever asked to reveal it.

My big fat mushroom, was not a perfect specimen, it had a dent in the topside, as it was growing tightly pressed against the trunk of a tree.

Larger than a saucer

Larger than a teacup

I kept it in a brown paper bag for a couple of days in the bottom of the fridge as I was a bit tentative about whether I had identified it correctly.  What if it were poisonous, I would be sacrificing my life for a blog!

I browsed several websites, and after constant inspection of the said specimen and lots of sniffing – it smelled like a field mushroom…. warily sliced and cooked it in olive oil. I served it to myself on a piece of toasted local wood-fired olive studded sourdough. I am pleased to be still here to tell the tale.

When on this track you have to be wide awake and ever vigilant as animals dart back and forth and birds flit past your head. But one morning the roots of the trees that jut out above the ground on the track turned out to be what they resemble, a snake. This one was a thick glossy black snake with large deep etched scales. My close encounter was my own personal introduction to what is one of Tasmania’s most deadliest snakes and after some research I found that it is the same snake species that is found on the mainland. No one mentioned to me that it is ‘snake time’ in this part of the world and after conducting my enquiries I can see why the locals are now putting their dogs on leads.

So here it is, the Tiger Snake  (Notechis scutatus) The photo I have taken from Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service website.

Tiger Snake

Fortunately for me, it is a timid species and this is why it retreated into the bush. My tiger snake did not have any striping at all which is quite common.  The darker colouring is an adaption they have made to the colder climate of Tasmania. It is venomous and along with a basket for the mushrooms I may have to pack a tornaquet, just in case. Roz

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