I love it when mushrooms pop up in my garden but now winter’s over there’ll be no more until next year. I like looking through my friend’s copy of The Magical World of Fungi by Patricia Negus , to ID fungi I come across. Although it may be the drawing of a fairy sitting on a mushroom on the last page which makes me love this book. A Flickr friend told me about the Perth Fungi Field Book  which is free to download, so I had my own ID source. I had lots of fun IDing fungi I found and not so much fun realising how difficult it can be to ID fungi.
Fungi species often appear slightly different in different regions. 
In August I found some very unusual mushrooms growing in the pine bark mulch of my native garden. They had pointed caps which were intricately crenellated. I’ve had mushrooms with “ordinary” caps popping up in my lawn or vegie garden, but never something quite so alien-looking. The Perth Fungi Field Book came to the rescue and identified them as edible black morels (Morchella elata). The name confused me at first because the morels in my garden weren’t black until they started dying, but after picking one to give to my brother to eat, it turned black inside the crenellations.
In The Omnivore’s Dilemma Michael Pollan wrote about searching for black morels in a Californian pine forest the spring following a wildfire . I thought my morels fruited in response to the fire a pine plantation receives prior to felling. Spores could have been caught in the bark and transferred to my garden when I put in the mulch. While the spores did arrive with the mulch, Morchella elata grows away from fires,
on non-burned soils, litter, and duff including non-burned islands in burned areas or on burned soils but then apparently no sooner than the second spring after an intense wildfire. 
The morel Michael Pollen searched for could have been Morchella tomentose (formerly Morchella atrotomentosa) which are
burn morels, fruiting the spring following a fire. 
As with many fungi, the taxonomy of the Morchellaceae family has not been worked out yet , so it’s all very confusing :)
My parent’s garden grows some interesting fungi too (above). I tentatively IDed this as an Earthball (Scleroderma sp.). They burst like puffballs to release their spores and what’s left is a folded back star shape. This one never opened, just went squishy and rotted away so I’m not certain of my ID. This opened Earthball (below) is on a bush track in Karnup. Earthballs are in the Sclerodermataceae family as are Dog Poo Fungi (Pisolithus sp.) which are common on winter walks at Star Swamp, and look exactly like dog poo.
My parents also had a massive rippling whitish-cream fungus growing at the base of a dead silky oak (Grevillea robusta). When the tree died most was felled, but 2m of trunk left. At first I thought this amazing fungus was Erupting Russula (Russula erumpens). Erupting was the perfect description for its growth, but the fungus seemed to be growing from the dead tree stump rather than stalks in the ground.
Other ID options were Fan Pax (Tapinella panuoides) or Southern Oyster Mushroom (Pleurotus australis), but I think it’s more likely Hohenbuehelia bingarra. Other Hohenbuehelia sp. have the rippling growth of this fungus. My brother wondered if it was edible, but it wasn’t listed in Recognizing Edible Field Mushrooms , so I didn’t think he should try it.
Whatever it was, it’s second in line, after black morels, for strangest looking fungi I found this winter. It was growing under the metal sheeting that protects the woodpile from rain. I broke the fungus a little when I put the sheeting back, but then piled the firewood up to lift the sheet higher. When my parents and brother subsequently took wood from the pile they weren’t quite so careful and next time I saw it, it was squashed.
I had log seats on my front porch that get rained on and last winter they grew what I first thought were Scarlet Bracket Fungi (Pycnoporus coccineus). But bracket fungi don’t have gills and these ones did. Therefore I was slightly baffled. It could be Eucalypt Crepidotus (Crepidotus eucalyptorum). My friend made these seats and he may have used jarrah or another eucalyptus. They are parts of the trunk sliced into seat size and carved with a checkerboard pattern on top. The Crepidotus grew in the gaps between the squares. Before the rain began this year I realised a wet log seat sitting on a wet wooden porch probably isn’t a good idea if I don’t want a rotten porch. So the log seats moved to the paving out the back. They don’t get rained on as much out there and this winter fewer and smaller Crepidotus grew.
Last winter I also found “trumpet” fungi growing in a pot plant in my garden. My name didn’t stick, they were probably Bird’s Nest Fungi (Cyathus sp.), which had lost their peridioles, the “eggs in the nest,” before I found them. Drops of water fall on the peridioles and they shoot out like cannon balls . This photo of Cyathus sp. taken last winter in Canberra still has its peridioles.
For years there’s been two bracket fungi, which may be Wood-layered Bracket Fungi (Phellinus robustus) growing on a Bald Island Marlock (Eucalyptus conferruminata) in my local park. Earlier this year someone broke off most of the larger one. I was worried that was the end of it, but the wound healed and it seems to be surviving well.
- Negus, Patricia (2006) The Magical World of Fungi. North Fremantle, WA: Cape to Cape.
- Bougher, Neale L. (2009) Fungi of the Perth Region and Beyond: A self-managed field book Perth, WA: Western Australian Naturalists’ Club.
- Pollan, Michael (2006) The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. New York: Penguin.
- Gibson, Ian (2009) Morels & False Morels of the Pacific Northwest: An Introduction South Vancouver Island, BC: Pacific Northwest Key Council.
- Hoffmann, Bougher & Wood (2005) Recognizing Edible Field Mushrooms (Gardennote no.47) Perth, WA: Dept of Agriculture.
- Lepp, Heino (2005) Birds Nest and Cannonball Fungi Canberra, ACT: Australian National Botanic Gardens.