Organism of the day #5
And I said I'd do less fungi

NAME:
Werewere-kokako. The name was given to the mushroom by the Polynesian Maori population of New Zealand.

SCIENTIFIC NAME:
Entoloma hochstetteri

KINGDOM:
Fungi

SIZE AND PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION:
The mushroom’s cap may be up to 4 cm in diameter with a steep, cascading cap shape. The cap’s color is an enchanting blue, like the remainder of the fungus. The thin gills are attached to the cap and usually thin, being a mere 3-5 mm wide, occasionally bearing a yellowish tint on top of the already mystical blue color. The mushrooms stipe is long and thin, being only up to 5 cm long and 0.5 cm thick, but it’s still enough to support the equally small cap. The mushroom has a contrasting pink spore print when a test is conducted. The spores themselves are a mere 9.9-19.2 micrometers by 8.8-13.2 micrometers and in the shape of a club

FUN FACT:
The fungus has appeared on several New Zealand banknotes and stamps

FUN FACT:
Scientists do not know why science has turned this fungus blue, but researchers claim it could be crucial to the food industry as a way to produce natural blue food coloring

RANGE:
Isolated populations of this rather enigmatic mushroom exist strictly within the northern and southern New Zealand islands. Oddly, small populations have been recorded inhabiting the country of India.

CHEMICAL INFORMATION:
Until recently, no information about this mushroom has been reliably found. Recently, a University has signed a deal with European food industries to find the potential economic benefits of the fungus. One such property noted is that the fungus turns green when exposed to oxygen. This is important information because if the fungus was used on food products it could identify if the product has been exposed to oxygen in some fashion. Extensive research also has identified that the fungus features the presence of alkaloids and Omega 3 fatty acids. The presence of alkaloids help to more deeply understand the effects (and possible consequences) of consumption. Alkaloids stimulate or depress the human brain. Examples of alkaloids include Caffeine, cocaine, and LSD. This discovery introduces some confusing information because it suggests the mushroom has hallucinogenic properties. However, its also not uncommon to locate alkaloids in safe plants and fungi

HABITAT:
Habitat information about this fungus has not been heavily studied, but its somewhat common in low altitude conifer forests.

SOURCES:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entoloma_hochstetteri
http://www.terrain.net.nz/friends-of-te-henui-group/fungi-te-henui/blue-mushroom-entoloma-hochstelleri.html
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/9354061/Mushroom-might-yield-major-value
http://www.hiddenforest.co.nz/fungi/family/entolomataceae/entol11.htm
https://bie.ala.org.au/species/NZOR-6-1342

READ FURTHER:
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/9354061/Mushroom-might-yield-major-value
https://www.forestfloornarrative.com/blog/2018/5/18/fungi-friday-the-rarity-of-the-color-blue-in-nature-entoloma-hochstetteri

IMAGE:
A single specimen resting in a dense forest’s loose debris