Laetiporus portentosus

This fungus may be found growing in eucalyptus trees. It’s a polypore, and is saprophytic. After rain, it can become so saturated that the added weight causes it to fall to the ground. Once it’s dried out, it resembles a lump of polystyrene foam. In terms of cultural uses, there are references to it being used by Indigenous peoples as a form of tinder, thus acting as a fire starter.

In this artwork I have also included a white throated treecreeper as there have been sightings of this bird eating the fungus (or perhaps the insects and bugs burrowed inside it).

I first came across this species while watching Alison Pouliot’s series ‘The Forgotten Kingdom’. I thought it would be a great one to include, as it’s a bit different to standard fungi species that might first come to mind.

You can watch the video below:

I also thought that its use as a form of tinder by Indigenous peoples was a great example of the versatility and diverse uses of fungi. You can read a bit more about it here:

And some more general resources: