Category Archives: Publications

Lepiota brunneoincarnata – another exotic toxic mushroom in South Australia

Lepiota brunneoincarnata. Collection of the mushroom involved in a dog poisoning case. Scale divisions: 1 mm. Photo: P.S. Catcheside.

For some time, Lepiota brunneoincarnata is known to occur in South Australia and a similar species, Lepiota cristataoccurs in parts of New Zealand. The State Herbarium of South Australia has now published a new fact-sheet on this poisonous fungus (500kb PDF).

At the State Herbarium of South Australia, we have collections of Lepiota from at least 6 poisoning cases, some human and some dogs, over the last 5-8 years. While microscopy was done at the time of each case, the condition of samples when we receive them can be problematic. In the last few months we have extracted DNA and confirmed the identity of 3 of the past cases as L. brunneoincarnata, based on analyses of internal transcribed spacer (ITS) DNA region data. The next step is to complete tests for amatoxin concentration, to determine how much is a deadly dose.

Lepiota brunneoincarnata. Fungus involved in a human poisoning case, showing the typical white gills, purplish-brown fibrils on the cap, and the skirt on the stem with a purplish-brown rim and purplish-brown fibrils in patches below the skirt. Photo: T. Lebel.

Amatoxin poisoning upon ingestion of species of Lepiota may have a deadly outcome, but is not seen as often as it is from the genus Amanita. Amatoxins inhibit nuclear RNA polymerase II, and this inhibition results in impaired protein synthesis and cell death. Because the liver is an organ in which protein synthesis and cell turnover are high, it suffers the most distinct damage in amatoxin poisoning. The damage appears to be directly proportional to the dose of toxin ingested (i.e. more eaten, more damage). Amatoxins are contained in some Amanita, Galerina and Lepiota species. In Australia and New Zealand, Amanita phalloides (death cap) is known to have a high concentration of amatoxins, and to have been the cause of over 10 deaths in the last 15 years (a far lower rate than occurs in many overseas countries). Some Lepiota species (L. brunneoincarnata, L. brunneolilacina, L. helveola, L, josserandii, L. spiculata, L. venenata) are also known to be very toxic.

These exotic fungi are found in urban areas, mulched gardens or lawns. Don’t make the mistake that just because you have put mushroom compost in your garden beds, that edible Agaricus field mushrooms are the only ones that will grow!

State Herbarium fact-sheets are also available on the poisonous fungi Amanita phalloides (death cap) (700kb PDF) and Agaricus xanthodermus (yellow stainer) (650kb PDF).

Some fungi that have been confused with Lepiota brunneoincarnata in the past: Chlorophyllum brunneum (left), Leucoagaricus leucothites (middle) and Agaricus sp. (right). Photos: T. Lebel & K. Syme.

Written by State Herbarium mycologist Teresa Lebel
and Hon. Research Associate Pam Catcheside.

New journal articles: May 2022

Today, 20 May 2022, the State Herbarium of South Australia published four research papers in Vol. 36 of its journal Swainsona online.

Seed pods (fruits) of the new species Swainsona picta (W.A.). Photo: J. Hruban & M. Hrubanová.

(1) R.W. Davis & T.A. Hammer, Swainsona picta (Fabaceae), a new species from the Yalgoo bioregion, Western Australia (0.7 mb PDF).

The authors describe a new species of Swainsona with a particularly striking fruit. It only occurs near and on the Karara mining tenancy in the Yalgoo bioregion of Western Australia and is most closely related to S. oroboides.

(2) J. Kellermann, C. Clowes & S.J.A. Bell, A review of the Spyridium eriocephalum complex (Rhamnaceae: Pomaderreae) (7.5 mb PDF).

This and the next two papers present some of the taxonomic consequences of the recently published first comprehensive phylogeny of the genus Spyridium by Melbourne University PhD student Cat Clowes and collaborators (Clowes et al., Australian Systematic Botany 35: 95-119, 2022).

The authors revise the well-known widespread Spyridium eriocephalum and related species. The Kangaroo Island endemic var. glabrisepalum is raised to specific rank, and two new species are published: Spyridium latifolium from the Fleurieu Peninsula (S.A.) and S. undulifolium from the Goulburn River area (N.S.W.). Another taxon from New South Wales is given a phrase name, as it is only known by 3 specimens and has not been collected for 40 years: Spyridium sp. Dingo Creek (T. Tame 1011).

Spyridium eriocephalum, growing near the type location in Hobart (Tas.). Photo: M. Wapstra.

(3) J. Kellermann, C. Clowes & W.R. Barker, Spyridium bracteatum, a new species from Kangaroo Island allied to S. thymifolium (Rhamnaceae: Pomaderreae) (2.9 mb PDF).

The authors publish a new species from Kangaroo Island, known for over 30 years, but as yet unnamed. It has in the past been confused with S. thymifolium (which is also described and illustrated in the paper) and other species.

Inflorescence of Spyridium thymifolium from Fleurieu Peninsula (S.A.). Photo: J. Kellermann.

(4) J. Kellermann & C. Clowes, Spyridium longicor, a new species from Western Australia (Rhamnaceae: Pomaderreae) (2.7 mb PDF).

A new Western Australian species is described that was so far, known under the phrase name Spyridium sp. Jerdacuttup. It occurs from near Gairdner and Jerramungup townships, in Fitzgerald River National Park and eastwards to Bandalup Hill, Cheadanup Nature Reserve, Wittenoom Hills and with easternmost populations near Condingup.

To access content of all volumes of Swainsona and the Journal of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens since Vol. 1 (1976), please visit the journal’s web-site at or the Swainsona back-up site.

New journal articles: Mar. 2022

The State Herbarium of South Australia published the first three articles in this year’s volume (Vol. 36) of its journal Swainsona online, today, 25 Mar. 2022. All papers deal with fungi and lichens.

Neophyllis melacarpa from Tasmania. Photo: J. Jarman.

(1) G. Kantvilas, The trouble with Neophyllis pachyphylla (lichenised Ascomycetes). (4.2mb PDF).

The author resolves the confusion about the two species of the lichen genus Neophyllis, which consists of one widespread species N. melacarpa, mainly occuring on wood (N.S.W., Victoria, Tasmania and New Zealand), and the rarely seen N. pachyphylla, which grows directly on rock and rocky soils (N.S.W., Victoria, Tasmania).

Lactarius deliciosus. Photos: J. Cooper et al.

(2) J.A. Cooper, J. Nuytink & T. Lebel, Confirming the presence of some introduced Russulaceae species in Australia and New Zealand. (8.6mb PDF)

This study gives an overview of introduced fungi of the genera Russula and Lactarius in Australia andf New Zealand. These often occur in the soil near introduced tree species, but some are now also associated with native trees. Seven Lactarius and six Russula species are described and illustrated in detail. Molecular data confirmed the identifications of the taxa.

(3) T. Lebel, N. Davoodian, M.C. Bloomfield, K. Syme, T.W. May, K. Hosaka & M.A. Castellano, A mixed bag of sequestrate fungi from five different families: Boletaceae, Russulaceae, Psathyrellaceae, Strophariaceae, and Hysterangiaceae. (14mb PDF).

Truffles and truffle-like (sequestrate) fungi occur in many different groups of fungi. In this international collaboration, the authors describe two new genera (Amylotrama and Statesia), seven new species, and make four new combinations for truffles from five different families, occurring in Australia, New Caledonia and Europe

Coprinopsis pulchricaerulea, a new species of truffle-like fungus from New South Wales and New Caledonia. Photos: S. Axford.

To access content of all volumes of Swainsona and the Journal of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens since Vol. 1 (1976), please visit the journal’s web-site at or the Swainsona back-up site.

New journal articles: Nov. 2021

Eucalyptus dissimulata subsp. plauta, a new taxon from WA, described by Nicolle & French. Photo: D. Nicolle.

The State Herbarium of South Australia published two articles in Vol. 35 of its journal Swainsona online, today, 18 Nov. 2021.

(1) D. Nicolle & M.E. French. A taxonomic revision of the semi-cryptic narrow-leaved mallees (Eucalyptus series Porantherae, Myrtaceae) from southern Australia. (61mb PDF).

In this large 80-page-monograph, based on extensive observations in the field and herbarium over the last 30 years, the authors revise the semi-cryptic ‘narrow-leaved mallees’, Eucalyptus ser. Porantherae, from southern Australia. They recognise a total of 23 species and 6 subspecies, many of which are described in this paper for the first time. For all taxa in the series, updated descriptions and distributions are provided (including distribution maps), as well as an identification key to the series.

(2) M. Wapstra. Hibbertia mathinnicola (Dilleniaceae), a new endemic species from northeastern Tasmania. (1.6mb PDF).

The new species Hibbertia mathinnicola. Photo. M. Wapstra.

The author describes and illustrates a new endemic species of Hibbertia that is highly localised to northeastern Tasmania. Plants of this species have previously been identified as Hibbertia calycina (DC.) N.A.Wakef., but this species now considered to be restricted to mainland Australia.

To access content of all volumes of Swainsona and the Journal of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens since Vol. 1 (1976), please visit the journal’s web-site at or the Swainsona back-up site.

New journal article: October 2021

The State Herbarium of South Australia published one lichenological paper in Vol. 35 of its journal Swainsona online, today, 29 Oct. 2021.

G. Kantvilas & A.M. Fryday, Validation of Henry Imshaug’s “Ochrolechia alectoronica” (lichenised Ascomycetes, Pertusariales), with notes on O. weymouthii Jatta and a key to the genus Ochrolechia in Tasmania. (2mb PDF).

The authors discuss two species of Ochrolechia and provide a key to all Tasmanian species. One new species is described, Ochrolechia alectoronica, using a manuscript name by Imshaug, that he used on many specimens from two islands in New Zealand’s Southern Ocean: the Auckland and Campbell islands. The species is also found in Tasmania, as is the closely related O. weymouthii, which occurs in Tasmania and Victoria.

More information about Henry Imshaug’s collections, the main set of which is held at the Michigan State University Herbarium (MSU), can be found in an article by Fryday & Prather (130kb PDF).

Ochrolechia alectoronica, a new lichen species from Tasmania and New Zealand’s Campbell & Auckland islands. Photo: J. Jarman.

To access content of all volumes of Swainsona and the Journal of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens since Vol. 1 (1976), please visit the journal’s web-site at or the Swainsona back-up site.