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Go to the NZFungi website for more indepth information on Ileodictyon cibarium. Ileodictyon cibarium

Synonyms

Clathrus cibarius
Ileodictyon giganteum
Ileodicyton cibarium var. giganteum

Biostatus

Present in region - Indigenous. Endemic

Images (click to enlarge)

 

Caption: ZT68-437
Owner: E. Horak: © Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand

Caption: ZT0582
Owner: E. Horak: © Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand

Owner: J.A. Cooper

Owner: J.A. Cooper

Caption: spores
Owner: J.A. Cooper

Owner: Ross Beever

Owner: Ross Beever

Caption: Ileodictyon cibarus
Owner: Kaimai Bush

Caption: Ileodictyon cibarus
Owner: Kaimai Bush

Caption: Ileodictyon cibarus
Owner: Kaimai Bush

Caption: Ileodictyon cibarus
Owner: Kaimai Bush

Owner: R.E. Beever

Caption: REB 1396
Owner: Ross Beever

Owner: J.A. Cooper

Owner: J.A. Cooper

Owner: J.A. Cooper
 

Article: Cunningham, G.H. (1931). The Gasteromycetes of Australasia. XI. The Phallales, part II. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 56(3): 182-200.
Description: Peridium obovate or subglobose, dingy-white, to 7 cm. diameter. Receptacle sessile, white, subglobose or commonly obovate, to 15 x 10 cm., composed of numerous obliquely anastomosing arms, which are transversely rugulose, in section elliptical, tubular or more often coarsely cellular, not or scarcely thickened at the interstices (though in some forms attaining a thickness twice that of the arms). Gleba covering the inner surfaces of the arms, olivaceous, mucilaginous, fetid. Spores tinted, elliptical, smooth, 4-6 x 1.8-2.5 µ.
Distribution: Type locality.-Waitakei, Otago, New Zealand.
Distribution. New Zealand; Australia.
Notes: This is the only Clathrus known to occur with certainty from New Zealand, where it is exceedingly common in certain seasons, being found in spring and autumn on the edges of forest clearings, or freshly-turned earth at roadsides or tracks cut through the forest. It occurs sparingly in Australia, but its distribution is not certainly known since the species has been confused by earlier workers with the following one [Clathrus gracilis]. Fischer recorded it from Chile, West Africa (1890, p. 53) and East Africa (1893, p.19). I believe, however, that the species is confined to this biologic region, and that Fischer has confused it with plants later named C. Preussii, C. chrysomycelinus or C. camerunensis.
The receptacle varies greatly in size (5-15 cm.) and in the number and arrangement of the arms. In many plants the arms are numerous, and form a close mesh, in which the polygonal interspaces are small; in others the arms may be few and the meshes large and angular. The arms may anastomose in such a regular manner that in plants detached from the volva it is not possible to determine the apex from the base; or in others the arms towards the base may he arranged in columnar fashion, or in rare cases produced to form a small basal tube-like stem. The surfaces of the arms may be smooth, finely transversely wrinkled, or exteriorly longitudinally grooved. In section they may be tubular or coarsely cellular, both conditions being not infrequent in the same plant.
The receptacle is not attached to the volva in any way, consequently it may be readily detached and carried by wind for some distance from its place of origin. The appearance of these latticed structures without visible means of attachment to the substratum was a potent source of mystification to the Maori. Forced to find some explanation of their (to him) mysterious appearance, and guided no doubt by their characteristic odour he came to the conclusion (according to Mr. Eladon Best) that they were tutae kehua or tutae whetu ("Faeces of ghosts or of the stars"). The specific name (cibarius = edible) was applied to the species under the impression that the unexpanded plant was used as an article of food by the Maori. But this is improbable as it is scarcely likely he would meddle with a plant obviously (to him) of supernatural origin. This view is supported by Mr. Best, who has advised me that the plant was not included among those fungi considered edible by the Maori.

Article: Cooke, M.C. (1879). New Zealand fungi. Grevillea 8(46): 54-68.