Small, delicate fungi with bonnet caps, the shape of a bell or an upturned bucket. Mycenas come in a wide variety of colours, most are white, brown, cream or yellow, but they also come in bright red, olive, bright blue and sea green. The caps are generally quite small, from as little as 2 mms wide to a big as a two dollar coin. The stems are usually quite long, very fine, central and can grow directly out of wood or be attached to wood, leaves and twigs by hairs at the base of the stem. Some yield a watery, white or red liquid when the stem is broken. The gills are generally quite deep and often arched. Spore print white.
At least 30 species of Mycena have been recognized in New Zealand. Two of these may be exotic, and of the 28 native species described so far, 19 are endemic. There are probably another 25-50 species which have yet to be described.
Mycena species are all saprobes, breaking down wood, twigs, leaves and other vegetation, key players in the process of returning nutrients to the soil.
Mycena species are amongst the most common of the small mushrooms throughout the country. The native species occur in all kinds of habitats, growing on the massive trunks of fallen kauri and other podocarps, to the tiny dead leaves of manuka and kanuka. There are occasional reports of a bioluminescent species, the tiny mushrooms emitting a greenish glow at night.
Another group of small mushrooms common on fallen wood, leaves and twigs in New Zealand are the Marasmius species. Their fruiting bodies are about the same size as Mycena, but their flesh is tough (stems are pliable, compared to Mycena where they snap easily) and the cap is usually flatter in shape.


NZFungi Entry

Mycena interrupta

A small fungus with a brilliant blue or blue green cap which fades to a central blue or blue green disc. The stem is white with a tinge of the cap colour, above a hairy blue green disc at the base. The gills are white with blueish green edges. The fungus

Mycena ura

Mycena viscidocruenta

The cap is almost transluscent, dark red, shiny and sticky when fresh. The stem is also covered in a sticky transluscent layer above a disc of hairs that attach it to its substrate. It does not bleed when broken. The gills are pinkish-red with a darker ma

Mycena austrororida

The cap is transluscent white with dots on the surface. The stem is central, transluscent and covered in a thick, slimy, translucent coat. The gills are white and are arched down the stem. Its favoured habitat is on fallen dead twigs and small branches of