Pouch fungi and truffle-like fungi

Fungi with fleshy, enclosed fruiting bodies, sometimes on stalks (pouch fungi), sometimes without stalks (truffle-like fungi) and then often buried or partially buried. Although the true truffles are ascomycete fungi, most New Zealand representatives in this group are basidiomycetes, realted to the mushrooms. The gills are compressed and distorted inside the enclosed cap. The Thaxterogaster species form a phylogenetically artificial group, and are now regarded as members of the large genus Cortinarius, but they are treated under their old name in this Guide, as they are such a macroscopically distinctive group. Fungi in this group are biologically diverse. Some are ectomycorrhizal (e.g. the brightly coloured, secotioid Thaxterogaster species, and most of the truffle-like species), while others are saprobic (e.g. Weraroa and Paurocotylis). Apart from some of the mycorrhizal species associated with introduced trees, the fungi in this group are all indigenous. For spores to be dispersed from the enclosed fruiting bodies of these fungi requires them to be broken apart by animals. In other countries small rodents and marsupials did this job. In pre-human New Zealand birds probably dispersed the spores. This may be the reason the New Zealand species of pouch fungi and truffle-like fungi are often brightly coloured, the blues and reds being attractive to birds. In regions with mammals these fungi are typically dull coloured, the animals probably being attracted by smell.


NameImageDescriptionNZFungi Entry


Ectomycorrhizal under beech.
One very common species in New Zealand, usually partly buried, surface with patchy bluish discoloration. Sometimes referred to by the older name of Gautieria in the New Zealand literature.


Although related to the stinkhorns, the fruiting body of this fungus appears to be truffle-like. Initially a reddish brown, globose ball, it splits at maturity to reveal the white, spore-containing ‘egg’. About 5 cm diameter.
This is the only species of the genus Claustula, and is known from only two locations in New Zealand, as well as in Tasmania. In both countries it is listed as th...


A truffle-like fungus characterised by the fruiting body having a gelatinous internal columella, minute anastomosing canals lined by spore-bearing cells and smooth, elliptical spores.
The three New Zealand species are all endemic, and ectomycorrhizal with beech and tea-tree.
Distinguished from Hysterangium because of the tendency for large schizogenous cavities to develop in the ...


Secotioid or truffle-like Russula species. The pinkish-red Macowanites carmineus is quite common, has a well-developed stalk, and gills which remain covered by a thin, membranous veil. The shape, texture, and colours are very reminescent of Russula. M. tapawera and M. rubroluteus differ in lacking a distinct stalk. Microscopically the characteristic spores are ...


Secotioid genus related to the boletes, with a single species, endemic to New Zealand.
The white fruiting bodies with a short stalk are always found under tea-tree, and it is quite common in northern New Zealand. Mycorrhizal.


The fruiting bodies are bright orange-red, almost hollow or with chambers filled with loose, cotony tissue, irregularly-shaped, about 2-4 cm.
A truffle-like ascomycete genus with a single New Zealand species.
Paurocotylis pila is saprobic, common on soil throughout the country, often in disturbed forest sites, along the sides of tracks.


Pouch fungi with a more or less globose head on a usually well-developed stalk (a few species with short stalk or the stalk almost lacking). All with rough-walled, brown spores. More than 15 species, all indigenous, possibly all endemic.
Mycorrhizal with beech and tea-tree.
The Thaxterogaster species form a phylogenetically artificial group, and are now regarded as members of the ...


Secotioid basidiomycetes with well-developed stalks. All with smooth, brown spores with a germ pore. Probably an unnatural, polyphyletic group. At least one New Zealand species, W. erythrocephala, is closely related to Leratiomyces similis, a morphologically similar genus from New Caledonia.
Three species have been reported from New Zealand; all are common and easily distinguis...