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A Durian Doppelgänger at Sungai Congkak

A day of mycological exploration reveals a fungus resembling Malaysia’s king of fruits.

The other day, I went to Sungai Congkak Recreational Forest, a dipterocarp rainforest part of the great Titiwangsa mountain range just a stone’s throw east of Kuala Lumpur. Here, I stumbled upon a bucket list find: a mushroom resembling the famed Durian fruit in Malaysia.

Chamonixia sp. or Durianella echinulata

Depending on spores, this peculiar organism could either be a Chamonixia sp. or the delightfully dubbed Durianella echinulata (of which the Genus contains the single species, described in 2008).

The fungus was originally collected in a jungle in Kemaman, Terengganu (Malaysia), on 24 June 1932, where it grew on soil buried in leaves at a river's edge.

I found this one growing on Shorea trees (ectomycorrhizal) near the river bank.

Specimen undergoing a mesmerizing transformation, possibly orchestrated by Hypomyces sp. (aka “Bolete eater”), altering both its color and form

The blue-staining phenomenon hints at a connection to the Boletales order, yet its fruit body structure leans towards an affinity with Pisolithus and reminds me of the spiky-ness of Pisolithus aurantioscabrosus that I found in Penang last year.

Pisolithus aurantioscabrosus from Penang NP that reminds me of a bommy-knocker.

Below: you can see a more solid black interior with dark blue coloring with the fresh one.

Bisected fresh one shows black interior

The day's find, not only marked a check on my bucket list but also a deepened appreciation for the intricate, often surprising, tapestry of nature where the lines between species blur, creating delightful echoes across the diverse biological spectrum.

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Joseph Pallante