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Photo by Angela Prain

Ghost Droppings

Angela Prain, Lizzy Glynn —

During Horticulture class on Tuesday, August 21, students found basket fungus. The Māori name is tuutae keehua (ghost droppings).

At this time of year ( Hotoke - Koanga when Winter turns to Spring) a fungus which only grows in Aotearoa and Ahitereiria ( Aussie ) can be seen in gardens and the bush. Some Maori names for the basket fungus (Ileodictyon cibarium) feature the word tutae, means POO, droppings, excrement etc!

Tutae kehua – ghost dung, tutae whetu – star poo, and tutae whatitiri – lightning droppings.

When it first springs up, it looks like a round, pale brown, flattened puffball...Ka taea te kai - you can eat it, but it doesn't taste very good. Ehara i te tino reka! But, eating the basket, especially the brown slime ( spores) on the inside, would make you sick. Kaua e kai te tutae-kēhua!!!