Gomphidius Glutinosus

Gomphidius Glutinosus
by Austin Birds

Paxillus involutus is one of the most abundant mushrooms. Its cap is viscid in the centre and woolly at the edges and in colour is almost identical to its short stipe. The yellowish flesh has a slightly bitter taste and smell. If it is bruised the whole fruit-body turns a rust colour and later brown.

The distinguishing feature is gills instead of tubes on the underside of the cap which are quite shallow and flexible and joined to the stipe. They are at first whitish, but later grey or black. The young fruit-bodies arc covered with a transparent gelatinous veil, which remains visible on the adult fruit-bodies in the form of a risen ring on the stipe immediately below the gills. When dry the fruit-bodies arc shiny.

It is recommended therefore that Paxillus involutus should not be collected. Paxillus atrotomentosus is often seen on the stumps and dead roots of coniferous trees. It is not poisonous, but is a poor quality. The taste and smell of its flesh is bitter and acidic.

There are not many other mushrooms as common as the Honey fungus. In September its clusters usually cover the stumps, roots and bases of live or dying deciduous or coniferous trees. Less frequently it occurs as early as June. It is a dangerous parasite which damages fruit trees as well as many woodland species. When tree trunks are attacked, they become covered with white sheets of mycelia or with multi-branched ribbons of this fungus, which are brown or black on the surface and white inside and which penetrate the bark and base of the tree.

The Honey fungus is a popular, edible species in some regions and is found in large quantities. Its young fruit-bodies are collected whole, but in older specimens only the caps can be used. It is one of the best mushrooms for pickling in vinegar and can also be added to soups and sauces or fried. However, raw or inadequately cooked fruit-bodies can cause indigestion.

Some Fairy Clubs have the shape of a simple club. One such species, which is particularly prolific, is Clavariadelphus ligula. Sometimes it grows in large quantities amongst rotting needles in spruce forests. It is inedible and tastes bitter.

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