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Hello everyone,


Today I went on a fun hike and discovered some white
mushrooms that gave me some trouble identifying at first due to its choice in
substrate. I’m pretty sure that I have it identified correctly, but as it is
the first specimen I have decided to eat, I wanted to double check with more
experienced mushroom hunters. I will provide my detailed field notes and some
pictures that I managed to take while on my hike. I will not describe what I
THINK this mushroom is in hopes to get a fresh perspective on the matter :) Thanks for your help.


Cap: 2.5-7cm across on average. True white caps with smudges
of brown occasionally. Mature caps are depressed with extremely wavy margins,
some I would even classify as infundibuliform (trumpet shaped) in nature. Some
caps are even lobed, the stipe separating two halves of a single cap. When wet,
the cap is a bit slimy (lubricous); it lacks any hairs or scales. Margin is
slightly incurved in places (more prominent in older specimens). This species
does not bruise AT ALL. Flesh is thick, firm, and meaty. It has an absolutely
LOVELY smell. It smells very sweet with earthy undertones. I would go as far as
to say it smells something like licorice (but that is just my speculation). Taste
is mild and sweet.


Gills: Gills are slightly decurrent, traveling a couple of
millimeters down the stipe. Very close in young specimens and sub-distant in
older fruiting bodies. Gills are true white but some dry to have a pale
straw-colored tint. A single false gill
is between each of the true gills. Gills do not bruise at all. Spore print
turned out pure white (though some seemed to be JUST SLIGHTLY pinkish in hue).


Stipe (stem): 0.5 – 2 cm thick, approximately 0.5 – 2 cm in
length. Oval in shape and solid with a fibrous pith. No veil, no volva. Stems actually
seem to get smaller toward the base. Stem is concolorous with the rest of the
mushroom. No hairs, scales, or annuli. Stipe can be central to the cap, but
most often is seen offset to one side of the mushroom as they are found in
small clusters. Doesn’t bruise. It isn’t brittle or very fibrous; it’s meaty
like the cap.


Season: I just collected these, so they should be hardy
enough to handle mid-winter in the central valley of California fairly well.
Last week we had a massive storm front. It had been dry for a few days, but
last night it rained pretty hard and cleared up by morning. Temperature high for
today 61 (hotter than it has been in a while
- average high last week was mid 50’s) and the low is 46 degrees Fahrenheit.
Lots of sun today.


Habitat: Found on the other side of the fence from a cow
farm. I found straw in the substrate, so I would classify it as a well-manuered
straw compost. Mushrooms were growing on a well-drained bank, amongst California
nettle, in small crowded clusters.





Pictures:
amoyog.jpg

jv0rro.jpg

6ep5xl.jpg

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I think these represent a species of Clitocybe. Some white Clitocybes are dangerously poisonous. One such example is C. dealbata. Spore print white.

I'm certainly not well-versed in the mushrooms of California. Lots of types occur along the west coast do not occur east of the Rockies. But I think the possibility of Clitocybe should be considered here.

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I think these represent a species of Clitocybe. Some white Clitocybes are dangerously poisonous. One such example is C. dealbata. Spore print white.

I'm certainly not well-versed in the mushrooms of California. Lots of types occur along the west coast do not occur east of the Rockies. But I think the possibility of Clitocybe should be considered here.

Dave,

Thanks for your insight! This is something I hadn't considered. What makes you think the Clitocybe family? Are there any distinguishing features that point to that group?

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Upon further research, I think it is safe to say that these are Clitocybe Dealbata. Definitely not a choice edible, unless I want to sweat out and die :) I had thought it might be a variation of the oyster mushroom, but after being prompted to look in the Clitocybe family (and cross referencing that with oyster look-alikes), I ran across its poisonous look-alike. Nice save, Dave!

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