Lacrymaria lacrymabunda: The Ultimate Mushroom Guide
About The Lacrymaria lacrymabunda Mushroom
Lacrymaria lacrymabunda is an edible mushroom with a bitter taste making it rather inedible.
Commonly referred to as the Weeping Widow, because of the black, watery droplets that appear at the cap rim and on the edges of the gills when they are moist. This large grassland fungus is an occasional species in parkland, open woodland, lawns, fields and roadside verges.
The Weeping Widow is reported to be an edible mushroom; however, unless they are cooked and eaten soon after they have been gathered any meal made from these fungi is likely to end up a black soggy mess.
Formerly known as Lacrymaria velutina and Psathyrella velutina. Also, at one time or another, it was placed in Agaricus, Coprinus and Hypholoma.
Other names: Weeping Widow.
Lacrymaria lacrymabunda Identification
Saprobic; growing alone, gregariously, or in clusters on lawns, in pastures, along roads, and in gravelly soil, usually near recently dead hardwood trees; sometimes appearing in woods; summer through fall; widely distributed in North America.
3–8 cm; convex when young, becoming broadly convex, broadly bell-shaped, or nearly flat; dry; finely appressed-fibrillose when fresh and young, but sometimes becoming more or less bald in age; grayish brown to medium yellowish-brown, fading to dull tan; the young margin sometimes hung with whitish partial veil remnants, at least when young.
Narrowly attached to the stem; close or crowded; short-gills frequent; pale at first, becoming pale grayish brown and eventually dark brown; mottled at maturity; with whitish edges.
4–10 cm long; 4–10 mm thick; equal; fibrillose or nearly bald; with a fragile ring or a ring zone that is darkened by spores; white above, pale brownish below; hollow; basal mycelium white.
Whitish to watery brownish; unchanging when sliced.
Very dark brown to black.
Lacrymaria lacrymabunda Taxonomy & Etymology
French mycologist Jean Baptiste Francois (Pierre) Bulliard described this species in 1785, giving it the binomial name Agaricus lacrymabundus. It was another Frenchman, Narcisse Theophile Patouillard, who in 1887 transferred the Weeping Widow to its present genus, establishing its currently-accepted scientific name as Lacrymaria lacrymabunda.
Synonyms of Lacrymaria lacrymabunda include Agaricus lacrymabundus Bull., Agaricus velutinus Pers., Agaricus lacrymabundus ß velutinus (Pers.) Fr., Coprinus velutinus (Pers.) Gray, Agaricus areolatus Klotzsch, Hypholoma velutinum (Pers.) P. Kumm., Psathyra lacrymabunda (Bull.) P. Kumm., Hypholoma lacrymabundum (Bull.) Sacc., Psilocybe areolata (Klotzsch) Sacc., Lacrymaria velutina (Pers.) Konrad & Maubl., Psathyrella velutina (Pers.) Singer, and Psathyrella lacrymabunda (Bull.) M.M. Moser ex A.H. Sm. From this it is clear that the Weeping Widow has caused much weeping and gnashing of teeth as mycologists down the ages have struggled to fit this oddball mushroom rationally into their nice tidy taxonomic hierarchies. Taxonomy is a human construct; Nature has the capacity and audacity to straddle any boundaries we care to erect.
The generic name Lacrymaria means producing tears (crying), as fungi in this group do. The specific epithet lacrymabunda underlines that trend by indicating that the Weeping Widow produces an abundance of tears.
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