What You Should Know
Catathelasma ventricosum is distinguished by large, tough sporocarps with a white to pale grey cap. It could be confused with its close relative, Catathelasma imperiale, which is even larger, with a brownish cap. It also can be confused with the western American matsutake, Tricholoma murrillianum, but it lacks the spicy-sweet odor of that species.
It grows under conifers and features a whitish cap that develops grayish fibrils and spots. Its gills run down the stem, and it sports a large, flaring, double ring on its stem. Its odor and taste are mild or slightly unpleasant, but not mealy. It usually occurs on calcareous soils in conifer forests, often in large local populations, forming arcs or rings of fruitbodies.
This species has also been misspelled as Catathelasma ventricosa.
Other names: Swollen-stalked cat, Mock matsutake, Momitake (Japanese).
Catathelasma ventricosum Mushroom Identification
Presumably mycorrhizal; growing alone or scattered on the ground under conifers; fall; northeastern North America.
8-30 (or more) cm; convex becoming irregularly convex or nearly flat; dry; smooth or in maturity with scattered pressed-down fibers; whitish, developing grayish areas; the margin at first rolled under somewhat.
Running down the stem or beginning to do so; close; whitish.
Up to 15 cm long and 5 cm wide; often swollen in the middle; tapering at the base and usually rooting somewhat; sometimes almost completely underground; whitish, discoloring brownish or grayish; with a flaring, double ring.
White; hard; not changing on exposure.
Odor and Taste
Taste not distinctive or slightly unpleasant; odor similar.
Spores 9-13 x 4-6 µ; smooth; elongated-elliptical; amyloid. Basidia under 45 µ long.
Catathelasma ventricosum Medicinal Properties
Antitumor effects. Polysaccharides extracted from the mycelial culture of C. ventricosum and administered intraperitoneally into white mice at a dosage of 300 mg/kg inhibited the growth of both Sarcoma 180 and Ehrlich solid cancers by 80% (Ohtsuka et al., 1973).
Photo 1 - Author: Ron Pastorino (Ronpast) (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
Photo 2 - Author: Vihane (wihane) (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
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