Clitocybe geotropa: The Ultimate Mushroom Guide
About The Clitocybe geotropa Mushroom
Infundibulicybe geotropa is a funnel-shaped toadstool widely found in Europe and North America. A large sturdy cream- or buff-colored funnel-shaped mushroom, it grows in mixed woodlands, often in troops or fairy rings, one of which is over half a mile wide. Although edible, it could be confused with some poisonous species of similar coloration and size.
Only young mushrooms are recommended eating, as older ones lose their pleasant taste, and the flesh becomes leathery inconsistency. Best fried when young and used in soups and stews when more mature.
Other names: Trooping Funnel, Monk's Head.
Clitocybe geotropa Identification
The creamy-buff caps can grow up to 20cm in diameter, with 10 to 15cm more typical. Smooth, matt and convex at first but later flat or shallowly funnel-shaped, the cap retains a fairly broad central umbo.
The thick cap flesh is white and very firm, and when young this is a good edible mushroom (but the tough, fibrous stem should be discarded).
The broad, crowded gill is deeply decurrent and concolorous with the cap.
In young specimens, the stem is slightly paler than the cap, but as the fruit body matures it becomes much the same yellowish-buff color all over. The fibrous stem is smooth, without a ring, thickening towards the base.
Subglobose, smooth, 7.5-9.5 x 6-7μm.
Odor and Taste
The faint smell of bitter almonds; taste not distinctive.
Habitat & Ecological Role
In trooping groups or rings in deciduous woodland, especially clearings; also under broadleaf trees in parkland and sometimes on roadside verges beside hedges or forests.
Clitocybe geotropa Look-Alikes
Smaller and usually has a wavy cap edge; its flesh is much softer and the stem is often hollow.
Has a shorter stem and sinuous gills that do not run down the stem; its spore print is pink rather than white. This is a poisonous mushroom.
Similar but has notched gills and a mealy smell.
Similar but with a pale brown cap and musty smell. If you stick to large specimens, over a foot tall, it would be difficult to confuse this mushroom with any other.
Similar-colored and also edible, but the latter species has pink spores. However, there are several similar white or pale mushrooms that are poisonous.
Clitocybe geotropa Taxonomy & Etymology
When the pioneering French mycologist Jean Baptiste Francois Pierre Bulliard described this species in 1792, he gave it the name Agaricus geotropus. In 1872 another French mycologist Lucien Quélet transferred this distinctive mushroom to the genus Clitocybe, renaming it Clitocybe geotropa.
Synonyms of Clitocybe geotropa include Agaricus geotropus Bull., and Agaricus pileolarius Sowerby. Some authorities now accept this species as a member (and indeed the type species) of a new genus proposed in 2003 by Finish mycologist Harri Harmaja, and they record it as Infundibulicybe geotropa.
The generic name Clitocybe (usually pronounced 'klite-oss-a-bee') means 'sloping head', while the specific epithet geotropa is derived from two ancient Greek words meaning 'earth', and 'turn, direction or way'; geotropa is therefiore a reference to the fact that the cap margin is turned downwards - towards the earth - although in aged specimens the margin tends to flatten out.
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