Laccaria Laccata: The Ultimate Mushroom Guide
About The Laccaria Laccata Mushroom
This mushroom is commonly known as the deceiver, or waxy laccaria, is a white-spored species of small edible mushrooms found throughout North America and Europe. It is a highly variable mushroom (hence “deceiver”), and can look quite washed out, colorless and drab, but when younger it often assumes red, pinkish brown, and orange tones. The species is often considered by mushroom collectors to be a “mushroom weed” because of its abundance and plain stature.
Laccaria Laccata grows close to pines and deciduous woodland trees but can grow in abundance in pine forests.
Similar species Laccaria bicolor has contrasting, pale bluegills. Laccaria proxima is larger with more fibrillose stem. Laccaria ochropurpurea is much larger and has purple gills.
Laccaria Laccata Identification
Mycorrhizal with hardwoods or conifers; growing alone or gregariously (sometimes in loose clusters); common; spring, summer, and fall; widely distributed in North America.
Usually 1-4.5 cm across, but sometimes larger or smaller; convex, becoming flat and sometimes uplifted; often with a central depression; the margin smooth and even or lined to grooved; bald to finely hairy; orangish brown, fading to buff; color often changing markedly as it dries out.
Attached to the stem, or beginning to run down it; distant or close; pinkish (Caucasian) flesh color, sometimes developing a faint purplish cast.
2-10 cm long; up to 1 cm thick; equal or tapering to base; smooth to finely hairy; occasionally longitudinally grooved; colored like the cap; with white basal mycelium; becoming hollow.
Flesh: Thin, colored like the cap.
Odor and Taste: Taste mild to slightly radishlike; odor similar.
Spore Print: White.
Laccaria Laccata Cooking Note
The Deceiver is an edible species that is rarely infested by maggots and due to its high abundance can be quickly gathered. However, it is lacking flavor and is often used in soups, stews or fried with some strongly flavored mushrooms.
Laccaria Laccata Taxonomy & Etymology
Austrian mycologist Giovanni Antonio Scopoli described this woodland mushroom in 1772, naming it Agaricus laccatus. (In the early days of fungal taxonomy most gilled mushrooms were placed in one gigantic Agaricus grouping, which has since been broken up into many other genera, leaving in the Agaricus genus a relatively small group of the 'true mushrooms', as they are sometimes called.) It was the British mycologist Mordecai Cubitt Cooke who moved this species into its present genus in 1884, at which time the specific epithet was changed to laccata.
Laccaria laccata has a vast array of synonyms including Agaricus laccatus Scop., Agaricus incanus Bull., Agaricus farinaceus Huds., Agaricus rosellus Batsch, Clitocybe laccata (Scop.) P. Kumm., Laccaria affinis (Singer) Bon, and Laccaria scotica (Singer) Contu.
The generic name Laccaria translates to 'lacquer' (shiny paint), and the specific epithet laccata means varnished or coated with lacquer. That's what I call toadstool tautology, or to put it another way... on second thoughts perhaps not, as to do so would be tautologous!
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