What You Should Know
Lyophyllum decastes is an edible mushroom that grows in clusters on disturbed ground areas, the common form has gray-brown caps.
Prolific in summer and fall until spring on the U.S. West Coast, it is widely distributed in North America.
This mushroom especially good in stews and soups where it retains a wonderful texture.
Other names: Fried Chicken Mushroom.
Lyophyllum decastes Mushroom Identification
Saprobic; usually growing in dense clusters in disturbed soil (roadbeds, paths, landscaping areas, and so on), or occasionally growing alone or scattered (and sometimes occurring in woods); summer and fall (fall through spring on the West Coast); widely distributed in North America.
3-12 cm; convex, becoming broadly convex or flat; moist (but not slimy) when fresh; smooth; grayish brown to yellowish-brown or brown (usually darker when young); often somewhat streaked in appearance; the margin inrolled at first, later even, lobed, or upturned.
Attachment variable (attached to the stem, sometimes by a notch, or beginning to run down it); close; white, sometimes yellowing somewhat with age.
5-10 cm long; up to 2 cm thick; smooth; more or less equal; dry; whitish, sometimes becoming brownish toward the base.
White; firm; not changing on exposure.
Odor and Taste
Taste pleasant and mild, or faintly radish-like; odor not distinctive or somewhat fragrant.
Lyophyllum decastes Look-Alikes
Distinguished by its unusual odour of cucumber and its cream-to-beige gills, which are free rather than being attached to the stem.
Sometimes mistaken when the latter fruits in clusters from buried wood.
Has a light color.
Smaller mushroom with a reddish tinge of the cap and stem.
Causes brown wood rot.
More common in coniferous forests.
Has a darker color.
This is a mushroom that you should have identified by an expert before consumption. There are both variable characteristics and enough look-alikes that identification needs to be positive. However, once identified, it’s fairly distinctive. Morphological, cultural, enzymatic and DNA analysis suggests that there are five distinct species in this species complex.
At any rate, many sources treat Lyophyllum decastes as a constellation of (potential) species.
The salient features of the group:
Growth in dense (and often huge) clusters on the ground, usually in areas where the ground has been disturbed (roadbeds, paths, landscaping areas, etc.) but sometimes in woods.
A pure white spore print.
Pleasant or mild taste.
Absence of a partial veil or universal veil.
A medium-sized cap that is whitish, brownish, yellowish-brown, or grayish brown.
Gills that are white but may yellow somewhat in age.
Spores that are inamyloid, unornamented, and more or less round.
Gill faces and edges that lack cystidia.
Basidia that display granular contents when treated with acetocarmine.
Lyophyllum decastes Taxonomy and Etymology
This fungus was described in the scientific literature in 1818 by the great Swedish mycologist Elias Magnus Fries, who gave it the binomial name Agaricus decastes. (Most gilled fungi were placed in the Agaricus genus in the early days of fungal taxonomy, but the majority have since been relocated to new genera.) In 1949, German-born American mycologist Rolf Singer transferred this species to the genus Lyophyllum, thus establishing its currently-accepted scientific name as Lyophyllum decastes.
The specific epithet decastes comes from Latin and means occurring 'in tens' (as, of course, does the word 'decades', which comes from the same Latin root).
Lyophyllum decastes Synonyms
Clitocybe decastes (Fr.) P. Kumm., 1871
Lyophyllum decastes var. decastes (Fr.) Singer, 1951
Clitocybe aggregata (Schaeff.) Gillet, 1874
Gyrophila aggregata (Schaeff.) Quél., 1886
Tricholoma aggregatum (Schaeff.) Ricken, 1915
Lyophyllum aggregatum (Schaeff.) Kühner, 1938
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