What You Should Know
The strong anise-like odor and distinctive bluish-green to grayish green coloration make this mushroom easy to identify. Two varieties of Clitocybe odora are found in California: var. odora with white to buff gills and stipe, and var. pacifica with grayish green to bluish green gills and stipe.
When fresh and unfaded, Clitocybe odora smells strongly of anise (like black licorice or ouzo), making it a fairly unmistakable mushroom. Whitish specimens are not uncommon, however, as a result of fading or lack of moisture (or sometimes simply because they're whitish) - and if these have lost the anise odor they can be rather difficult to separate from a host of similar Clitocybe species.
Other names: Aniseed Funnel, Aniseed Toadstool, Twmffat/Twndish Anis.
Clitocybe odora Mushroom Identification
Saprobic; growing scattered or gregariously on hardwood litter in eastern North America and on the debris of conifers (or hardwoods) from the Rocky Mountains westward; summer and fall (or winter in warmer climates); widely distributed in North America.
2-11 cm; convex with an inrolled margin at first, becoming flat or shallowly vase-shaped; dry; finely hairy or smooth; blue-green to greenish, sometimes with a paler central area; fading quickly; in dry weather sometimes whitish; the margin often lined at maturity.
Attached to the stem or running down it; close or crowded; whitish to pinkish buff (or, in the Pacific Northwest's var. pacifica, green like the cap).
2-8 cm long; up to 15 mm thick; more or less equal; dry; finely hairy; whitish (green or greenish in var. pacifica); with copious white mycelium at the base.
Flesh: Thin; whitish.
Odor and Taste: When fresh, strongly of anise.
Spore Print: Pinkish to creamy.
Clitocybe odora Taxonomy and Etymology
The Aniseed Funnel was described in 1784 by French mycologist Jean Baptiste Francois Pierre Bulliard, who gave it the scientific name Agaricus odorus.
In 1871 the German mycologist Paul Kummer transferred this species to the genus Clitocybe, at which points its scientific name became Clitocybe odora, which is still its generally accepted scientific name today.
Synonyms of Clitocybe odora include Agaricus odorus Bull., Gymnopus odorus (Bull.) Gray, Agaricus trogii Fr., Clitocybe viridis (Huds.) Gillet, Clitocybe trogii (Fr.) Sacc., and Clitocybe virens (Scop.) Sacc.
The generic name Clitocybe (usually pronounced 'klite-oss-a-bee') means 'sloping head', while the specific epithet odora is Latin for 'perfumed'.
Clitocybe odora Cooking Notes
Clitocybe odora is a good edible mushroom and can be used either fried with onions or in risottos, soups, and many other mushroom dishes. The aniseed flavor is said to be particularly good when these mushrooms are made into a sauce to go with plaice, cod, or other kinds of white fish. Also, this mushroom is sometimes powdered and used as a condiment.
Photo 1 - Author: Ron Pastorino (Ronpast) (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
Photo 2 - Author: Jerzy Opioła (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
Photo 3 - Author: Holger Krisp (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported)
Photo 4 - Author: Strobilomyces (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
Photo 5 - Author: Jerzy Opioła (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)