What You Should Know
Gymnopus peronatus (formerly called Collybia peronata or Marasmius urens) is a species of gilled mushroom that is common in European woods. It is a medium-sized collybia with a brownish to ochraceous rounded cap with a small central umbo, radiating streaks, and a usually paler margin.
The free gills are yellowish to light brownish, the stipe is tough, slender, yellowish to yellowish-brown and darker in age, longitudinally fibrillose, and its base is enlarged, and covered with hairs and strands connected to abundant whitish to yellowish mycelium that permeates the leaf litter. The taste is mild for a short time then peppery hot, and the odor is often pleasant and spicy.
The mushrooms are tough and persistent, rehydrate when moistened, and hang around a long time, often looking rather discolored and tattered in old age. The mycelium at times so impregnates the litter that one can lift an entire section of the forest floor when attempting to pick some of the mushrooms.
This mushroom is generally regarded as inedible, mainly because of its peppery or acrid taste, and has a little human impact.
Other names: Wood Woolly-Foot.
Gymnopus peronatus Mushroom Identification
3 to 6cm in diameter, the convex caps expand and flatten out at maturity, sometimes retaining a broad umbo. Cap color is quite variable, ranging from pinkish cream to yellowish-buff. Old caps often become shrunken and very wrinkled.
Unlike other members of the former Collybia genus, whose gills remain white or pale cream, Gymnopus peronatus matures with red-brown gills - a useful distinguishing characteristic.
The moderately spaced adnexed or almost free gills are pale at first, becoming reddish-brown as the fruitbody matures.
4 to 6mm in diameter and 4 to 8cm tall, the lower half of the stems of this species are covered in small pale hairs.
Elongated ellipsoidal, smooth, 8.5-10 x 3-4µm.
Odor and Taste
Odor not distinctive; taste very peppery.
Habitat & Ecological Role
Saprobic, in the leaf litter beneath broadleaf trees and hedgerows, and under bracken on heathland.
Laccaria laccata, the Deceiver, is similarly colored but does not have pale woolly hairs at the base of its stipe.
Gymnopus peronatus Medicinal Properties
Reporting on the favorable influence of sodium citrate on the production of antibiotics in Marasmius spp (Öblom, 1950), it is suggested that this species has antibacterial activity: “Recent work on antibiotics has shown that Marasmius urens (Bull). Fr. is highly active against several pathogenic bacteria (Öblom and Wallmark, unpublished).” This work (i.e., the effect of organic acids on antibiotic production) was later elaborated and expanded (Öblom, 1951), and Staphylococcus aureus was used as the test bacteria.
Polysaccharides extracted from the mycelial culture of G. peronatus and administered intraperitoneally into white mice at a dosage of 300 mg/kg inhibited the growth of Sarcoma 180 and Ehrlich solid cancers by 60% (Ohtsuka et al., 1973).
Gymnopus peronatus Taxonomy and Etymology
British naturalist James Bolton created the basionym of this species when he described this species in 1788, calling it Agaricus peronatus. It was another British mycologist, Samuel Frederick Gray (1766 - 1828), who in 1821 transferred this species to the genus Gymnopus, thus establishing its currently accepted scientific name Gymnopus peronatus.
Synonyms of Gymnopus peronatus include Agaricus peronatus Bolton, Agaricus urens Bull., Marasmius peronatus (Bolton) Fr., Marasmius urens (Bull.) Fr., Collybia peronata (Bolton) P. Kumm., and Collybia urens (Bull.) P. Kumm.
Gymnopus, the generic name, comes from Gymn- meaning naked or bare, and -pus meaning foot (or, in the case of a mushroom, stem). The specific epithet peronatus comes from Latin and means sheated - a reference to the woolly-booted appearance of the stem base.
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