Hypholoma fasciculare: The Ultimate Mushroom Guide
About The Hypholoma fasciculare Mushroom
Hypholoma fasciculare is a common woodland saprophagic small gill mushroom that grows prolifically in large clumps on stumps, dead roots, or rotting trunks of broadleaved trees.
This mushroom is bitter and poisonous; consuming it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and convulsions. The principal toxin is a steroid known as fasciculol E.
Displays of Hypholoma fasciculare can recur on large stumps for two or three years in succession before the timber is reduced to its hard core of lignin, at which point other lignin-eating fungi move in to finish it off.
Hypholoma fasciculare has been used successfully as an experimental treatment to competitively displace a common fungal disease of conifers, Armillaria solidipes, from managed coniferous forests.
Other names: Sulphur Tuft, Clustered Woodlover.
Hypholoma fasciculare Identification
Saprobic; growing in clusters on decaying logs and stumps of conifers and, rarely, hardwoods; fall and winter, sometimes in spring; widely distributed in North America, but more common along the West Coast and in montane or northern areas. The illustrated and described collections are from California, Colorado, and Illinois.
2-5 cm; convex, becoming broadly convex or nearly flat; bald; dry; when young often tawny reddish-brown or orange, but usually becoming bright yellow to greenish-yellow or golden yellow, with a darker center; the margin often featuring small, wispy partial veil fragments.
Attached to the stem or pulling away from it; close or crowded; yellow, becoming olive or greenish-yellow, and eventually dusted with spores and therefore spotted purplish brown to blackish; short-gills frequent.
3-10 cm long; 4-10 mm thick; more or less equal, or tapering to base; bright yellow to tawny; developing rusty brown stains from the base upwards; a bright yellow cortina present in buttons, but soon disappearing or leaving a faint ring zone.
Odor and Taste
Odor not distinctive; taste bitter.
Hypholoma fasciculare Look-Alikes
Another common species, the conifer tuft (Hypholoma capnoides) is similar but it lacks the bitter taste, generally has a lighter yellow cap, and when young, its gills are smoky grey colored rather than yellow. It only grows on conifer wood. While conifer tufts are considered edible, they are easily confused with poisonous species including deadly toxic funeral bells (Galerina marginata). Funeral bells have brown caps and a small ring on the stem that is visible in young specimens. Funeral bells, as well as Pholiota species, grow on wood but unlike the conifer or sulphur tufts, they have brown rather than purple-black spores.
Honey mushrooms (Armillaria species) grow in big clusters on and around wood. These have white spores, the pink-brown cap is scaly, and when young, they have a distinct felty or cottony ring on the stem. While some people eat honey mushrooms, they have caused gastrointestinal upsets in more than a few individuals.
Hypholoma fasciculare Toxicity
The toxicity of sulfur tuft mushrooms has been attributed, at least partially, to steroid depsipeptides fasciculol E and fasciculol F values of 50 mg/kg and 168 mg/kg, respectively).
In humans, symptoms may be delayed for 5–10 hours after consumption, after which time there may be diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, proteinuria and collapse. Paralysis and impaired vision have been recorded. Symptoms generally resolve over a few days.
The autopsy of one fatality revealed fulminant hepatitis reminiscent of amatoxin poisoning, along with the involvement of kidneys and myocardium. The mushroom was consumed in a dish with other species so the death cannot be attributed to sulfur tuft with certainty.
Extracts of the mushroom show anticoagulant effects.
Hypholoma fasciculare Taxonomy & Etymology
Described scientifically in 1778 by British botanist and mycologist William Hudson (1730 - 1793), this common wood-rotting mushroom was initially given the name Agaricus fascicularis. Its current base name, Hypholoma fasciculare, dates from 1871 when Paul Kummer transferred it to the genus Hypholoma.
Synonyms of Hypholoma fasciculare var. fasciculare include Agaricus fascicularis Huds., Pratella fascicularis (Huds.) Gray, Hypholoma fasciculare (Huds.) P. Kumm., Agaricus sadleri Berk. & Broome, Naematoloma fasciculare (Huds.) P. Karst., and Hypholoma fasciculare f. sterilis J. E. Lange.
In 1923, J. E. Lange separated from the nominate form a variety of Sulphur Tuft which is named Hypholoma fasciculare var. pusillum J. E. Lange; it is a rare find in Britain. Synonyms of this variety of Sulphur Tuft include Naematoloma capnoides var. pusillum (J. E. Lange) Courtec., and Psilocybe fascicularis var. pusilla (J. E. Lange) Noordel.
Hypholoma, the genus name, means 'mushrooms with threads'. It may be a reference to thev thread-like partial veil that connects the cap rim to the stem of young fruitbodies, although some authorities suggest that it is a reference to the thread-like rhizomorphs (root-like bundles of mycelial hyphae) that radiate from the stem base.
It hardly needs mentioning that the common name Sulphur Tuft is a reference to the bright sulphur-yellow color of the caps of these fungi combined with their habit of growing in tightly bunched tufts.
The specific epithet fasciculare comes from the Latin word fasces, a bundle of rods bound around an axe-head used by magistrates in ancient Roman magistrate as a symbol of authority and power. Fascism comes from the same source, implying a small group (or bundle) with imposed and centralized authority and power.
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