Asterophora parasitica: The Ultimate Mushroom Guide
About The Asterophora parasitica Mushroom
Asterophora parasitica is a species of fungus that grows as a parasite on other mushrooms. The fruit bodies are small, with silky fibers on the surface of grayish caps and thick, widely spaced gills.
Mushrooms fruit in clusters on the decaying remains of Lactarius and Russula species, particularly those in the Russula nigricans group. Found primarily in temperate zones of Europe and North America, the fungus is widespread but not common.
It has been reported from Europe and North America. Although not uncommon in southern and central Europe, it is rare in Scandinavia, where it does not grow outside the northern limit of Quercus (oak) species, suggesting that character of the soil in which the host mushrooms grow can affect the suitability as a substrate for A. parasitica.
It takes about three weeks for A. parasitica to complete its development on an agaric.
Other names: Russula Parasite, Silky Piggyback.
Asterophora parasitica Identification
0.5 to 2cm across; globose or convex; white; covered in silky radial fibrils; increasingly covered in fine powdery chlamydospores.
Initially white or very pale grey, turning brownish; adnate; thick and distant.
1 to 3cm long and 2 to 4mm diameter; white, browning with age; surface finely woolly; nearly always curved; no stem ring.
Pale brown, subfusiform, smooth,12-17 x 9-10µm; forming on the gills rather than on the cap surface.
Broadly ovoid, smooth, 5-6 x 3-4µm.
Odor and Taste
Habitat & Ecological Role
Saprobic, on various types of decaying brittlegill fruitbodies, particularly the large blackening species Russula nigricans and Russula densifolia.
Asterophora lycoperdoides has a granular cap and rarely has well-formed gills.
Asterophora parasitica Taxonomy & Etymology
This species was first described in 1792 by the French mycologist Jean Baptiste Francois (Pierre) Bulliard, who gave it the scientific name Agaricus parasiticus. It was German-born mycologist Rolf Singer who, in 1949, transferred this species to its present genus, establishing the currently accepted scientific name as Asterophora parasitica.
Synonyms of Asterophora parasitica include Agaricus parasiticus Bull., Agaricus umbratus With., Gymnopus parasiticus (Bull.) Gray, and Nyctalis parasitica (Bull.) Fr.
Asterophora comes from the Greek words "a'ster" (meaning star) and "phor-" a form of "phero" (meaning to bear or carry) - hence bearing stars, or starry. The coarsely verrucose to blunty spinose chlamydospores does indeed appear to be bearing stars on their surfaces.
The specific epithet parasitica reflects the fact that this little mushroom feeds on the decaying fruitbodies of other larger fungi.
Asterophora parasitica profile
Help Improve Ultimate Mushroom
If you find an error or you want to add more information about the mushroom please click here.