What You Should Know
Clitocybe phyllophila is a 5 to 10 cm white or creamy colored mushroom that may be fairly flat at first but tends to become funnel-shaped. The cap develops ochre patches with age. The flesh has a pleasant fruity smell. The stem grows to 8 cm and has a swollen, downy base.
This fungus is a deadly poisonous and fairly common species that grows in habitats where people expect to find edible mushrooms. That makes it very dangerous indeed. The symptoms of poisoning by this and several similar white-capped Clitocybe species are those associated with muscarine poisoning. Excessive salivation and sweating set in within half an hour of eating these fungi.
Depending on the amount consumed, victims may also suffer abdominal pains, sickness, and diarrhea, together with blurred vision and labored breathing. Deaths of otherwise healthy people from eating these fungi are very rare, but anyone with a weakened heart or with respiratory problems is much more at risk.
Other names: Frosty Funnel.
Clitocybe phyllophila Mushroom Identification
4 to 10 cm across; convex, flattening with a wavy margin, usually developing a shallow central depression and retaining a small umbo; smooth and silky when dry; white with a fine bloom, developing buff or ochre spots mostly near the center.
Decurrent; crowded; white, turning cream with age.
4 to 8 cm long and 0.7 to 1.5cm diameter; smooth; white; downy at base; no stem ring.
Ellipsoidal to subglobose, smooth, 4-5 x 3-3.5μm.
Pale pinkish ochraceous clay.
Odor and Taste
Odor sweet; taste not distinctive, but in any case, tasting any white-gilled fungi is inadvisable.
Habitat & Ecological Role
Saprobic, in broadleaf and coniferous woodland and on grassy verges beneath hedgerows.
Calocybe gambosa, St George's Mushroom, has thicker cap flesh and a mealy odor; it occurs in similar habitats but mainly between late April and early July.
Clitocybe phyllophila Taxonomy and Etymology
This species was described in 1801 by Christiaan Hendrik Persoon, who gave it the binomial scientific name Agaricus phyllophilus.
In 1871 German mycologist Paul Kummer transferred this species to the genus Clitocybe, establishing its currently-accepted scientific name as Clitocybe rivulosa.
Synonyms of Clitocybe phyllophila include Agaricus phyllophilus Pers., Agaricus cerussatus Fr., Agaricus pithyophilus Fr., Clitocybe cerussata (Fr.) P. Kumm., Clitocybe pithyophila (Fr.) Gillet, and Clitocybe cerussata var. pithyophila (Fr.) J. E. Lange.
Clitocybe means 'sloping head', while the specific epithet phyllophila comes from Greek and means 'fond of leaves' - a reference to the preferred habitat of this mainly woodland saprobic fungus.
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