Neolentinus lepideus: The Ultimate Mushroom Guide
About The Neolentinus lepideusMushroom
This mushroom can grow on railroad ties soaked in creosote. Neolentinus lepideus is a tough cream-colored cap and stem mushroom with zoned, brownish scales that are more concentrated toward the center of its depressed center.
The off-center stem is similarly scaly. Gills are decurrent. It is saprotrophic and tends to favor dead conifers, especially pine, for its nutritional requirements. Usually too tough and tasteless to be considered a good edible. Should not be eaten if growing from creosote-soaked wood.
Other names: Scaly Lentinus, Train Wrecker.
Neolentinus lepideus Identification
Saprobic on well-decayed conifer stumps and conifer wood, including treated lumber; causing a brown rot; growing alone or in small groups; summer and fall, or year-round in warm climates; widely distributed in North America-but present in western areas primarily on lumber.
2–15 cm across; convex with a slightly inrolled margin, becoming broadly convex; dry; whitish with small, brown, appressed scales.
Broadly attached to the stem or beginning to run down it; close; short-gills frequent; white; edges serrated.
2–10 cm long; 2–4 cm wide; more or less equal; dry; scaly, with white, recurved scales that become reddish-brown or darker toward the base; with an ephemeral, easily-lost ring; whitish; very tough.
White; very tough; unchanging when sliced, or turning dull yellow in the stem.
Spore Print: White.
Why Train Wrecker?
Unlikely to cause train crashes these days because railroad ties are treated with chemical preservatives, preventing this mushroom from eating away railroad ties and causing a train to derail.
The train wrecker is hard to find, but occasionally appears on wood, sometimes buried wood, in the city. It's a leathery edible, but good—especially young specimens.
A famous Lentinus that's much easier to find in cities is Lentinus edodes or shiitake.
Check out Asian markets for great deals on dried shiitake. Less tough and more subtle in flavor, the fresh variety—available at many grocery stores—is a real treat. You can grow your own on the kitchen table with a mushroom kit.
Neolentinus lepideus Taxonomy & Etymology
The Train Wrecker was described scientifically in 1815 by Swedish mycologist Elias Magnus Fries, who created its basionym when he gave it the scientific binomial name Agaricus lepideus. Thirteen years later, in 1828, Christiaan Hendrik Persoon described the same species under the scientific name Agaricus polymorphus. The currently-accepted scientific name dates from a 1985 publication by Canadian mycologists Scott Alan Redhead and Jim Ginns.
The generic name Neolentinus comes from Neo- meaning 'a modern or recent version of' and Lentinus, a gilled mushroom genus within the family Polyporaceae, via the Latin lent- meaning pliable and -inus meaning resembling.
The specific epithet lepideus is a Latin adjective meaning scaly - a reference to the structure of the cap surface.
Neolentinus lepideus profile
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