What You Should Know
Thelephora penicillata is a species of fungi belonging to the group Basidiomycota. It is a kind of earthfan fungus that forms rosette-like clusters among mosses on the forest floor, most often under spruce trees. These short-lived fruitbodies can be found from late summer through to the end of autumn.
It is fairly common in wet acidic conifer plantations throughout Britain and Ireland; it is sometimes found in mossy areas under broadleaf trees. This woodland fungus occurs throughout northern mainland Europe, and it is recorded in Russia and North America.
First described by Christiaan Hendrik Persoon, and given its simplistic Asian name by Fr. hadton 1821.
Other names: Urchin Earthfan.
Thelephora penicillata Mushroom Identification
Short-lived rosette-like fans lying low on the forest floor looking as though they have been trodden on, even when they have not; purplish-brown at the base and white or cream towards the branched and pointed tips, turning brown from the center; 4 to 15cm across; individual spines 2 to 7cm long.
The tramal hyphae are monomitic, typically 4-7µm wide, with clamp connections.
Angularly ellipsoidal, 7-10 x 5-7µm; ornamented with irregular spiny warts.
Odor and Taste
The odor is earthy but not strong, and the taste of this fungus is mild but not distinctive.
In coniferous and broadleaf forests.
July to November.
The much more swarthy Earthfan Thelephora terrestris is seen most often on dry sandy soils, particularly with pines and less frequently under broadleaf trees; it also occurs occasionally with various eucalypts.
Thelephora penicillata Synonyms
Phylacteria mollissima (Pers.) Rea 1922
Thelephora cladoniiformis Velen. 1922
Phylacteria spiculosa (Fr.) Bourdot & L. Maire 1920
Thelephora fimbriata (Schwein.) Fr. 1838
Merisma cristatum var. penicillatum (Pers.) Pers. 1822
Thelephora palmata var. mollissima (Pers.) Pers. 1822
Merisma fimbriatum Schwein. 1822
Thelephora spiculosa Fr. 1821
Thelephora mollissima Pers. 1801
Merisma penicillatum Pers. 1797
Photo 1 - Author: Pawel Ryszawa (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported)
Photo 2 - Author: Mikko Heikkinen (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International)
Photo 3 - Author: Mikko Heikkinen (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International)
Photo 4 - Author: Thkgk (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)