Fungus Friday: Laccaria laccata “The Deceiver”

This might be one of the last Foliage Friday posts for 2021. The sun sets before 5, and very little gardening is happening these days. I don’t think I’m going to be posting as often on my usual schedule (Sun|Mon|Tue|Thu|Fri) for the rest of November and December, but I do intend to pick things back up at my usual rate in January when I start sowing seeds and the days start getting longer.

But I have a mushroom to share today – and you may recognize this one from your own yard.

If I’ve ID’d this one correctly (a big *if*), this is a very common mushroom that grows all over North America. It’s called Laccaria laccata, and goes by the common name the “Deceiver.” Sounds ominous.

It’s called the Deceiver because its appearance can vary based on its age and the weather, so people might think it for other mushrooms. Fortunately its edible, so nothing bad will happen if you mistake it for another mushroom.

I didn’t eat it, of course, but I hear that the cap is pretty mild tasting (when cooked, similar to the white button mushrooms you find at the store), but the stem is very woody and not good to eat.

This mushroom grows in woodlands with either hardwoods or conifers and is found in spring, summer, and fall. It has a orange/brown cap with a slight depression in the center, and thick white/tan gills. It also has some unique features, including spores that you need a microscope to see, so it’s hard to be 100% sure of the identification with the naked eye. I suppose I could have brought this mushroom to work with me and taken a look….hmmm…

2 thoughts on “Fungus Friday: Laccaria laccata “The Deceiver””

  1. Have you ever wondered how people figured out which mushrooms were fine to eat and which were definitely not so fine? Must have been a difficult trial and error.

    1. Nate and I watched Fantastic Fungi on netflix this past weekend, and they speculated that humans evolved from neanderthals because they ate mushroooms. The theory is that neanderthals ate psychedelic mushrooms that grew on cow patties and the resulting trip expanded their senses in a way that they were able to develop language skills…or something like that. It seemed very far-fetched to me.

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