Elite life



   Traditionally, Clitocybe is a genus of gilled mushrooms that lack partial veils and feature white, yellowish or pinkish spore prints, as well as gills that are broadly attached to the stem or run down it. Clitocybe are characterized by white spore prints, gills running down the stem, and pale white to brown or lilac coloration. They are primarily saprotrophic, decomposing forest ground litter. A few members of the genus are considered edible; many others are poisonous, containing the toxin muscarine among others.


Club Foot (Clitocybe clavipes, Ampulloclitocybe clavipes)

   Among the clitocyboid mushrooms, Clitocybe clavipes is distinguished by its brownish cap, its white spore print, its frequently bulbous stem, its (usual) preference for conifers, and microscopic features (including its smooth spores and the presence of clamp connections), which means that the species is not very easy to identify with certainty without the use of a microscope, since many clitocyboid mushrooms look similar to the naked eye. Clitocybe clavipes should not be eaten. For one thing, it's hard to identify with certainty. More troubling, however, is the fact that it is apparently toxic when consumed in conjunction with alcohol, it produces rather unpleasant effects. Growing alone, scattered, or gregariously (rarely in clusters); primarily under conifers, but sometimes reported under hardwoods; widely distributed in North America; late summer and fall (winter in coastal California).
   Cap: 2-9 cm; at first flat with a slightly underturned margin, becoming centrally depressed or vase-shaped, with an uplifted margin; smooth, or somewhat rugged or hairy over the center; moist or dry; brown to grayish brown or olive brown, usually darker over the center and lighter towards the margin by maturity.
   Gills: Running down the stem; close or nearly distant; whitish or creamy.
   Stem: 3.5-6 cm long; up to 3.5 cm thick at the base; often bulbous at the bottom, but sometimes more or less equal; minutely hairy; buff or pale brownish.
   Flesh: Whitish.

Aniseed Toadstool (Clitocybe odora)

   When fresh and unfaded, Clitocybe odora is a gorgeous shade of bluish green and smells strongly of anise (like black licorice or ouzo), making it a fairly unmistakable mushroom. Whitish specimens are not uncommon, however, as a result of fading or lack of moisture (or sometimes simply because they're whitish), and if these have lost the anise odor they can be rather difficult to separate from a host of similar Clitocybe species. Clitocybe odora is edible, but it has a very strong taste and is used only to add anise flavor to dishes. Growing scattered or gregariously on hardwood litter in eastern North America and on the debris of conifers (or hardwoods) from the Rocky Mountains westward; summer and fall (or winter in warmer climates); widely distributed in North America.
   Cap: 2-11 cm; convex with an inrolled margin at first, becoming flat or shallowly vase-shaped; dry; finely hairy or smooth; blue-green to greenish, sometimes with a paler central area; fading quickly; in dry weather sometimes whitish; the margin often lined at maturity.
  Gills: Attached to the stem or running down it; close or crowded; whitish to pinkish buff (or, in the Pacific Northwest's var. pacifica, green like the cap).
   Stem: 2-8 cm long; up to 15 mm thick; more or less equal; dry; finely hairy; whitish (green or greenish in var. pacifica); with copious white mycelium at the base.
   Flesh: Thin; whitish.

Clouded Agaric, Cloud Funnel (Clitocybe nebularis)

   Solitary to scattered to gregarious under both conifers and hardwoods. Seldom fruits before December. It is edible, but must be boiled before preparation since it can be a source of nausea.
   Pileus: Cap 5-25 cm broad; convex with an incurved margin, becoming plane to depressed; color greyish to light brownish grey; surface dry to moist, radially fibrillose; flesh thick, white; odor unpleasant, slightly farinaceous to rancid or skunky.
   Lamellae: Gills close, adnate to decurrent, white to cream colored.
   Stipe 5-15 cm long, 1.5-4 cm thick at apex, base enlarged to bulbous, usually with abundant whitish tomentum; color white, sometimes with light grey brown fibrils.
   Spores 5.5-8.5 x 3.5-4.5 μm, smooth, ellipsoid, nonamyloid; spore wall cyanophilous. Spore print pale yellow.

Wood Blewit (Clitocybe nuda, Lepista nuda, Tricholoma nudum)

   The Wood Blewit is found in Europe and North America and is becoming more common in Australia, where it appears to have been introduced. It is a saprotrophic species, growing on decaying leaf litter. Nevertheless it has been cultivated in Britain, Holland and France. Growing alone, scattered, gregariously, or in clusters; in woods, brush, gardens, under conifers or hardwoods, on lawns, around and on compost piles, or wherever there is organic debris; widely distributed; late summer on into the fall and winter. It is a fairly distinctive mushroom which is widely eaten, though there is some caution about edibility.
   Cap: 4-15 cm; convex with an inrolled margin when young, becoming broadly convex to nearly flat, or with an uplifted, often wavy margin in age; surface smooth, slightly sticky and shiny when moist, somewhat shiny to dull when dry; sometimes finely cracked over the center; purple, or purplish with brown to grayish shades when fresh; fading to brownish, flesh-colored, tan, or paler.
   Gills: Attached to the stem--sometimes by a notch--or beginning to run down the stem; close or crowded; pale lavender to violet or lilac; sometimes grayish purple when fresh; fading to buff, pinkish-buff or brownish in age.
   Stem: 2-5 cm long; 1-3 cm thick at apex; equal or often enlarged at the base; dry; finely hairy; pale purple or colored like the gills; becoming brownish in age; base often covered with downy purple mycelium.
   Flesh: Thick; rather soft; purplish to lilac-buff.

Field Blewit (Clitocybe saeva, Lepista saeva)

   The Field Blewit is a mushroom similar to the wood blewit. Grows on the ground, found in fields, lawns or on roadsides. It prefers to grow in grasslands and dirt areas. Distribution: America and Europe.
   Cap 6-10 cm across, convex then flattened or depressed, often wavy at the margin, pallid to dirty brown. Stem 30-60x15-25 mm, often swollen at the base, bluish-lilac, fibrillose. Flesh thick, whitish to flesh-coloured. Taste and smell strongly perfumed. Gills crowded, whitish to flesh-colored. Spore print pale pink. Spores elliptic, minutely spiny, 7-8x4-5 mm. Habitat often in rings, in pastureland. Season autumn to early winter. Frequent. Edible excellent.

Common Funnel Cap (Clitocybe gibba)

   Clitocybe gibba is a hardwood-loving clitocyboid mushroom that features a pinkish tan cap that becomes fairly deeply vase-shaped by maturity. Its pale, crowded gills run down the stem, which is pale in comparison to the cap. Other distinctive features include the white mycelium on the stem base and, usually, a faintly sweet odor. Clitocybe gibba is edible. Growing alone, scattered or gregariously; primarily found under hardwoods (especially oaks) but sometimes reported under conifers; summer and fall (winter and spring in California); widely distributed in North America.
   Cap: 3-9 cm; at first flat or with a central depression, becoming deeply vase-shaped; smooth; dry or slightly tacky; tan, pinkish tan, or flesh-colored; fading with age; sometimes with a wavy margin in maturity.
   Gills: Running down the stem; close or crowded; white or pale cream.
   Stem: 2.5-8 cm long; up to 1 cm thick; equal; dry; fairly smooth; whitish, off-white, or a very pale version of the cap color; base often covered with white mycelium.
   Flesh: Thin; whitish. Odor and Taste: Taste mild; odor not distinctive or sweet. Spore Print: White.


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