Tuesday 12 June 2018

Melanoleuca verrucipes - Warty Cavalier

Melanoleuca verrucipes - Warty Cavalier

On a lovely May morning walk to a local large park namely Wollaton Hall, Nottinghamshire, I was wandering through very long grass and came across a small cluster (approx 10-15) whitish fungi.  I took a series of photographs and a sample.  The stem struck me as being very distinctive - blackish and spattered with dark scales, and the smell being a mix of almonds and faint aniseed - fruity indeed.

I could not find this fungus in any of my books.  I duly sent the sample off to Howard associated with Notts Fungi Group for a positive identification via spore print analysis.

I could not find this fungus in my books because it is in fact rather rare.  It is called
Melanoleuca verrucipes - Warty Cavalier and belongs to the Tricholomataceae group.  This fungus was first discovered in the UK in 2000 in Highgate Woods, North London, according to the FRDBI records held by the British Mycological Society (BMS). There are 47 records to-date, the last being in 2015.  My record will be recorded by Howard where appropriate.

Below is a series of photographs which show in detail this fungus, and also at the end of this post is a description of my observations.

Showing perspective

Showing warty stem

Showing cap

Showing wooly texture at base

Showing urticoid cystidium with crystals

Observations and characteristics:

Found in long grass with mixed trees including Lime and Beech, bark chippings present.  In a small cluster up to 10-15. Cap white, slightly striate margin, up to 8-10 cm diam.  Depressed centre with ochre spot.   Gills crowded and close and the same colour as the cap.  Stem up to 8 cm white with very distinctive dark brown to black scales.  Base slightly bulbous and wooly at base.

With grateful thanks to Howard Williams for confirming the identity of this mushroom via spore print analysis and for providing the photograph of such.