December 6, 2021
Good evening, friends,
This week’s mushroom is Hypholoma lateritium, commonly known as brick caps or brick tops. This mushroom was found on 11/30/2021 by Alex in the North Woods. The first three pictures below are his, and the fourth one is a picture I took today up in Manitou. If you scroll all the way down you’ll see a group picture from our fungal foray on Saturday.
If you haven’t noticed by now, things look a little different. In a move analogous to Ben and Jerry selling their ice cream company to Unilever, I’ve switched from the home-grown manually entering each individual BCC to a more streamlined Mailchimp listserve. “It’s what’s best for the consumer” of course, but just know this formatting isn’t permanent and plenty of tinkering will occur over the coming weeks.
H. lateritium is saprobic, growing from dead wood. In this instance it looks like it’s growing from the soil, but a full excavation would reveal the mushrooms are growing from dead wood in the soil. H. lateritium grows in North America, predominantly east of the Rockies, and in Europe as well. When mushrooms grow like this, in a dense clump with stems fused or packed tightly together, they’re called cespitose. H. lateritium grows late summer through fall. Hypholoma capnoides is a near relative and look-a-like, but it grows on dead conifer wood – an important reminder that substrate is vital for identification. Hypholoma fasiculare (aka sulfur tufts), which we saw on our walk, is also a relative but almost entirely yellow and quite bitter in taste.
There is mixed information online regarding the edibility of this mushroom. This could be due to confusion with its poisonous relative, the sulfur tuft, or the idea that the European variety is inedible (I couldn’t find information to substantiate that claim). I read some anecdotal evidence that they’re edible when young, but probably best to avoid due to the poisonous look-a-likes.
The latin “Hypholoma” means ‘mushroom with threads’ which refers to the wispy partial veil characteristic of all species in this genus, and “laterit” means ‘brick-colored’ which relates to the color of the cap in this specific species.
You can see quite a few clusters as they fruit all along a dead root.
Below are some mature H. lateritium mushrooms I found today:
And finally the group photo. Thanks for coming out everyone and thanks Kathleen for taking the pic. See you all next time 🙂
If you scrolled this far I’m impressed,
1) Kuo, M. (2014, February). Hypholoma sublateritium. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/hypholoma_sublateritium.html