October 25, 2021
Good evening, friends,
This week’s mushroom is Leratiomyces ceres, commonly known as chip cherries or redlead roundhead in Europe. When I first stumbled upon this little mushroom, I thought it might be the conspicuous Amanita muscaria (the emoji mushroom), but after excavating I saw that it was growing from dead wood. An important reminder to always dig up mushrooms you want to ID from the base because that can be a determining factor in identification. This mushroom was found on 10/8/2021 in the ramble.
L. ceres is saprobic, growing on dead wood, and is typically found in wood chips. It is thought to be indigenous to Australia but is now found in North America and Europe as well. It grows fall through spring in the pacific northwest, where it seems to be found the most frequently, and I imagine it has a similar fruiting cycle on the east coast as well. It will also fruit sporadically year-round when moisture is available. It usually grows quite gregariously with several mushrooms popping up in clusters, but I found this specimen as a solitary little shroom. The white fleshy membrane on the margin (edge) of the cap is the remnant of the partial veil. The partial veil is a thin membrane that attaches both to the margin of the cap and to the stipe (stem). The point of attachment on the stipe is called the ring or annulus – seen in the fourth picture. The partial veil protects the gills while the mushroom matures and then it breaks apart when the gills are ready to release spores, leaving residual bits and pieces on the cap and stipe.
Apparently, in Australia these mushrooms frustrate hunters of the hallucinogenic psilocybe mushrooms due to their similarity in appearance and preferred habitat. To add to the frustration, L. ceres is also poisonous, so our Aussie friends haven’t even stumbled upon a decent edible. However, the closely related Leratiomyces squamosus is said to contain the hallucinogenic compound psilocybin, and it is found in eastern North America.
I hope you’re getting fungal for Halloween,
1) Kuo, M. (2017, May). Leratiomyces ceres. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/leratiomyces_ceres.html