June 6, 2022
Good evening, friends,
This week’s mushroom is Megacollybia rodmanii, commonly known as the Eastern American Platterful Mushroom (just rolls off the tongues), and formerly known as Megacollybia platyphylla. This mushroom has been popping up all over the woods – I’ve seen it a bunch up in Manitou – and it’s one of the most common late-spring mushrooms we’ll see in the northeast. The specimen below was found on 6/3/2022.
A platterful mushroom sighting is one of celebration for mycophiles throughout the northeast. Per the rule of thumb, the appearance of this species ends a fungal lull following the ephemeral morel season and now ushers in all of the fun summer shrooms.
What was neat about this mushroom was the presence of a large mycelial cord (pictured below) that attached the mushroom to the wood substrate . The presence of mycelium at the base of the mushroom is actually a distinguishing characteristic between the two subspecies of M. rodmanii we have here in the northeast. We’ll delve deeper into those two in the ecology section.
Platterful mushrooms have been reported to be edible, but have also been reported to make some folks sick. The name platterful is not derived from the mushrooms edibility, perhaps insinuating a full platter of these mushrooms, but in fact the latin platyphylla correlates to their broad gills. I didn’t eat this one, nor any of the platterful mushrooms I’ve encountered, but perhaps I’ll bring one home for some qualitative research. Stay tuned.
Ecology and Taxonomy
M. rodmanii is saprobic, growing from dead wood. It appears mid-spring through mid-summer in northeastern North America. Looking at this mushroom from above, I thought it might be a deer mushroom – the other large, brownish mushroom we see popping out of wood at this time of the year. However, upon popping it out and flipping it over, my initial ID quickly flipped. That’s because this mushroom had broad, white gills whereas the deer mushroom has free gills that typically have a pinkish hue (due to the color of their spores).
There was initially thought to be one species, Megacollybia platyphylla, throughout the entire world until a 2007 study using DNA sequencing revealed seven distinct species of the mushroom. There are two different forms, or sub-species, of M. rodmanii in northeastern North America. Form rodmani is apparently taller and thinner, and lacks mycelium at the base, whereas form murina is stout with mycelium present at the base. The thick mycelial cord leads me to think it may be murina, but there wasn’t really any more mycelium present aside from the cord, so who knows.
The Past Week With Fungi
Through my work with the Stamford Land Conservation Trust, Ciara and I had the privilege of indoctrinating the young minds of 7th and 8th graders at the Mead School in Stamford, CT – the alma mater of my friend and devout MM reader, Andrew. We did a mushroom walk where we found a … wait for it … platterful of platterful mushrooms and then made grow-your-own oyster mushroom kits for everyone to take home. Fun for all involved except for the kids who think the woods are gross – which was hard to argue against after all the slime molds we found.
The mushroom walk we did on Saturday in CP was quite successful as well. It was fun to have a mix of park friends I hadn’t seen in months along with friends I had made just the previous weekend. It warmed my heart to catch up with everyone and a deep thank you to all for coming out. Here are a couple photos to hold us over until next time 🙂
1) Kuo, M. (2010, May). Megacollybia rodmani. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/megacollybia_rodmani.html