Laccaria

A whole field of Laccarias
A whole field of Laccarias
Very common individually or in groups
Very common individually or in groups

Laccaria are a very common mushroom in Pine forests. They occur either individually or, more often in groups that may cover a large area. There are several species in Australia and the good news is that they’re all edible.

You can harvest a lot of Laccaria in a short time. They can be a bit fibrous and stringy, especially the stems. Myself, I like them pickled or dried and powdered as they take on a stronger taste this way.

The caps start off convex and with solid margins.
The caps start off convex and with solid margins.
Laccaria have a velvety texture on the cap
Laccaria have a velvety texture on the cap.
The gills are distinct and have smaller gills in between.
The gills are distinct and have smaller gills in between.
The cap starts off with a solid margin.
The cap starts off with a solid margin when young.
The margins curl a lot as the day goes on.
The margins curl a lot as the day goes on.
Cross section shows how fibrous the stem is.
Cross section shows how fibrous the stem is.
A perfect specimen for the pot.
A perfect specimen for the pot.
Weird deformities are common. They don't affect edibility.
Weird deformities are common. They don’t affect edibility.

Identifying Laccaria –

If you’re under Pine trees and see something that you think could be a Laccaria, look for these details –

  • Brown to pink cap 1/2 cm to 5 cm diameter
  • A velvety texture on the cap
  • The cap starts convex, then becomes more concave and wavy edged as the mushroom matures. It can even curl in on itself
  • Pinky/Purple or even slightly red gills
  • Small gills in between larger ones
  • Fibrous stem, hollow inside, 5 to 10 cm long, often twisted
  • Many Laccaria have a deformity on the cap. They’re still tasty though.

If you find a mushroom under Pine trees that fits all of the above requirements, you’ve got yourself a Laccaria!

For reference, they’re listed on page 102 of ‘A field guide to Australian Fungi’ by Bruce Fuhrer.

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