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.
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.