Collybia tuberosa (Bull.) P. Kumm. - Lentil Shanklet

Phylum: Basidiomycota - Class: Agaricomycetes - Order: Agaricales - Family: Tricholomataceae

Collybia tuberosa, southern England

Mushrooms in the genus Collybia tend to live on the decaying remains of other mushrooms, and the Lentil Shanklet is no exception, favouring well-rotted mushrooms, particularly the Russulaceae.

Distribution

An infrequent to rare find in England, Wales and Scotland, where its distribution is patchy, Collybia tuberosa is also found across much of mainland Europe; it is also recorded in parts of North America and is reported to occur in Japan.

Taxonomic history

This mushroom was first described scientifically in 1792 by pioneering French mycologist Jean Baptiste Francois (Pierre) Bulliard, who named it Agaricus tuberosus. (In the early days of fungus taxonomy most gilled mushrooms were placed in a huge Agaricus genus, most of whose contents have since been redistributed to many other new genera.)

German mycologist Paul Kummer transferred this species to the genus Collybia in 1871, establishing its currently-accepted scientific name Collybia tuberosa.

Synonyms of Collybia tuberosa include Agaricus tuberosus Bull., Sclerotium cornutum Fr.Gymnopus tuberosus (Bull.) Gray, and Marasmius sclerotipes Bres.

Etymology

The generic name Collybia means 'small coin', which is a reference to the round flattish caps typical of many collybioid mushrooms. The specific epithet tuberosa comes from Latin and simply means tuberous and refers to the tuberous base of the stem of this mushroom.

Identification guide

Cap of Collybia tuberosa

Cap

White or cream, occasionally developing a pale buff centre; convex, flattening often depressed but with a central umbo; margin often wavy and usually slightly incurved; dry and silky; 0.5 to 1.5cm across.

Gills of Collybia tuberosa

Gills

White, fairly crowded, adnate-emarginate.

Stem

White or pale cream, but browner towards the base; smooth, cylindrical, often contorted; 2 to 4cm long, 0.8 to 1.2mm diameter; no ring. The base of the stem is attached to a reddish-brown tuber embedded in the surface of the substrate.

Spores of Collybia tuberosa

Spores

Ellipsoidal, smooth, 4-5.5 x 2.5-3.5µm.

Spore print

White.

Odour/taste

Not distinctive - any odour tends to be masked by the smell of the rotting mushroom on which the Lentil Shanklets are growing.

Habitat & Ecological role

Saprophytic on decaying mushrooms, notably the brittlegills (Russula species) and milkcaps (Lactarius species); usually forming large groups.

Season

Summer and autumn in Britain.

Similar species

Tubaria conspersa, the Felted Twiglet, looks similar when seen from above, but as well as growing on wood it differs in producing brown spores.

Culinary Notes

Although lentils (the pulses, that is) are edible, the Lentil Shanklet is generally considered to be an inedible fungus.

Reference Sources

Fascinated by Fungi, Pat O'Reilly 2016.

Funga Nordica: 2nd edition 2012. Edited by Knudsen, H. & Vesterholt, J. ISBN 9788798396130

BMS List of English Names for Fungi

Dictionary of the Fungi; Paul M. Kirk, Paul F. Cannon, David W. Minter and J. A. Stalpers; CABI, 2008

Taxonomic history and synonym information on these pages is drawn from many sources but in particular from the British Mycological Society's GB Checklist of Fungi and (for basidiomycetes) on Kew's Checklist of the British & Irish Basidiomycota.

Top of page...


Fascinated by Fungi, 2nd edn, hardback

If you have found this information helpful, we are sure you would also find our book Fascinated by Fungi by Pat O'Reilly very useful. Author-signed hardback copies at a special discount price are available here...

Other nature books from First Nature...