Echinoderma echinaceum (J. E. Lange) Bon

Distribution - Taxonomic History - Etymology - Identification - Culinary Notes - Reference Sources

Echinoderma echinaceum

Taxonomy

Phylum: Basidiomycota

Class: Agaricomycetes

Order: Agaricales

Family: Agaricaceae

A rare find, this lovely dapperling favours mixed woodland on calcareous soil. The pointed scales on the cap, the fragmentary stem ring, and intermediate gills of varying sizes all help to differentiate between Echinoderma echinaceum and the many other similar smallish pale-capped dapperlings.

Formerly included in the genus Lepiota, this dapperling appears in some field guides under its synonym Lepiota ecinacea.

Echinoderma echinaceum in spruce woodland

Distribution

Echinoderma echinaceum is quite a rare find in Britain and Ireland, but it occurs in greater abundance in some parts of mainland Europe. I can find no record of this species being reported from North America.

Taxonomic History

This remarkable but sadlyall too seldom seen mushroom was described scientifically in 1940 by Danish mycologist Jakob Emanuel Lange (1864 - 1941), who gave it the binomial name Lepiota erinacea. Its currently-accepted scientific name, Echinoderma echinaceum, dates from a 1991 publication by French mycologist Marcel Bon (b. 1925).

Synonyms of Echinoderma echinaceum include Lepiota echinacea J. E. Lange, and Cystolepiota echinacea (J. E. Lange) Knudsen.

Etymology

The generic name Echinoderma comes from echin- meaning spiny or prickly (Sea Urchins belong to the class Echinoidea, which comes from the same stem); and -derma meaning skin. This mushroom genus certainly does contain spiny-skinned fungi. As far as I can tell the specific epithet echinaceum merely re-emphasises the spiny characteristic of this mushroom.

Identification guide

Young and mature caps of Echinoderma echinaceum

Cap

Conical then convex or bell-shaped and finally expanded with a broad umbo; cream or ochre background covered in pyramidal brown scales 1-2mm tall in concentric rings.

Cap diameter at maturity ranges from 1.5 to 5cm.

Gills of Echinoderma echinaceum

Gills

The free, crowded gills are pinkish cream, becoming browner with age; they are interspersed by intermediate gills of varying lengths.

Stem

2 to 4cm long and 2.5 to 8mm in diameter; pinkish, the lower part covered in pointed brown scales, darkening towards base. The woolly stem ring is fragmentary.

 

 

Spores

Oblong to ellipsoidal, smooth, 4-5.5 x 2.5-3; dextrinoid.

Spore print

White or very pale buff.

Odour/taste

Slightly unleasant odour; mild but unpleasant taste.

Habitat

Solitary or in small groups in mixed woodland on chalk-rich soil.

Season

July to October in Britain and Ireland.

Occurrence

Uncommon.

Similar species

Lepiota ignivolvata has a bright orange or red-brown ring low down on the stem.

Culinary Notes

Echinoderma echinaceum is not a common find and its edibility is dubious. This used to be included in the genus Lepiota, wherein many of the species are known to be deadly poisonous. For this reason we recommend that Echinoderma echinaceum should be treated as a toxic toadstool and should definitely not be gathered for eating.

Reference Sources

Fascinated by Fungi, Pat O'Reilly 2011

Knudsen H., Vesterholt J. (eds) Funga Nordica: agaricoid, boletoid and cyphelloid genera - Nordsvamp, 2008

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.