Galerina graminea (Velen.) Kühner - Turf Bell

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

Galerina graminea

Galerina graminea with its widely-spaced gills and tiny orange caps, is a common and very welcome sight in garden lawns and parks. This is one of the very few Galerina species that can survive in moss-free grass, although it is much more commonly encountered in mossy lawns.

Identifying with certainty the many small Galerina and Mycena mushrooms that appear on lawns requires microscopic examination (preferably assisted by chemical testing!).

Galerina graminea in moss

Distribution

Galerina graminea is a fairly common sight on lime-rich lawns and parkland in Britain and Ireland but infrequent in neutral and acidic areas. This species is also recorded throughout most of mainland Europe and in North America.

Taxonomic history

This attractive little mushroom was for many years better known by the scientific name Galerina laevis, which was derived from names proposed by Christiaan Hendrik Persoon - Galeria laevis and Agaricus laevis. The basionym was established in 1921 when Czech mycologist Josef Velenovský (1858 - 1949) described this species and gave it the name Galera graminea. It was the German mycologist Robert Kühner (1903 - 1996) who transferred this species to the genus Galerina, thus establishing its currently-accepted binomial name Galerina graminea.

Synonyms of Galerina graminea include Agaricus laevis Pers., Galera graminea Velen., and Galerina laevis Singer.

Etymology

Galerina means 'like a helmet', while the specific epithet graminea means 'of grass' - an appropriate epithet for this little grassland mushroom.

Toxicity

Galerina graminea is described in many field guides as inedible or suspect. In view of the fact that other fungi in this genus are known to be toxic toadstools - for example Galerina marginata contains deadly poisonous amatoxins which are the same kinds of substances that make Amanita phalloides, the Death Cap, so dangerous - this species should not be collected for eating. It is unlikely that anyone would want to hunt for such insubstantial and uncommon little fungi for food, but they could easily be gathered by mistake when collecting Marasmius oreades (Fairy Ring Champignons) which grow in the same habitats. This again emphasises the importance of checking every single specimen that is gathered to eat.

Identification guide

Cap of Galerina graminea

Cap

Initially convex then bell-shaped or slightly umbonate with a striate margin; orange; 5 to 15mm in diameter when fully expanded.

Gills and stem of Galerina graminea

Gills

Widely spaced. orange; adnexed, sometimes almost free.

Stem

1 to 2mm in diameter and 2 to 5cm tall; cylindrical, paler orange than the cap.

 

Spores

Ellipsoidal, 7-9.5 x 4-5μm; smooth or finely warty.

Spore print

Brown.

Odour/taste

Odour not significant; taste faintly bitter.

Habitat & Ecological role

On grassy ground in coniferous and deciduous woods and in short-cropped or mown grassland, most often on calcium-rich soil.

Season

June to December in Britain and Ireland.

Similar species

Kuehneromyces mutabilis, a much larger mushroom, is similar in colour range but has a pale cap centre and a darker margin; it does not grow in grass but is confined to mainly hardwood substrates.

Reference Sources

Fascinated by Fungi, Pat O'Reilly 2016.

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.

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