Gymnopus peronatus (Bolton) Gray - Wood Woollyfoot

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

Gymnopus peronatus, Wood Woollyfoot, Scotland

Gymnopus peronatus (syn. Collybia peronata) is commonly referred to as the Wood Woollyfoot, on account of the lower half of the stem being covered in fine white hairs. This widespread and common mushroom of leaf litter is poisonous; its cap colour is also very variable, which can make confident identification more difficult. Commonly known as the Wood Woollyfoot, this attractive little mushroom is sometimes recorded under the synonymous scientific names Marasmius peronatus or Marasmius urens.

Gymnopus peronatus, Wood Woollyfoot, Wales

Distribution

This pretty little woodland mushroom is widespread and fairly common throughout Britain and Ireland as well as in all other European countries from Scandinavia to the Mediterranean. It occurs also in many regions of Asia as well as in some parts of North America.

Taxonomic history

British naturalist James Bolton created the basionym of this species when he described this species in 1788, calling it Agaricus peronatus. (Most gilled fungi were initially placed in a giant Agaricus genus, but the majority have since been redistributed to other genera leaving the 'true mushrooms' in Agaricus.) It was another British mycologist, Samuel Frederick Gray (1766 - 1828), who in 1821 transferred this species to the genus Gymnopus, thus establishing its currently-accepted scientific name Gymnopus peronatus.

Synonyms of Gymnopus peronatus include Agaricus peronatus BoltonAgaricus urens Bull.Marasmius peronatus (Bolton) Fr.Marasmius urens (Bull.) Fr.Collybia peronata (Bolton) P. Kumm., and Collybia urens (Bull.) P. Kumm.

Etymology

Gymnopus, the generic name, comes from Gymn- meaning naked or bare, and -pus meaning foot (or, in the case of a mushroom, stem). The specific epithet peronatus comes from Latin and means sheated - a reference to the woolly-booted appearance of the stem base..

Identification guide

Caps of Gymnopus peronatus, old specimens

Cap

3 to 6cm in diameter, the convex caps expand and flatten out at maturity, sometimes retaining a broad umbo. Cap colour is quite variable, ranging from pinkish-cream to yellowish-buff.

Old caps (left) often become shrunken and very wrinkled.

 

Gills of Gymnopus peronatus

Gills

Unlike other members of the former Collybia genus, whose gills remain white or pale cream, Gymnopus peronatus matures with red-brown gills - a useful distinguishing characteristic.

The moderately spaced adnexed or almost free gills are pale at first, becoming reddish-brown as the fruitbody matures.

Stem base of Gymnopus peronatus - Wood Woollyfoot

Stem

4 to 6mm in diameter and 4 to 8cm tall, the lower half of the stems of this species are covered in small pale hairs.

Spores of Gymnopus peronatus, Wood Woollyfoot

Spores

Elongated ellipsoidal, smooth, 8.5-10 x 3-4µm.

Show larger image

Spore print

White.

Odour/taste

Odour not distinctive; taste very peppery.

Habitat & Ecological role

Saprobic, in leaf litter beneath broadleaf trees and hedgerows, and under bracken on heathland.

Season

July to October in Britain and Ireland.

Similar species

Laccaria laccata, the Deceiver, is similarly coloured but does not have pale woolly hairs at the base of its stipe.

Culinary Notes

The Wood Woollyfoot is an inedible species because of its very hot and peppery taste.

Reference Sources

Pat O'Reilly; Fascinated by Fungi, 2016.

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

British Mycological Society (2010). English Names for Fungi

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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