Mycena inclinata (Fr.) Quél. - Clustered Bonnet

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

Mycena inclinata - Clustered Bonnet

Nearly always found on oak roots, stumps or fallen trunks and branches or on dead parts of standing oak trees, the Clustered Bonnet is still referred to by some people as the Oak Bonnet. It has (depending on your nose!) either a spicy or a rancid odour that helps distinguish it from the many similar bonnet mushrooms.

The crenelate (scalloped) cap margin and white woolly base of the stem are features that help separate this bonnet from several others of similar size and equally varied range of colours.

Distribution

Mycena inclinata, a group of yound fruitbodies on a mossy oak stump

As you might expect from its English name, the Clustered Bonnet occurs in bunched groups more often than singly, and it is found throughout Britain and Ireland wherever oak trees live... or more accurately where they die. Globally Mycena inclinata is found throughout the northern hemisphere and much of the southern hemisphere too. This species is widespread across mainland Europe, particularly in northern and central countries, and it is recorded from many parts of North Africa, Asia, North America and Australasia.

Taxonomic history

The basionym of this species was defined when, in 1838, the great Swedish mycologist Elias Magnus Fries described the Clustered Bonnet and named it Agaricus inclinatus. Famous french mycologist Lucien Quélet transferred this species to its present genus Mycena in 1872, thereby establishing its currently accepted scientific name Mycena inclinata.

Synonyms of Mycena inclinata include Agaricus inclinatus Fr., Agaricus galericulatus var. calopus Fr., and Mycena galericulata var. calopus (Fr.) P. Karst.

Etymology

The specific epithet inclinata comes from Latin and means 'sloping inwards', as the stem bases invariably do when these bonnet mushrooms form clusters.

Identification guide

Cap of Mycena inclinata

Cap

2 to 3.5cm across; conical, becoming bell shaped and eventually broadly umbonate; smooth with striations almost to centre; margin scalloped or sharply toothed; various shades of grey or greyish-brown, becoming darker towards the centre.

Stem

5 to 10cm long and 2 to 4mm in diameter.; white or pale brown at the apex, progressively darker red-brown towards the downy base; no stem ring.

Gills and stem of Mycena inclinata

Gills

Adnate; white turning pinkish-grey.

 

Cheilocystidia of <em>Mycena inclinata</em>

Cheilocystidia

Irregularly clavate, up to 35µm long, with thin 'stems' supporting remarkably long, forking 'medusa' heads.

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Pleurocystidia

Absent.

Spores of Mycena inclinata

Spores

Ellipsoidal, smooth, 8-10 x 5-7µm; amyloid.

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Spore print

White.

Odour/taste

Odour slightly farinaceous or rancid; taste not distinctive.

Habitat & Ecological role

Saprobic, nearly always on dead oak timber.

Season

June to November in Britain and Ireland.

Similar species

There are many other medium-sized, bell-shaped fungi in the Mycena genus including Mycena polygramma and Mycena arcangeliana; however, the iodine odour of the Mycena arcangeliana and the grooved stems of Mycena polygramma help to distinguish them from Mycena inclinata.

Culinary Notes

Mycena inclinata on a well-rotted fallen oak trunk

Although some field guides suggest that these little mushrooms may be edible, others express doubts. They are insubstantial and certainly not highly prized edibles, and so we recommend that the Clustered Bonnet is not considered as an edible mushroom.

Reference Sources

Fascinated by Fungi, Pat O'Reilly 2016.

Penny Cullington, (Oct. 2013). British Mycenas - Brief Descriptions.

Giovanni Robich, (2003). Mycena d'Europa; Associazione Micologica Bresadola ; Vicenza : Fondazione Centro Studi Micologici.

British Mycological Society. 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.

Acknowledgement

This page includes pictures kindly contributed by David Kelly.

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