Tricholoma cingulatum (Almfelt) Jacobashch - Girdled Knight

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

Tricholoma cingulatum in a dune slack at Morfa Dyffryn, North Wales

Although many greyish-brown Tricholoma fungi are difficult to identify from macroscopic characters alone, the Girdled Knight is not one of these. A finely scaly grey-brown cap plus a distinct ring on the stem are key features. Microscopically, it is unusual in having narrow oval spores, whereas most fungi in this genus have broader oval spores.

This mycorrhizal mushroom is found with various kinds of willows, including Dwarf Willow in the slacks on some sand-dune systems.

Tricholoma cingulatum, Cambridgeshire

Distribution

In Britain and Ireland this is one of the less common of the 'knights', but it has been recorded in a number of locations in Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England, often in quite large groups. The Girdled Knight is quite common in Scandinavia, and it has been found also in Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and many other countries on mainland Europe.

Taxonomic history

The basionym of this species dates from an 1830 publication in Linnaea by Elias Magnus Fries wherein Amfelt's binomial scientific name for this species was recorded as Agaricus cingulatus. (In the early days of fungus taxonomy, most of the gilled mushrooms were included initially in the genus Agaricus, but the majority have since been relocated in newer genera to leave only the 'true mushroom' in the Agaricus genus.)

Tricholoma cingulatum, Cambridgeshire, England

The currently-accepted scientific name Tricholoma cingulatum dates from an 1890 publication, wherein E. Jacobashch (about whom I have no biographical information other than publication dates... can you help?) transferred this species to its present genus.

Synonyms of Tricholoma cingulatum include Tricholoma ramentaceum, Armillaria cingulata (Almfelt) Quél. and Agaricus cingulatus Almfelt ex Fr.

Etymology

The generic name Tricholoma means 'with hairs on the edge', which refers to the rim of the mushroom and is true of only a tiny minority of species (the knights) in the Tricholoma genus.

The specific epithet cingulatum means 'with a girdle, belt or collar'.

Identification guide

Cap of Tricholoma cingulatum

Cap

Convex at first, expanding with a slight umbo; pale grey or grey-brown, covered in fine grey-brown felty scales; initially roundish but often becoming irregular with a slightly wavy margin when mature; 3.5 to 6cm across.

Gills and stem of Tricholoma cingulatum

Gills

White, emarginate; moderately spaced.

Stem

Whitish with a woolly or cottony ring; cylindrical; 5 to 8cm long, 8 to 12mm diameter.

 

Spores

Ellipsoidal, smooth, 5-6 x 2.5-3.5µm; inamyloid.

Spore print

White.

Odour/taste

Taste and smell slightly mealy.

Habitat & Ecological role

Mycorrhizal, nearly always found with willows; sometimes in dune slacks with Dwarf Willow.

Season

June to October in Britain and Ireland.

Similar species

Tricholoma sciodes is similar but does not have a stem ring.

Tricholoma cingulatum, southern England

Culinary Notes

Tricholoma cingulatum is recorded as edible in many field guides, but care is necessary to avoid confusion with any of the slightly poisonous greyish Tricholoma species that can cause stomach upsets. It is easy for beginners to confuse this species with deadly poisonous pallid mushrooms such as Amanita virosa, and so we cannot recommend the Girdled Knight as a culinary collectible for anyone but the most experienced and capable of fungi foragers.

Reference Sources

Fascinated by Fungi, Pat O'Reilly 2016.

Kibby, G (2013) The Genus Tricholoma in Britain, published by Geoffrey Kibby

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.

Top of page...


Pat O'Reilly

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...