The Tricholomataceae constitutes a very large group of more than 100 genera all with white or very pale flesh and spore prints ranging from white to pale pink or lilac. Some mushrooms in this group are edible while others (Clitocybe rivulosa is one such example) can be killers.
Many of these mushrooms are quite distinctive and can be identified with high confidence by careful examination with the naked eye; however, there are some superficially similar fungi in this group where one species is a prime edible and the other a serious poisoner. Great caution is therefore essential when gathering wild mushrooms of the Tricholomataceae family for food; the grey and grey-brown species are best avoided altogether.
There are at least 750 European species recorded in the family Tricholomataceae.
Spore prints from the Tricholomataceae are white, off-white, pale pink or pale lilac, but in most other macroscopic characteristics there is great diversity within the group. Gills may be adnexed, adnate or decurrent; stipes may have a ring or no ring; and the caps come in the full range of fungus colours - white, yellow, orange, pink, brown, green and grey - and in the case of Clitocybe odora, pictured here, even bright blue!
For more information about fungi in the families Tricholomataceae and Hydnangiaceae and a deeper insight into the ecology and structure of species featured in our Tricholomataceae Gallery pages, please see Pat O'Reilly's latest book Fascinated by Fungi, author-signed copies of which are available online here...