Sheathed Woodtuft - Kuehneromyces mutablis

Main features

  • Fruits all year

  • Grows on dead and felled deciduous wood

  • Fruits in large clusters

  • Smells pleasant and aromatic

  • Cap 3-8cm, tan coloured and dries buff from the centre out

  • Cap starts off domed, with a broad umbo, and flattens out with age

  • Stem has a ring that is usually flared and stained brown on top from dropping spores

  • Stem is 0.5-1cm wide and 3-8cm tall, with a curve to it

  • Above ring, stem is pale cream below it increasingly darkens to dark brown at the base

  • The stem is scaly towards the base

  • Pale cream gills darken to a peach with age

  • Gills are crowded and adnate

  • Flesh is tan coloured and does not change colour when damaged

  • Spore print is dark orange-brown

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Sheathed Woodtuft - Kuehneromyces mutabilis

Edible mushroom - advanced

Other common names: Two-Tone Pholiota, Brown Stew Fungus

 

Scientific name meaning: Kuehneromyces comes from the name of an American mycologist, Calvin Kuehner. Mutabilis is dervived from the Latin Mutatus, meaning change or alteration - a reference to the colour change when this mushroom's cap is wet or dry
 

Season - when will I find it? All year
 

Habitat - where will I find it? On dead and felled deciduous wood

Description - what does it look like? 

Growth: The Sheathed Woodtuft is a saprobic fungus found fruiting in large clusters on dead or felled deciduous wood 

Cap: The cap is a tan colour when wet and dries a buff colour from the centre out. This gives it the effect of having two tones. It starts out convex, with a broad umbo (bump), and flattens with age. It reaches 3-8cm wide and has thin flesh

3 to 8cm in diameter, convex becoming flattened with a broad umbo; bright tan, drying out to pale ochre from the centre and giving a two-toned (zonate) appearance. The cap flesh is pale tan and quite thin

Gills: The adnate gills (broadly attached to the stem) are a cream colour at first and turn slightly peach with age. They are also crowded

Flesh: Pale tan with no colour change

Stem: The stem is 0.5-1cm in diameter and 3-8cm tall, and normally has a curve. It has a ring (or skirt) that is usually flared out and stained brown on top by dropping spores. 

Above the ring, the stem colour is cream. Below the ring, it darkens increasingly towards the stem base to a deep brown. The stem below the ring is scaly, with the scales appearing white-grey

Smell: pleasant and aromatic

Spore colour: Dark orange-brown

Possible lookalikes Could be very easily confused with the deadly poisonous Funeral Bell (Galerina marginata). There are small differences that are easily confused. The Funeral Bell prefers, coniferous wood, but it can be found on deciduous wood, too; has a silkier stem base;  smells mealy, and dries from the outside of its cap to the centre. This is absolutely a mushroom for advanced foragers only

Use as a food Must be cooked and can be used exactly as a cultivated mushroom. It has a very rich meaty but sweet flavour. This mushroom is often confused with the deadly poisonous Funeral Bell, so should be left to advanced foragers only

Use in medicine One study found Sheathed Woodtuft had some influenza anti-viral activity. Under labs conditions, extracts have been found to inhibit the growth of certain cancers.

If you are suffering from any ailment or need medical advice, please see your General Practitioner

Hazards This mushroom is very easily confused with the deadly poisonous Funeral Bell so should be left to advanced foragers only

Importance to other species Provides food for a the larvae of a number of fly species

Always stay safe when foraging. You need to be 100% sure of your identification, 100% sure that your foraged item is edible, and 100% sure that you are not allergic to it (it is good practice to always try a small amount of any new food you are consuming). If in doubt, leave it out!