Velvet Shank - Flammulina velutipes

Main features

  • Fruits in Winter

  • Grows on dead and dying deciduous wood

  • Fruits in dense clusters

  • Smells mild

  • Cap is orange and 2-10cm wide

  • Cap is convex and often quashed by neighbouring caps

  • Cap is slimy when wet

  • Stem has no ring or skirt

  • Stem is velvety and turns dark brown from the base up

  • Stem is a few mm wide, tough and up to 8cm tall

  • Gills are white at first turning cream/pale yellow

  • Gills are quite widely spaced and adnate

  • Flesh is creamy to brown

  • Spore print is white

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Velvet Shank - Flammulina velutipes

Edible mushroom - intermediate

Other common names: Winter Mushroom, Velvet Stem, Velvet Foot, Enoki, Enokitake

 

Scientific name meaning: Flammulina is derived from the Latin Flamma, meaning a flame. Velutipes is from the Modern Latin Velutinus, meaning velvety
 

Season - when will I find it? Winter
 

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

Description - what does it look like? 

Growth: The Velvet Shank is a saprobic fungus found fruiting in tight clusters on dead or dying deciduous wood 

Cap: Orange-coloured and darker in the centre, the caps are 2 to 10cm. They are convex and often squashed up by neighbouring caps. They are very slimy when wet and sticky to smooth when dry

Gills: The adnate gills (broadly attached to the stem) are a white colour at first and turn crea to pale yellow with age. They are quite widely spaced

Flesh: Creamy to brown

Stem: The stem is only a few mm thick, is tough and is covered in fine down. It turns brown with age but can stay pale near the cap. It can reach 8cm tall and has no skirt/ring

Smell: Mild 

Spore colour: White

Possible lookalikes Could be confused with the deadly poisonous Funeral Bell (Galerina marginata), but this has a fragile stem ring, a brown rather than orange cap, and rust-brown spores making the gills brown with age. There are small differences that are easily confused. Could also be confused with the Sulphur Tuft (Hypholoma fasiculare), but this has sulphur yellow gills, turning olive-green, and a sulphur yellow stem

Use as a food Must be cooked and can be used exactly as a cultivated mushroom. It has a nutty sweet flavour. It is also cultivated as Enoki, and these specimens are white with elongated stems

Use in medicine Shown to have high anti-cancer activity

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

Hazards None known

Importance to other species None known

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!