Tricholoma saponaceum

Tricholoma saponaceum is one of the most confusing, variable mushrooms we have here in Alberta. Its convex cap, usually with a broad umbo, varies in colour from pale greenish yellow, light green to greyish green, greyish olive, lead grey, bluish grey, greenish grey, to greyish brown to brown The key characteristics used for identifying these fungi are their somewhat greasy appearance, pink to orange colour at the stem’s base and a soapy odour and taste.

To make things even more complicated, none of these features are consistently present in each mushroom! T saponaceum usually grows in small groups, so one must examine each specimen carefully to arrive at a tentative ID. They’re commonly found growing in coniferous and deciduous forests across Alberta. The specific epithet saponaceum is derived from the
Latin ‘of or pertaining to soap’.

This article, including the photos, are generously brought to you by Ken Dies, an AMS member. Ken is an outstanding photographer and recipient of the 2016 AMS President’s Award.

Genus: Tricholoma

Species: saponaceum

Edibility: Non-Edible

Spore Print: White

Growing Season: Fall

Growing Season: Winter

Cap: Convex

Cap: Umbonate

Veil: Absent

Gill Attachment: Adnexed


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Gomphus clavatus

Gomphus clavatus is commonly found in the Northern Hemisphere and in North America it’s found in mountainous regions and along the west coast (during the winter). The mushroom ranges in color, with young fruiting bodies typically looking violet and progressing to tan-color as they age. It’s cap is lobed and irregular and depending on its stage of maturity, can range from broadly convex to very depressed.

Fruiting bodies can grow up to 10cm across and 5cm high. Gomphus clavatus have mycorrhizal associations with conifers and can be found growing near spruce or fir trees or on their own.

The mushroom is also known as the Pig’s Ear!

(Photo provided by Christine Costello)

Genus: Gomphus

Species: clavatus

Edibility: Edible

Growing Season: Fall

Growing Season: Winter

Cap: Convex

Cap: Depressed

Gill Attachment: Attached

Spore Print: Brown


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