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.