You are on page 1of 1

Some Edible Mushrooms of East Tennessee

Honey fungus (Armillaria mellea) - Honey fungus is a parasite of trees and shrubs. It is common in gardens and forests where it readily parasitises non-native trees and shrubs, often killing them. This mushroom appears in great abundance in mid-October on and around infected trees. There are a number of forms, sometimes regarded as separate species. The commonest form develops as dense clumps of honey coloured caps of long thin stems, which are velevety black at the bottom. These clumps form on the trunk and the large roots near the surface. Another common form produces mushrooms singly or in small clumps which have darker caps and short fat stems. This form usually appears on the ground around infected trees arising from the smaller roots. The stems are fibrous so only the caps are eaten which have a soft crunchy texture and rich flavour. Belwits (Lepista nuda, L. suaeva, L. sordida) - Blewits appear in early winter after the leaves have fallen and the first frosts have been. The field blewit, which has a thick, creamy brown, cap on a stout, violet, stem, grows in rings in short grass, often near trees. The wood blewit is pale violet all over, sometimes with a darker brown cap the colour of fallen leaves, is found amongst the fallen leaves under trees, especially oak and holly. The less common Lepista sordida is purple all over and is found in small troops under trees and shrubs. Blewits have a strong, almost perfumed mushroom flavour and a soft texture. Giant Puffball (Langermania gigantea) - This forms a large white irregular ball from the size of an orange to the size of the average pumpkin. They grow in rings in rough grassland and pastures appearing after heavy rains in summer and autumn. They are edible when the flesh is white but, as the spores develop, it becomes yellow and develops an unpleasant bitter taste. They have a crumbly texture when raw and a soft meaty texture when cooked, either way they taste of puffball. Small Puffballs (Lycoperdon spp., Calvatia spp., Bovista spp., Vascellum spp.) - This group of small spherical or club shaped fungi are similar to the giant puffball, except for their size and identical with regard to edibility, texture and taste. Some are grassland species and some exclusively woodland. The woodland species are found later in the year than the grassland species. Wood Ears (Auricularia auricula-judae) - A brown ear shaped jelly fungus commonly found on elder in winter, but may occur any time of year after heavy rains. It has a texture like inside-out pasta, firm on the oustide and soft in the middle, and is best cut into thin strips before cooking.