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Clitocybe fragrans (With.) P. Kumm. - Fragrant Funnel

Phylum: Basidiomycota - Class: Agaricomycetes - Order: Agaricales - Family: Tricholomataceae

Clitocybe fragrans - Fragrant Funnel

Separating the many pale funnel-shaped mushrooms that grow in woodlands is not easy, especially if you rely on macroscopically visible features, but as with Clitocybe fragrans a good sense of smell can be a great asset.

Group of Clitocybe fragrans fruitbodies

Distribution

Clitocybe fragrans is fairly common and widespread in Britain and Ireland; this species is also found across most of mainland Europe.

Taxonomic history

When English botanist William Wittering (1741 - 1799) described this species in 1792, he gave it the name Agaricus fragrans. (Most gilled fungi were initially placed in a giant Agaricus genus, now redistributed to many other genera.) In 1871 German mycologist Paul Kummer transferred this woodland/grassland mushroom to the genus Clitocybe, renaming it Clitocybe fragrans.

Synonyms of Clitocybe fragrans include Agaricus fragrans With., Omphalia fragrans (With.) Gray, Lepista fragrans (With.) Harmaja, and Clitocybe depauperata (J.E. Lange) P.D. Orton, and Pseudolyophyllum fragrans (With.) Raithelh.

Etymology

The generic name Clitocybe (usually pronounced 'klite-oss-a-bee') means 'sloping head', while the specific epithet fragrans is Latin and means 'fragrant' - a reference to the aniseed-like odour of this mushroom.

Identification guide

Cap of Clitocybe fragrans - Fragrant Funnel

Cap

Caps are initially convex and expand to become almost flat, often with a slight central depression; 1.5 to 4cm in diameter, smooth, matt; hygrophanous, greyish brown when wet becoming creamy white when dry; margin sometimes translucently striate. The thin cap flesh is whitish.

Decurrent gills of Clitocybe fragrans - Fragrant Funnel

Gills

The moderately crowded gill are adnate to slightly decurrent and closely concolorous with the cap but often with a pinkish tinge.

Stem

The smooth or slightly fibrous stem is cylindrical and creamy white or pale buff, without a ring.

Spore, Clitocybe fragrans

Spores

Ellipsoidal, smooth, 6.5-9 x 3.5-5μm.

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Spore print

Pale cream, sometimes with a faint orange tinge.

Odour/taste

Smells distinctly of aniseed; taste not distinctive.

Habitat & Ecological role

Singly or more often in small groups in deciduous and mixed woodland, on leaf litter; sometimes on roadside verges beside hedges or in parkland and churchyards.

Season

Late summer and autumn

Similar species

Clitocybe gibba, the Common Funnel, is typically larger and has a pinkish buff to ochre cap.

Clitocybe odora has a strong aniseed smell, but it is usually larger than C. fragrans and when young and fresh it has a blue cap.

Clitocybe fragrans, Fragrant Funnel. France

Culinary Notes

Clitocybe fragrans is reported by some authorities to be poisonous.

Reference Sources

Fascinated by Fungi, Pat O'Reilly 2016.

BMS English Names for Fungi

Courtecuisse. R. & Duhem. B., Mushrooms and Toadstools of Britain & Europe (1995), p.173.

Bon, M., The Mushrooms and Toadstools of Britain and North-western Europe (1987), p.135.

Funga Nordica, Henning Knudsen and Jan Vesterholt, 2008.

Dictionary of the Fungi; Paul M. Kirk, Paul F. Cannon, David W. Minter and J. A. Stalpers; CABI, 2008.

Taxonomic history and synonym information on these pages is drawn from many sources but in particular from the British Mycological Society's GB Checklist of Fungi and (for basidiomycetes) on Kew's Checklist of the British & Irish Basidiomycota.

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