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Tubaria furfuracea (Pers.) Gillet - Scurfy Twiglet

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

Tubaria furfuracea, Scurfy Twiglet

This hazel-brown little toadstool is hygrophanous and becomes more ochraceous as it dries out. What helps to differentiate it from several similar Tubaria species is its scurfy (finely scaly) cap surface and the cottony white mycelium at its stem base.

Tubaria furfuracea in a woodland habitat

Distribution

Tubaria furfuracea is common and widespread throughout Britain and Ireland. The Scurfy Twiglet occurs also in most parts of mainland Europe. This little mushroom is also very common in North America.

Tubaria furfuracea, Pembrokeshire, Wales UK

Taxonomic history

In 1801 Christiaan Hendrik Persoon described this little mushroom and gave it the scientific name Agaricus furfuraceus (at a time when gilled fungi were generally placed into the genus Agaricus, since largely redistributed across many other newer genera).

It was French mycologist Claude-Casimir Gillet who, in 1876, transferred this species to its present genus, thereby establishing its currently-accepted scientific name as Tubaria furfuracea.

Synonyms of Tubaria furfuracea include Agaricus furfuraceus Pers., and Naucoria furfuracea (Pers.) P. Kumm.

Tubaria furfuracea in woodland

Etymology

Tubaria is a small genus of about 20 species worldwide. The genus name may refer to a pipeline or connection.

The specific epithet furfuracea is derived from Latin and means 'tending to be bran-like' (scurfy or finely scaly).

Identification guide

Cap of Tubaria furfuracea

Cap

The cap, initially convex and then flattened or slightly depressed, 1 - 4m in diameter, has a finely striate margin often fringed with veil fragments. The surface of young caps is minutely hairy and hazel brown, turning creamy ochre with age or in prolonged dry weather; flesh thin, fragile, pale buff; odor fungal, taste mild.

Gills of Tubaria furfuracea

Gills

The fairly distant gills, much the same colour as the cap, are adnate or slightly decurrent.

Stem

Hollow, fibrous, cylindrical, 2-5cm long and 2-7mm in diameter; faint ring zone; colour similar to cap; downy white mycelium at stem base.

Cheilocystidia of <em>Tubaria furfuracea</em>

Cystidia

Cheilocystidia (on gill edges) are narrowly cylindrical to clavate and up to 40µm long.

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Spores of <em>Tubaria furfuracea</em>

Spores

Ellipsoidal, smooth, 6.5-10 x 4.5-6.5µm.

Spore print

Pale rusty brown.

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Odour/taste

Odour slightly mushroomy; taste mild, faintly of radish.

Habitat & Ecological role

Usually trooping, sometimes tufted, on twigs and other woody debris; also on wood chip used as a mulch in parks and gardens.

Season

Spring to autumn in Britain and Ireland.

Similar species

Tubaria dispersa has a smoother, paler cap and is always associated with Hawthorn trees and bushes.

Culinary Notes

This little mushroom is generally considered inedible.

Tubaria furfuracea, New Forest, Hampshire UK

Reference Sources

BMS List of English Names for Fungi

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.

Acknowledgements

This page includes pictures kindly contributed by David Kelly and Simon Harding,

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