Home Medicinal Plants May knightling and brick-red crack fungus

May knightling and brick-red crack fungus

by Josephine Andrews
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The edible May Knightling, with its floury smell and taste, is sometimes confused with the poisonous Brick Crack Fungus. Read here how dangerous such poisoning can be and how the two mushrooms differ from each other!

Speisepilz: Mairitterling (Calocybe gambosa)

This mushroom can be found especially in May – hence its name. It has a distinct smell of flour or fresh cucumbers. The rather fleshy hat is three to 17 centimeters wide, often pure white to slightly cream-colored. The edge is heavily curled in young mushrooms and unfolds with age. The lamellae are creamy white, narrow, very dense and thin. The stalk is between four to eight centimeters high.

The May knightling occurs in favorable (humid) weather in masses, often growing in rows or rings. It is mainly found in sparse deciduous or mixed forests, but also at the edges of forests or paths, as well as in gardens and parks.

Doppelganger: Brick-red crack fungus, May crack fungus (Inocybe erubescens)

Most crack fungi are poisonous, especially the brick crack fungus. It contains 20 times more of the poisonous substance muscarine than a toadstool. It can be found all over Europe. It usually grows in deciduous and mixed forests, parks, gardens and in bushes – often near beech, linden or oak trees.

The stalk of the brick red crack fungus measures between six and seven centimeters, the hat diameter is three to nine centimeters. As with all tear fungi, the cap (in older specimens) has tears from the edge to the middle. In addition, it often has a felty surface. In young specimens, the hat is more whitish to straw-colored. As it ages, it turns brick red. Then the risk of confusion with the Mairitterling is no longer very great. Also: All parts of the mushroom turn brick red when pressure is applied.

Distinction: The color of the spore powder can be considered a reliable distinguishing feature – the spore powder is brown in the case of the crack fungus, and white in the case of the May knightling.

Possible symptoms: The poison muscarine causes visual disturbances, hallucinations, vomiting and colic. Fatalities are also possible.

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