Scotch bonnet (mushroom)
|M. oreades the "Fairy Ring" mushroom.|
(Bolton) Fr (1836)
|gills on hymenium|
cap is convexor umbonate
|hymenium is adnate|
|stipe is bare|
|spore print is white|
|ecology is saprotrophic|
The Scotch bonnet (Marasmius oreades) is also known as the fairy ring mushroom. The latter name tends to cause some confusion, as many other mushrooms grow in fairy rings (such as the edible Agaricus campestris, the poisonous Chlorophyllum molybdites, and many others).
Distribution and habitat
Marasmius oreades grows extensively throughout North America and Europe in the summer and autumn (fall), or year-round in warmer climates. It loves grassy areas such as lawns, meadows, and even dunes in coastal areas.
It grows gregariously in troops, arcs, or rings (type II, which causes the grass to grow and become greener). The cap is 1-5 cm across; bell-shaped with a somewhat inrolled margin at first, becoming broadly convex with an even or uplifted margin, but often retaining a slight central bump; dry; smooth; pale tan or buff, occasionally white, or reddish tan; usually changing color markedly as it dries out; the margin sometimes faintly lined.
The bare, pallid stem grows up to about 7cm by 5mm in diameter.
The gills are attached to the stem or free from it, fairly distant (rather a distinctive character), and white or pale tan, dropping a white spore-print. The spores, themselves, are 7-10 x 4-6 µ; smooth; elliptical; inamyloid. Cystidia absent. Pileipellis without broom cells.
Many mushroom connoisseurs are fond of M. oreades and its sweet taste lends it to baked goods such as cookies. It is also used in foods such as soups, stews, etc. Traditionally, the stems (which tend to be fibrous and unappetizing) are cut off and the caps are threaded and dried in strings. The reason why this mushroom is so sweet-tasting is due to the presence of trehalose, a type of sugar that allows M. oreades to cheat death. When exposed to water after being completely dried out, the trehalose is digested as the cells completely revive, causing cellular reproduction and the creation of new spores to pick up again.
- Marasmius oreades (MushroomExpert.com)
- Marasmius oreades, the fairy ring mushroom, leprechaun. Tom Volk's Fungus of the Month for March 2003
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