Clitopilus prunulus

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The Miller
Clitopilus prunulus - Lindsey.jpg
Scientific classification
C. prunulus
Binomial name
Clitopilus prunulus

Agaricus prunulus Scop., 1772
Agaricus orcella Bull., 1793
Paxillopsis prunulus (Scop.) J.E.Lange
Pleuropus prunulus (Scop.) Murrill

Clitopilus prunulus
View the Mycomorphbox template that generates the following list
gills on hymenium
cap is convex
hymenium is decurrent
stipe is bare
spore print is pink
ecology is saprotrophic
edibility: edible but not recommended

Clitopilus prunulus, commonly known as the miller or the sweetbread mushroom,[1] is an edible pink-spored basidiomycete mushroom found in grasslands in Europe and North America.[2] Growing solitary to gregarious in open areas of conifer/hardwood forests; common under Bishop pine (Pinus muricata) along the coast north of San Francisco; fruiting shortly after the fall rains. It has a grey to white cap and decurrent gills.


Tyrolean naturalist Giovanni Antonio Scopoli described the miller as Agaricus prunulus in 1772.[3] French mycologist Pierre Bulliard called it Agaricus orcella in 1793. German botanist Paul Kummer erected the genus Clitopilus and gave the miller its current name in 1871.[4] C. prunulus is the type species of the genus, the limits of which have been redefined more than once.[5]

Populations from Yunnan and Taiwan previously considered consistent with C. prunulus were described as a separate species—Clitopilus amygdaliformis—in 2007.[6]

Its common names—the miller, and sweetbread mushroom—are derived from its distinctive smell.


The cap is initially convex when young, but in maturity flattens out, usually with a shallow central depression; the margin is often inrolled.[7] The cap ranges from white to light gray or yellow. It has a characteristic feel similar to the touch of chamois skin, usually being dry,[7] but is sticky when moist. It measures 2 to 10 cm (34 to 3+78 in) in diameter. The gills are decurrent in attachment to the stipe, spaced together rather closely, and whitish, although they often develop a pinkish hue in age.[7] The stipe is 2 to 8 cm (34 to 3+18 in) long × 4–15 mm thick, and white or sometimes grayish;[8] it may be located off-center or enlarged at the base.[7] The mushroom has a mealy odor, somewhat like cucumber.[9] The spore print is pink. Spores are 9–12 × 5–6.5 µm.[10] Scopoli described it smelling like freshly ground flour. C. prunulus may be found growing on the ground in hardwood and coniferous woods[7] in the summer and autumn.

The variant C. prunulus var. orcellus has a slimy cap and white colors.

Distribution and habitat[edit]

C. prunulus has been recorded from Varsey Rhododendron Sanctuary in Sikkim,[11] and from under cork oak in Morocco.[12]

It is found in Valdaysky National Park in Russia.[5]

A specimen identified as C. cf prunulus collected from Kermandie Track in southern Tasmania was related though basal to other collections of the species.[5]

Edibility and volatile compounds[edit]

The species is considered edible, but resembles some poisonous species.[8]

The cucumber odor of this species has been attributed to trans-2-nonenal, which is present at a concentration of 17 µg per gram of crushed tissue.[9] C. prunulus contains the volatile compound 1-octen-3-ol, making it unpalatable to the coastal Pacific Northwest banana slug, Ariolimax columbianus.[13]

Similar-looking species[edit]

The poisonous Clitocybe rivulosa (fool's funnel) looks similar. The miller has pink spores whereas those of the fools funnel are white, the gills of the miller are more easily pulled away, and the miller smells of raw pastry. The miller also prefers woodland whereas fool's funnel is a grassland species.[14]

The poisonous Clitocybe dealbata has a similar cap color, but a white spore print.[8]


  1. ^ "Clitopilus prunulus (MushroomExpert.Com)". Retrieved 2009-01-20.
  2. ^ Phillips, Roger (2010). Mushrooms and Other Fungi of North America. Buffalo, NY: Firefly Books. p. 153. ISBN 978-1-55407-651-2.
  3. ^ Scopoli, Giovanni Antonio (1772). Flora Carniolica. Vol. 2 (Edn 2 ed.). Impensis Ioannis Pauli Krauss, bibliopolae vindobonensis. p. 437.
  4. ^ Kummer, Paul (1871). Der Führer in die Pilzkunde (in German) (1 ed.). Zerbst, Germany: Luppe. p. 97.
  5. ^ a b c Kluting, Kerri L.; Bergemann, Sarah E.; Baroni, Timothy J. (2014). "Toward a stable classification of genera within the Entolomataceae: A phylogenetic re-evaluation of the Rhodocybe-Clitopilus clade". Mycologia. 106 (6): 1127–1142. doi:10.3852/13-270. PMID 24987124. S2CID 40696041.
  6. ^ Zhu L. Yang (2007). "Clitopilus amygdaliformis, a new species from tropical China" (PDF). Mycotaxon. 100: 241–246.
  7. ^ a b c d e Trudell, Steve; Ammirati, Joe (2009). Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest. Timber Press Field Guides. Portland, OR: Timber Press. p. 141. ISBN 978-0-88192-935-5.
  8. ^ a b c Davis, R. Michael; Sommer, Robert; Menge, John A. (2012). Field Guide to Mushrooms of Western North America. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 156. ISBN 978-0-520-95360-4. OCLC 797915861.
  9. ^ a b Wood WF, Brandes ML, Watson RL, Jones RL, Largent DL (1994). "trans-2-Nonenal, the cucumber odor of mushrooms". Mycologia. 86 (4): 561–563. doi:10.1080/00275514.1994.12026450.
  10. ^ Healy, Rosanne A.; Huffman, Donald R.; Tiffany, Lois H.; Knaphaus, George (2008). Mushrooms and Other Fungi of the Midcontinental United States (Bur Oak Guide). Iowa City: University of Iowa Press. p. 75. ISBN 978-1-58729-627-7.
  11. ^ Das K (2010). "Diversity and conservation of wild mushrooms in Sikkim with special reference to Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary". NeBIO. 1 (2): 1–13.
  12. ^ Yakhlef SB, Kerdouh B, Mousain D, Ducousso M, Duponnois R, Abourouh M (2009). "Phylogenetic diversity of Moroccan cork oak woodlands fungi". Biotechnol. Agron. Soc. Environ. 13 (4): 521–28.
  13. ^ Wood WF, Archer CL, Largent DL (2001). "1-Octen-3-ol, a banana slug antifeedant from mushrooms". Biochemical Systematics and Ecology. 29 (5): 531–533. doi:10.1016/s0305-1978(00)00076-4. PMID 11274773.
  14. ^ Wright, John (2007). River Cottage Handbook No.1 Mushrooms. London: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC. ISBN 978-0-7475-8932-7.

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