Cortinarius caperatus

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Gypsy mushroom)
Jump to: navigation, search
Cortinarius caperatus
Rozites caperata 20100919w.JPG
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Agaricales
Family: Cortinariaceae
Genus: Cortinarius
Species: C. caperatus
Binomial name
Cortinarius caperatus
(Pers.) Fr. (1838)

Rozites caperata (Pers.) P. Karst.
Pholiota caperata (Pers.) Gillet
Dryophila caperata (Pers.) Quél.
Togaria caperata (Pers.) W.G. Sm.

Cortinarius caperatus
View the Mycomorphbox template that generates the following list
Mycological characteristics
gills on hymenium

cap is convex

or umbonate
hymenium is adnate
stipe has a ring

spore print is ochre

to brown
ecology is mycorrhizal
edibility: edible

Cortinarius caperatus, commonly known as the gypsy mushroom, is a highly esteemed edible mushroom of the genus Cortinarius found in northern regions of Europe and North America. It was known as Rozites caperata for many years, before genetic studies revealed it lay within the large genus Cortinarius. The ochre-coloured fruiting bodies appear in autumn in coniferous and beech woods, as well as heathlands in late summer and autumn. The gills are free and clay-coloured and the smell and taste mild. Although mild-tasting and highly regarded, the gypsy mushroom is often infested with maggots.


The gypsy mushroom has a checkered taxonomic history. It was originally described as Agaricus caperatus in 1796 by mycologist Christian Hendrik Persoon, who noted it grew in beech woods.[1] The specific epithet caperatus is Latin for “wrinkled”.[2] It was transferred to the genus Cortinarius by the Swedish mycologist Elias Magnus Fries.[3] Later it was transferred to Pholiota in 1874 by Claude Casimir Gillet.[4] This was followed by Pier Andrea Saccardo. The genus Rozites (after mycologist Ernst Roze) was established by Finnish mycologist Petter Adolf Karsten in 1879 to accommodate the species on the basis of the mushroom having a double veil, and it was known as Rozites caperata (Pers.) P. Karst. for many years.[5] The variant Rozites caperatus was and is also sometimes seen, but this may be a mistake.[6]

Genetic analysis in 2000 and 2002 showed that the genus Rozites was not a discrete group and its members were nested within Cortinarius,[5][7] and that the gypsy mushroom was closely related to the New Zealand species Rozites (now Cortinarius) meleagris and R. castanella (now Cortinarius subcastanellus).[5] Hence it was once more placed within Cortinarius.[8]

Common names include the gypsy mushroom,[9] and wrinkled rozites.[10] An unusual common name is granny′s nightcap in Finland.[2]


Cortinarius caperatus has a buff to brownish-ochre cap 5–10 cm (2–4 in) diameter, which is covered with whitish fibres. The surface has a wrinkled and furrowed texture.[10] It may have a lilac tinge when young. It is convex initially before expanding and flattening with a boss in the centre. The stipe is 4–7 cm (1.6–2.6 in) high and 1–1.5 cm (0.4–0.6 in) thick and slightly swollen at the base, and is whitish with a whitish ring, which is initially attached to the cap. The free gills, are clay-coloured; the spores give an ochre-brown spore print. The warty almond-shaped spores measure 10–13 × 8–9 µm. The flesh is cream-coloured and the taste mild.[11]


Similar-looking North American species include Agrocybe praecox, which lacks the wrinkled cap, and is found in cultivated areas, and Phaeolepiota aurea, which has powdery-granular surface.[9] In central Europe, old specimens could be mistaken for the highly poisonous Inocybe erubescens in summer, and young mushrooms for the inedible Cortinarius traganus, although the latter is readily distinguished by its unpleasant odour.[12]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Cortinarius caperatus is found across northern Europe, mainly in Scandinavia. In the British Isles it is uncommon outside the Scottish Highlands[2] and the New Forest.[13] It is widely found in northern parts of North America.[9] Cortinarius caperatus is found in subarctic areas of western Greenland; it is rare, growing in association with white birch (Betula pubescens).[14] The gypsy mushroom also grows in temperate Asia, having been recorded growing with bilberry near oriental beech and fir near Pamukova in the Marmara Region of Turkey.[15] It is also found in boggy areas of the taiga (boreal pine forest) in western Siberia.[16] It can be found on the markets in the Tibetan areas of Yunnan and Sichuan and also in Bhutan. In addition to the gypsy mushroom, in the Tibeto-Himalayan region the Himalayan gypsy (Cortinarius / Rozites emodenis), a close relative with a purple hue, is also commonly eaten and frequently traded.[17]

Fruiting bodies sprout from August to October in conifer and beech woods, as well as heather (often close by sphagnum) in Scotland. It is mycorrhizal but non-selective in its hosts.[2] It prefers sandy soils and avoids chalky ones, and may be found in the same habitats as Boletus badius, Paxillus involutus, and chanterelles.[18] It forms relationships with Pinus sylvestris.[19] It is often found near huckleberry in North America.[9]


Cortinarius caperatus is a highly regarded edible mushroom with a mild flavour. It is said to mix well with stronger-flavoured fungi such as chanterelles, boletes, brittlegills or milk-caps.[2] However, picked mushrooms are often infested with maggots.[18] Mycologist David Arora recommends discarding the tough stipes.[9] It can be dried for later use readily.[10] It is sold commercially in Finland.[20]


This mushroom is known to hyperaccumulate heavy metals from its environment. Following the Chernobyl disaster, resulting in radioactive contamination in countries as distant as Scandinavia, health authorities in these countries caution against overconsumption of C. caperatus.

As some species of fungi - among others the gypsy mushroom, enrich more radioactivity from the soil than other species the Chernobyl nuclear disaster still form a risk of elevated radioactivity in the gypsy mushrooms in many countries throughout Europe.[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Persoon CH (1796). Observationes mycologicae. 1. Lipsiae: Apud Petrum Phillippum Wolf. pp. 48–49. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Nilson S, Persson O (1977). Fungi of Northern Europe 1: Larger Fungi (Excluding Gill-Fungi). Penguin. p. 86. ISBN 0-14-063005-8. 
  3. ^ Fries EM. (1838). Epicrisis Systematis Mycologici: Seu Synopsis Hymenomycetum [A Critical Study of Mycology: A Synopsis of the Hymenomycetes] (in Latin). 1–2. Uppsala, Sweden: Regiae Academiae Typographia. p. 256. 
  4. ^ Gillet CG (1874). Les Hyménomycètes, ou, Description de tous les champignons (fungi) :qui croissent en France, avec l'indication de leurs propriétés utiles ou vénéneuses. 3. Alençon, France: Ch. Thomas. p. Plate 517. 
  5. ^ a b c Peintner U, Horak E, Moser M, Vilgalys R (2002). "Phylogeny of Rozites, Cuphocybe and Rapacea inferred from ITS and LSU rDNA sequences". Mycologia. 94 (4): 620–29. JSTOR 3761713. doi:10.2307/3761713. 
  6. ^ See for instance the Species Fungorum entry and the Mushroom Expert entry. The genus name Rozites is a construction based on the name Roze (after mycologist Ernst Roze) and it is difficult to know whether it should be masculine or feminine.
  7. ^ Høiland K, Holst-Jensen A (2000). "Cortinarius Phylogeny and Possible Taxonomic Implications of ITS rDNA Sequences". Mycologia. 92 (4): 694–710. JSTOR 3761427. doi:10.2307/3761427. 
  8. ^ Peintner U, Horak E, Moser M, Vilgalys R (2002). "Rozites, Cuphocybe and Rapacea are taxonomic synonyms of Cortinarius: New combinations and new names". Mycotaxon. 83: 447–51. 
  9. ^ a b c d e Arora D. (1986). Mushrooms Demystified: a Comprehensive Guide to the Fleshy Fungi (2nd ed.). Berkeley: Ten Speed Press. p. 412. ISBN 0-89815-169-4. 
  10. ^ a b c Lamaison J-L, Polese J-M (2005). The Great Encyclopedia of Mushrooms. Könemann. p. 138. ISBN 3-8331-1239-5. 
  11. ^ Phillips R. (2006). Mushrooms. Pan MacMillan. p. 207. ISBN 0-330-44237-6. 
  12. ^ Zeitlmayr L. (1976). Wild Mushrooms:An Illustrated Handbook. Hertfordshire: Garden City Press. p. 79. ISBN 0-584-10324-7. 
  13. ^ Fungal Records Database for the British Isles
  14. ^ Elborne SA, Knudsen H (1990). "Larger Fungi Associated with Betula pubescens in Greenland". In Fredskild B, Ødum S. The Greenland Mountain Birch Zone, Southwest Greenland. Museum Tusculanum Press. pp. 77–80. ISBN 9788763512046. 
  15. ^ Akata I, Kabaktepe Ş, Akgül H (2015). "Cortinarius caperatus (Pers.) Fr., A New Record For Turkish Mycobiota". Kastamonu University Journal of Forestry Faculty. 15 (1): 86–89. 
  16. ^ Filippova NV, Thormann MN (2014). "Communities of larger fungi of ombrotrophic bogs in West Siberia" (PDF). Mires and Peat. 14: 1–22. 
  17. ^ Winkler, D. 2008: The Mushrooming Fungi Market in Tibet exemplified by Cordyceps sinensis and Tricholoma matsutake. In: JIATS 4 (December 2008), In the Shadow of the Leaping Dragon: Demography, Development, and the Environment in Tibetan Areas. THL #T5571, 46 pp.,
  18. ^ a b Haas H (1969). The Young Specialist Looks at Fungi. Burke. p. 124. ISBN 0-222-79414-3. 
  19. ^ Trappe JM (1962). "Fungus Associates of Ectotrophic Mycorrhizae". The Botanical Review. 28 (4): 538–606. JSTOR 4353659. doi:10.1007/bf02868758. 
  20. ^ Pelkonen R, Alfthan G, Järvinen O (2008). Element Concentrations in Wild Edible Mushrooms in Finland. Helsinki: Finnish Environment Institute. p. 32. ISBN 978-952-11-3153-0. 
  21. ^ YLE (Finnish Broadcasting corporation) news 26.4.2016