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Armillaria mellea (complex)                     Honey Mushroom group                

The Honey Mushroom can fruit on the ground but more often it is found in large clusters on old stumps or logs.  The top picture is a log in the temperate rain forest of western North America.    Around the Great Lakes Armillaria tends to fruit late in the year.  Its colour, white spore print, ridge-like ring, and fruiting on stumps aid in identification.   It is highly regarded by many as an edible.  In recent years the Honey Mushroom complex has been broken up into a number of species which are sometimes difficult to tell apart in the field but all are edible.    Some species are serious pathogens of forest trees.   A characteristic feature of this fungus is the black, flattened 'bootlace' rhizomorphs that can be found under the bark of infected logs and stumps.   Rhizomorphs can transport nutrients from an original site of colonization to another tree many metres away.  

Caps are 3-10 cm across, dry, covered with dark scaly tufts, especially near the centre, convex, becoming flat with a central umbo, and pale yellow-brown to rust-brown. Gills are attached to short-decurrent, close to well-spaced, and whitish staining rusty. Stalks areup to 15 cm tall by 6-20 mm broad, and coloured as cap or paler. Rings are white, thick and flaring. Spore prints are white. Recognized by its colour, scaly cap and flaring ring, this white-spored species fruits in clusters on wood or stumps in late fall.   LIGHT-SPORED KEY     HOME          NEXT