Beautiful Shrooms.

From Kestrel. Click for full size.


This is called a “shrump”; it is a hump in the duff caused by a mushroom coming up from underneath. Just like a Christmas present, you can’t tell what’s in there until you open it.


Inside the shrump is Russula brevipes.


What on Earth is THAT? Well, believe it or not, this too used to be Russula brevipes. It was attacked by another fungus that is parasitic on other mushrooms – Hypomyces lactiflourum.


Hypomyces lactiflourum is not always so “mushroomy” looking. Many times the host is so deformed you can hardly tell what it was. In this one you can even still see where the gills are.

© Kestrel, all rights reserved.


  1. rq says

    The parasitized mushroom is dangerous because it resembles a chanterelle, about the only mushroom I recognize in the wild as reasonably safe to eat. Now I’ll be forever spooked!

  2. kestrel says

    OK, was not going to bring any of this up, but no need to be spooked. [i]Hypomyces lactiflourum[/i] (gah, that was supposed to be italicized) is also called “Lobster Mushroom” and is generally considered edible. Restaurants in some parts of the country have it on the menu.

    This thing looks nothing like a chanterelle; the gills are not actually decurrent. Also note the size. And, this one is not as deformed as they usually are as they are normally amorphous blobs; if you are paying reasonable attention (and if you go out in the woods to collect edibles, I sincerely hope you pay a LOT of attention) you would hardly get this confused with [i]Cantharellus cibarius[/i] or whatever (that was ALSO supposed to be italicized. I am pushing the wrong brackets, I think).

    You don’t have to be afraid of mushrooms; but you DO need to respect them and whenever identifying you should be using a convergence of characteristics, not just one characteristic such as “blunt gills”.

  3. rq says

    (You need the pointy brackets for italics, the ones above the comma and the period.)
    Also I recognize chanterelles via their colour; there’s not much else out here with the same shade of yellow-orange. :D Plus I know where it grows. I know people who pick all the other edible mushrooms too (and the half-way edible ones that need a shitload of pre-prep before you can eat them), but I don’t trust myself with those. There’s another few that I will trust as prepared by other people (like ummm Boletus luteus?) but a whole stack that I will not; if we’re gifted a jar of marinated mushrooms, I toss them, because I’ve read too many stories of people dying due to improperly prepared or improperly picked mushrooms.

  4. Ice Swimmer says

    For the record: Shrump is a fun word. Russula brevipes found inside the shrump looks kind of cute.

    Being useless at picking anything, I buy the small amounts of shrooms (champignons off-season, chanterelles and funnel chanterelles on-season) from the stores. Though mushroom hunting demands less nimble fingers than berry-picking.

    Warning: The activity I’m mentioning next may lead to a painful death or injuries unless you know what you are doing. Make sure any mushrooms you pick are safe in your area and prepare them properly.

    I think my best catch ever was, about 30 years ago, some false morels (which are probably more poisonous in other areas than they are here), which are a) deadly unless prepared right, b) very good at hiding in plain sight (they grow in places where soil has been disturbed and they are brown and have a complex shape) c) delicious as hell when prepared properly.

  5. kestrel says

    @Ice Swimmer: Oh wow! That sounds really great! Yum!

    I love wandering the hills in search of the wily mushroom. One does not have to eat them to appreciate them; they make nice subjects for photography for example. If I could live my life again I’d become a professional mycologist.

    @rq: Thank you! Hopefully this will work this time. I am not aware of a {i}Boletus luteus{/i} but there **is** a {i}Suillus luteus{/i} which is edible…maybe you mean that one? Or of course you might be referring to the famous and beloved {i}Boletus edulis{/i} which some consider the best edible mushroom on the planet. It’s called different names in different places… like, porcini, or cepes. I am still waiting for some of my favorite friends in the {i}Boletus{/i} family to emerge this year.

    OK, I checked the preview and it looks like I still messed up the italics. :-( Maybe when I post it will be OK?

  6. Ice Swimmer says

    kestrel @ 6

    The brackets you’re looking for are less than () signs on the same keys as the comma (,) and period (.) on the U.S. standard PC keyboard layout to the right of “m”.

  7. Ice Swimmer says

    Now I fucked up. Retry

    The brackets you’re looking for are less than and greater than signs on the same keys as the comma (,) and period (.) on the U.S. standard PC keyboard layout to the right of “m”.

    In my Android phone they are buried on the third page of the on-screen keyboard (alphabet is in the first, numbers and some more common symbols on the second and equals, backslash, greater and less than and friends are on the third)

  8. rq says

    I probably do mean the Suillus luteus; it’s a specific kind of beka (which is apparently an umbrella term for mushrooms of the suilloid genus -- and rather clumsily turns the phrase ‘ej bekot‘ (a polite way of saying ‘fuck off’) into ‘go pick mushrooms of the suilloid genus’), the sviestabeka (the ‘butter boletus’), and yeah, it’s considered to be absolutely delicious by a lot of people. Don’t think it’s the porcini, though. Not a big fan here, but then, I’ve been told I’m far too aristocratic to enjoy forest mushrooms (what about truffles, huh, huh???). :)

    Ice Swimmer
    I know that one but I forget what it’s called locally; it looks a lot like ‘bear muzzles/noses’ (lāčupurni). After a short session of intense internet research, I have discovered that there are two species actually not recommended for eating due to gyromitrin, a poisonous alkaloid -- the traditional method is to boil these mushrooms at least twice, changing water every 20 minutes, but current science suggests that the only way to reduce amounts of this alkaloid is to dry the mushrooms and leave them in an open container for at least 6 months; also, to eat in small quantities and not consume any alcohol at the same meal. And mushrooms growing in moist, loamy soil will be more poisonous than those growing in dry, sandy soil; more poisoning incidents have been noted in years with more rainfall than in dry years (source, scroll down to ‘bisītes‘ -- and there happens to be an autumn species that is safe to eat). In other words, now I’m curious as to how you prepare the poisonous varieties (and no, I’m not about to try)!

  9. Ice Swimmer says

    rq @ 10

    The ones I’ve consumed have been just parboiled in an open pot and the water discarded and shrooms washed before the actual cooking. The amounts have been small. The recipe is just cut the parboiled and washed mushrooms, sautee in butter, add some flour, let it be soaked by the butter and add mixture of milk and cream and let it cook for 20 minutes.

    I’m still here, but following the stricter rules might be a good idea. Springtime tends to be dry here and forests are mostly on sand, rubble or till. The usual place to find false morels is a forest clearcut with harvesting machines.

  10. kestrel says

    @Ice Swimmer #6: Awesome! Thank you very much! Hopefully I got it right this time.

    I’m very much inclined to leave the doubtful ones in the forest and take pics instead, so I’ve never sampled Gyromitra esculenta. After all, I have enough food, and no meal is worth going to the hospital for, or at least that’s the way I see it, so I generally stick with the ones considered to be good. But I have heard it can be very tasty.

    I will add here, for others who might be silently reading and not posting: Always try just a small sample of a mushroom of only one species that is considered safe (not a whole bunch at once), because you, personally, might be allergic. Just like some people are allergic to wheat, or chocolate, or strawberries, you might be allergic to something as safe and delicious as Suillus luteus. If you try out a whole bunch at once and have a reaction, you won’t know which one it was. Try just one species at a time, very cautiously, and as they say: “When in doubt, throw it out!” Never, ever eat it unless you know for a fact **exactly** what it is.

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