The Powdercap Strangler.

The Earthy Powdercap Mushroom was minding its own business, living out a perfectly good mushroom life in Clumber Park, a pleasant, woodsy spot in Nottinghamshire, England. But it was in danger. A rare fungus was taking over—until, like a sci-fi alien erupting from a human chest, the bodysnatching fungus burst from the mushroom’s head.

These perfectly nice Powdercap mushrooms became victims of Squamanita paradoxa, the Powdercap Strangler, the Nottingham Post reports.

The Powdercap Strangler is a shadowy character. First discovered in 1948, in Oregon’s Mount Hood National Forest, the Strangler is rarely seen. It rears its actually pretty ugly head in parts of the U.S., Canada, and Europe, but everywhere it’s found, it’s an unusual sight. In the U.K., it’s only been found 23 times.

These particular Stranglers were found during a foraging expedition in the park, and identified by the British Mycological Association. The species was also seen in the U.K. in 2011.

The Powdercap is an orange mushroom, and even after the Strangler takes over, it retains an orange stem, to hold up its own grey head. As one mycologist puts it, the Strangler’s “mushroom erupts in place of the host’s mushroom.”

Atlas Obscura has the full story.

While you’re there, don’t miss this very interesting story about The Secret History of Paris’s Catacomb Mushrooms.

A Parisian inspects mushrooms growing in the tunnels underneath the city. Documents Mairie de Paris-Inspection générale des Carrières/All Rights Reserved.


  1. says

    That history of Mushroom farming in old quarries is very interesting, but a part of me asks how much of the “unique flavor” of such grown mushrooms is real and how much is snobbery. And if it is real, how much of it has more to do with the shorter time spent in storage and transport than with actual location. But most importantly I am now hungry and have a hankering for mushrooms, which I am sure are NOT in the fridge.

  2. says

    You haven’t gone through all those shrooms you gathered yet, have you? As for the Parisian catacomb mushrooms, I don’t know, and I’d never be able to tell, I can’t stand cooked mushrooms. I expect it does have a great deal to do with the tradition and history, though.

  3. says

    We have dried mushrooms, but those take a lot of time to prepare, they have to soak 24 hours. But whith the full nose everything tastes like cardboard anyway.

  4. Raucous Indignation says

    I have a few warm spots in the basement. Is it difficult to grow your own mushrooms? I can never have enough.

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