Thursday, 12 September 2013

ID: Tawny Grisette

  I would not recommend this mushroom to the beginner, as it belongs to the deadliest family of mushrooms found in the UK; the Amanitas.  The Amanita family contains mushrooms such as the Death Cap, Destroying Angel and Panther Cap – now you need not know a lot about mushrooms to know that the consumption of any of the aforementioned funghi will cause you a lot of harm, or even kill you.

Saying this, the Tawny Grisette (Amanita fulva) is relatively easily distinguished from its grizzly cousins, and, for an experienced mushroom hunter with a good knowledge of the poisonous lookalikes, it is safe to pick.

Description from Mushrooms by Roger Phillips;

Cap: 4-9cm across, ovate at first, expanding to almost flat with low umbo, margin distinctly grooved: orange-brown; smooth, dry

Stem: 70-120 x 8-12mm, tapering towards apex, becoming hollow; white tinged with cap colour; encased in large, bag-like, similarly coloured volva; no ring

Flesh: White; taste and smell not distinctive

Habitat: in mixed woods; autumn; very common


Notes from River Cottage Mushroom Handbook by John Wright;

The Tawny Grisette is notably east to distinguish from its lethal brethren because of the deep grooves on the cap edge, its bright colour and lack of ring. They are fragile mushrooms, so do keep them separated from your weightier finds or they will get hopelessly squashed.

Beware of The Grisette (Amanita vaginata) and the Snakeskin Grisette (Amanita ceciliae). The Grisette is actually an edible species and often collected for the table, however, it has not been included here because its grey colouration makes it less easy to identify and because the Tawny Grisette is about ten times more common. The Snakeskin Grisette, however, is simply an inedible species.


Here are some photographs of Tawny Grisettes I have found this September;

The grooved perimeter of the cap is a key identification feature

A young Tawny Grisette

Note the sheath-like volva at the base of the stem - a characteristic which distinguishes
the Amanita family 

A troop of four Tawny Grisettes growing together

1 comment:

  1. Actually, Snakeskin Grisettes are not only edible but very tasty!

    Geoff (