Happy new year to you all. It’s a typically dull and cold(ish) January and apart from the lovely edible Wood Blewit, Velvet Shank and Oyster Mushrooms around at this time, there are other groups of mushrooms to be seen, although not as palatable.
The Common Bonnet (Mycena galericulata) is one of these mushrooms. Very common and present all year round, it is one of the larger Bonnets, growing up to 6cm across at maturity with a broad central umbo. It is often found in small or large clusters on broad-leaved stumps, branches and logs. It can be confused with the Clustered Bonnet (Mycena inclinata) which is very similar looking but only fruits from late summer to autumn, and is a much darker brown, growing exclusively on oak stumps.
It has mild brown colouring, sometimes grey-brown with a slightly darker centre, and the margin is noticeably striated. It has white adnate gills which feature a tiny decurrent tooth. With age, the gills eventually turn pale pink as the spores mature. If you hold the cap up to the light you will also notice the gills are linked with many tiny veins (cross-veins), this is typical of several Mycena species.
The stem shares the same colour as the cap but is clearly much lighter towards the apex where it meets the cap and gills and darker towards the base where it covered in fine white fibres.
Although edible, I have heard this mushroom is unfortunately bland and not really worth it. The smell is sometimes rancid but the flavour can be mild. The problem is, they’re too delicate and not very substantial. Probably in a survival situation you could turn to them. Hey ho!
Why the Bonnet name?
Mycena or ‘Bonnets’ get their name from their appearance, which is similar to the bonnets worn by the Mycenae in ancient Greece.
QUICK ID TABLE: COMMON BONNET Mycena galericulata
CAP / FLESH
2-6cm across. Brown to grey-brown. Initially conical, expanding to a broad bell shape with noticeable umbo. Paler at margin, striated. Flesh is white.
2-10cm x 0.3×0.9cm. Base similar colour to cap. Paler at the apex. Tough and hollow. Base covered in white fibres.
GILLS / SPORE PRINT
Adnate (decurrent tooth). Initially white, turning pinkish.
HABITAT / SEASON
Stumps, logs and fallen branches of broad leaved trees. All year. Very common.
Edible but not really worth it.
The Genus MYCENA (Bonnets): Characteristics to look out for:
• Small conical or bell-shaped caps (sometimes flattening out). Often with a slight central bump (or umbo).