Hope you all have a great Christmas and new year. I was going to squeeze this post in just before 2015 began, but I was too busy drinking!
Aptly named for a Christmas time find, The Angel’s Bonnet (Mycena arcangeliana) is an attractive and perfectly formed example of a typical Mycena (or Bonnet) mushroom; broadly conical with a long delicate and slender stem.
Having the angelic name (which may be in honour to the botanist Giovanni Arcangeli) you’d be forgiven for thinking that this would be a pure white species, but in fact its ‘whitish’ translucent and striated cap has subtle grey-brown hues, especially at the centre. There may also be tinges of yellow or olive colours too.
The gills are initially white and turn pinkish over time, but the spore print is white, or whitish. The fragile stem is pale at the apex but is essentially greyish, becoming darker further down, especially at the base which is covered in a fine white down.
Take time also to have a quick sniff of this mushroom. It has a distinctive smell of iodoform – or that ‘hospital smell’ as I call it. You may need to crush the cap flesh to get a real good whiff!
It grows in typical ‘lined’ group formations on stumps and branches of deciduous trees and are very attractive when in full bloom (so to speak). The examples in the photos here are spread across a fallen branch.
They are very common and widespread throughout the autumn months, but this Mycena is also known as the ‘Late-Season Bonnet’ which is probably why it appeared on this mild winter day.
Happy New Year.
QUICK ID TABLE: ANGELS BONNET Mycena arcangeliana
CAP / FLESH
1-5cm across. Broad conical shape. White with a grey-brown hue and sometimes olive (or yellowish) tints. Striate markings with white margin. Iodoform smell.
2-4cm x 0.1-0.2cm. Whitish grey. Darker at base which is covered with white down.
GILLS / SPORE PRINT
Adnex and crowded. Initially white the turning pinkish.
Spore Print: Whitish (see how to take a spore print here).
HABITAT / SEASON
Typically in rows on deciduous stumps, logs and branches. Mainly autumn. Very common.
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).