Identify The Blusher

The Blusher / Summer / Autumn / Edible ( when cooked)

 

Family
Amanitaceae

Common Name
The Blusher

Botanical Name
Amanita Rubescens

Meaning of Botanical Name
Rubescens means reddening, which refers to the colour change of the mushroom flesh when it is touched or damaged and is exposed to the air, a chemical reaction occurs turning the flesh from white to a pinkish red.

Family
Amanitaceae

Food Plant of…
The blusher is often eaten by slugs and favourable to maggot infestation

Distribution
The Blusher is very common and widespread throughout Britain and Ireland as well as in mainland Europe and in North America.

Habitat
Blushers are mycorrhizal with a wide range of trees, it particularly likes coniferous trees growing on poor acidic soil.

Physical Characteristics

Identifying Features:
Cap:
The cap is buff brown to a pinkish brown colour, with movable white spots, the spots can wash off when very wet. Ranging from 5 to 20cm across. The cap is domed shaped when young becoming very slightly funnel shaped with age. Where nibbled by slugs etc the cap flesh will bruise a pinking red colour like blush that ladies put on their cheeks hence its common name.

Stem:


The stem has a striped white veil (skirt), if the skirt is smooth it’s not the blusher. The stem is between 1-2cm in diameter and is white above the veil becoming darker brown toward the base with small scales.The base is bulbous with scales which are the remnants of the egg which the mushroom grew from. Like the cap the flesh will bruise reddish pink when cut or damaged.

Gills:
The gills are white, free and crowded. The gills are white in colour but have pinkish red spots where insects have damaged them.

Smell:
Mushroomy.

Spores:
White.

Known hazards:
The Blusher contains hemolytic toxin which causes anemia if eaten raw and must be cooked well before eating. 5 mins at high heat minimum.

Potential look a likes 

The Panther Cap (amanita pantherina) skirt of the blusher is striped and the panther cap is smooth, the spots easily move on the blusher and not so on the panther cap, the blusher shows signs of reddening (blushing) when damaged or cut, the panther cap does not change colour chen damaged or cut.

Grey Spot Amanita, the grey spot amanita does not change colour when it is cut or damaged. 

Edible Uses

The Blusher is a good edible mushroom but must be cooked thoroughly due to the toxins, which are destroyed by cooking.

Notes:

I’ve actually come to pick this mushroom for consumption more and more regularly, when heavily cooked like an oldish piece of meat it produces a really meaty texture and flavour itself. What’s even better is that most people are fairly terrified of this mushroom meaning no one else picks it – giving us free reign on its harvest

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