Aniseed Funnel / Summer / Autumn / Edible
Aniseed Funnel, Aniseed Toadstool
They can be found amongst the leaf litter of broadleaved trees, most often beech, they are occasionally found with conifers too.
A fairly common mushroom in the UK, they are bright blue when they are young and with a strong aniseed aroma they’re always a great find.
Convex when young they soon start to flatten out before becoming funnel shaped. They are bright blue when young but this fades as they age.
Quite stout and fibrous, they are white and have white, downy fibres towards the base.
The gills are white to blueish green when young, tending to become paler with age. The gills are decurrent to adnate and quite widely spaced.
Strong aniseed aroma, hence the common name.
A really nice edible mushroom that adds an interesting flavour to dishes. They can be used fresh in risottos and soups or they can be dried and powdered and then used as a condiment.
The flavour works particularly well with fish or pork.
They are loved by maggots and are often infested so check the condition of each one.
Only pick the fresh caps, as they age their colour and smell fades and they can then be more easily confused with other toxic species.
Some guides advise against eating these mushroom as they may contain small amounts of muscarine.
The smell is a key feature for this mushroom, the Blue Roundhead (Stropharia Caerulea) can look similar but it lacks the aniseed smell and has a very greasy or sticky coating on the cap.
The Fragrant Funnel (Clitocybe Fragrans) could also be confused as this also has a strong aniseed smell but it is almost pure white and is generally a lot smaller. Most guides list the Fragrant Funnel as toxic or not worthwhile.
The Latin name derives from ‘Clitocybe’ meaning sloping head and ‘Odora’ meaning perfumed.