Giant Funnel (Leucopaxillus Giganteus) Identification

Giant Funnel / Summer / Autumn / Edible

Scientific Name

Leucopaxillus giganteus


Common Names

Giant Funnel, Giant Clitocybe


Family

Physalacriaceae


Habitat

They are saprotrophic and appear on woodlands edges, hedgerows and fields.


Description 

A substantial mushroom that can often be found in large troops or rings, they are edible for most but cause gastric upset in some.


Identifying Features:

Cap:

As the common name suggests they are a large mushroom with caps up to 30cm across. Convex when young they become funnel shape with maturity. Young caps are off white getting more tan/beige with age.

Strobilomyces, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Stem:

Quite short and stout. Initially white in colour the stem becomes buff with age, as they mature they develop reddish fibres that run down the length of the stem.


Gills:

The gills are white when young, darkening with age, fairly crowded, decurrent and forked.

This image was created by user Liz Popich (Lizzie) at Mushroom Observer, a source for mycological images.You can contact this user here.English | español | français | italiano | македонски | മലയാളം | português | +/−, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Decurrent Gill

Smell:

Mushroomy.


Spores:

White.


Uses

In food

They must be thoroughly cooked before consumption and even then they aren’t tolerated by everyone.

If it is your first time trying them you’re advised to thoroughly cook a small part and wait 24 hours to see whether there is any adverse reaction.

They are very substantial and one cap would feed a couple of people. The taste isn’t incredible but I like them finely sliced, fried and then added to risotto dishes.


Harvesting 

The younger caps are best as they can get slightly bitter tasting with age.

They are often infected with maggots so not really vegan friendly.


Known hazards

Tasty for most but they can cause gastric issues in roughly 1 out of 5 people.


Potential lookalikes

Some members of the Clitocybe family can look similar but they would never reach the size of the Giant Funnel.

The Trooping Funnel (Infundibulicybe Geotropa) can look similar but this is more tan/orange in colour, has a much longer stem and has a central umbo.


Extra Notes

The Giant Funnel contains a bioactive compound called clitocine that has antibiotic properties, this compound has also been shown to have anti-cancer properties, causing cervical cancer cells to die.

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