Ivory Funnel / Summer / Autumn / Winter / Toxic
In grass, they are saprotrophic with the root systems of grasses.
A seriously toxic mushroom that all foragers should be familiar with. The very closely related Fools Funnel (Clitocybe Rivulosa) which may in fact be the same species is very difficult to distinguish. Rivulosa tends to be found in coastal areas and Dealbata tends to be found further inland. Together they are fairly common and they tend to form ’fairy rings’ both are potentially deadly.
Convex when young they tend to flatten out with age and often have a central depression. They are almost pure white when young becoming greyer with maturity. When mature they normally have an in rolled edge.
Similar in colour to the cap, becoming grey with age. Smooth and fibrous, slightly downy near the base.
White when young they become grey with age sometimes with a pinkish tinge. They are adnate or decurrent.
No real aroma.
Potentially deadly poisonous! They contain lethal amounts of muscarine, symptoms include excessive salivation, sweating, abdominal pains, sickness and diarrhoea, together with blurred vision and laboured breathing. Death is rare in healthy adults but children or those with respiratory or heart conditions would be more at risk.
There are quite a few potential lookalikes to this mushroom so great care should be taken when picking any white gilled mushrooms growing in grass.
The St. Georges mushroom (Calocybe Gambosa) does look similar but appears earlier in the year. (Around St. George’s day, 23rd April) and it smells strongly of damp flour and has much thicker flesh.
The Fairy Ring Champignon (Marasmius Oreades) looks very similar and also forms fairy rings in grass at around the same time of year. The key difference is that the gills of the Fairy Ring Champignon are free from the stem, whereas the gills of the Fools Funnel run slightly down the stem.
This species is considered to be one of the most toxic mushrooms in the UK and instances of poisonings are fairly common as it grows where people expect to find edible mushrooms.