Tricholoma virgatum

Today we are going to talk about a type of mushroom that belongs to the Tricholomas group and that there are doubts about whether it is edible or not. It is the Tricholoma virgatum. It is a mushroom with a fairly edible appearance but it can have certain toxic risks in its consumption. For this reason, it is important to know all its characteristics and differentiating aspects so as not to make mistakes when collecting.

In this article we are going to tell you all the characteristics, habitat and possible confusions of the Tricholoma virgatum.

Main features

Hat and foils

His hat is between 3 to 7 centimeters in size and has a conical shape when young. As it develops and reaches adulthood it becomes a hat with a flat and convex shape. It has a pointed nipple in the center that keeps it throughout its life. This hat has a diameter that ranges from 4 to 8 centimeters. The texture of this hat is soft and slightly velvety. This can serve as a reference to differentiate this hat from others in the Tricholomas group that also have a mamelon in the center.

In addition, it has a slightly fleshy and fibrous appearance. It has grayish tones that range from ash to light purple. When the specimens are young, we see that the hat has a conical shape and when they mature they become convex.  They are hats that never completely flatten out. They can be presented with a pointed conical shape since the mamelon in the center has this shape.

The central part always remains even though the hat has widened due to the development of the mushroom. The edges are raised and somewhat sinuous. The cuticle is shiny and contains radial fibrils of darker color on a silver background. Being shiny, the fibrils are silky and have a more or less intense silver-gray color. All these small details can help us to differentiate this mushroom from another very similar one in the same group.

Its blades are low-cut, ventruded and of a color between whitish and greyish. They are light gray in color and small darker spots can often be seen. These dots are more abundant in the area around the edge of the hat. The blades are very tight between them although they are wide. It has a rounded shape with the foot and the edge slightly cut. It is seen as there are interspersed large amounts of lamélulas that vary in length.

Pie and meat

As for the foot, it has a solid white and fibrous appearance. With a cylindrical shape, it can measure up to 9 centimeters in height and 1.5 centimeters in diameter. Its flesh is also white, although it turns gray when cut. This can again help us as an indicator to differentiate Tricholoma virgatum from another mushroom of the same group.

It has an earthy smell and a spicy and bitter taste. It is usually a foot that has a cylindrical shape, although it can also be straight and a little wide at the base. It can get dirty pink easily with rubbing.

Finally, its flesh is dense and whitish. It has a somewhat more grayish color in the areas under the cuticle. When the said meat has been cut, it can be seen how it turns into an ocher cream color. It has a relatively soft texture like the hat although it is more fibrous than the foot. It has a mealy smell that is difficult to define. Some say it has a radish-like smell. Its taste is bitter so it can be clearly distinguished that it is not edible as soon as you taste it.

Tricholoma virgatum habitat

This mushroom grows abundantly in coniferous forests. They are usually found in large numbers in the Basque Country and Catalonia. The time of development and growth is in autumn. If spring has had abundant rainfall and the average temperatures are lower, we can find this mushroom also in summer. It is usually quite common and can be developed both alone and in small groups.

They preferably grow on acidic soils in coniferous forests. The largest area of ​​distribution occurs in late summer and early fall. There is some controversy since it is confused with other species of the same group. They can also develop in beech trees and this makes it possible to be confused with other mushrooms that grow in flatwood forests in which Tricholoma virgatum is less common.

It is a mushroom that has a small toxicity and its consumption is not advisable at all. Some experts consider it toxic although it has mild poisoning effects. To avoid any possible poisoning it is characterized as an inedible mushroom. In addition, its organoleptic characteristics are not very positive for consumption, even if it was not toxic. Its bitter smell and taste is not a delicacy at all.

Given the possible confusion of this mushroom with others that are edible from the same group, we are going to describe the main confusions of Tricholoma virgatum.

Confusions of Tricholoma virgatum

The characteristics that we must take into account to visualize this species and not confuse it with another of the same group is its hat. It has a diameter much smaller than the length of the foot and when it is extended it usually has a somewhat more silver appearance. The mamelon in the center maintains it throughout its life, while other mushrooms shed in the adult stage.

Keep in mind that the hat will be horn-shaped and pointed throughout its growth stage. If we get to eat it, we just have to look at its bitter and burning taste with a long-lasting effect.

The mushrooms with which it is most often confused are Tricholoma portentosum, also known as nasturtium and Tricholoma sejunctum.

I hope that with this information you can learn more about Tricholoma virgatum and its characteristics.

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