Führ. Pilzk.: 97. 1871.
Common Name: sweetbread mushroom
Cap 2.5-9.0 cm broad, convex, broadly so in age, the disc sometimes depressed; margin even to wavy, inrolled when young, becoming decurved, plane to elevated at maturity; surface inconspicuously matted-fibrillose (use hand lens), viscid when wet, otherwise sticky, unpolished, light-grey, darker where handled, fading to ash-grey; context white, unchanging, soft, up to 1 cm thick at the disc; odor and taste strongly farinaceous.
Gills decurrent, close, narrow, at first whitish, eventually tinged pinkish; lamellulae up to 4-seried, occasionally forked at the stipe.
Stipe 2-7 cm long, 0.7-1.5 cm thick, solid, central to eccentric in attachment, equal or enlarged at the apex and tapered to a narrowed base, the latter sheathed with white cottony mycelium sometimes forming rhizomorphs; surface with appressed fibrils, pallid, darker where handled; partial veil absent.
Spores 9-11 x 5.5-6.0 µm, almond-shaped in face-view, longitudinally ridged, contents granular; spore print pinkish.
Solitary to gregarious in open areas of conifer/hardwood forests; common under Bishop pine (Pinus muricata) along the coast north of San Francisco; fruiting shortly after the fall rains.
Edible and excellent. Be sure of your identification!
Clitopilus prunulus is one of the few pink-spored mushrooms considered a good edible. Locally, however, it is seldom collected for the table, probably because of its odor, which some people find disagreeable. It should be noted that when cooked the farinaceous odor disappears, leaving a pleasant mushroom flavor. Those wishing to try this mushroom should familiarize themselves with other pink-spored mushrooms, particularly Entoloma species, many of which are toxic. These can be told by their notched or sinuate (rarely decurrent) gills. Also resembling Clitopilus prunulus are species of Clitocybe, a genus characterized by decurrent gills but which has white spores. When in doubt, a spore print should be made.
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Beardslee, H.C. (1905). The Rosy Spored Agarics or Rhodosporae. The Journal of Mycology 11(3): 109-110.
Breitenbach, J. & Kränzlin, F. (1995). Fungi of Switzerland. Volume 4: Agarics (2nd Part). Entolomataceae, Pluteaceae, Amanitaceae, Agaricaceae, Coprinaceae, Strophariaceae. Verlag Mykologia: Luzern, Switzerland. 368 p.
Desjardin, D.E., Wood, M.G. & Stevens, F.A. (2015). California Mushrooms: The Comprehensive Identification Guide. Timber Press: Portland, OR. 560 p.