St George's Mushroom
Meaning 'pretty head'
This wonderful iconic mushroom gets its name because it generally appear on St George’s Day, but mushrooms are wonderfully unpredictable and although they can be found growing on this day, I have just as often seen them in late March right through to June and even rarely in Autumn. You know it is a good eating mushroom when the French have given it a specific name and this one in France is known as Mousseron. The beauty of this white all over mushroom to me is based on a few things; it is a chunky mushroom that can be substantial so you only have to pick a few to get a meal worth. It commonly grows in parks, urban areas, gardens, hedgerows and fields so you generally stumble across them when you are not really looking out and about looking for mushrooms and when you do find them they usually grow in numbers (in 2013 my local park had around 1000 fruiting bodies).
There are a few species are worth double-checking your find against to be sure it is what it is include; the Entoloma family including Entoloma aprile (note the name for when it generally occurs!), though this family usually has clay-pink gills not white like St George’s Mushroom, the Inocybe family, these are generally smaller and usually have a distinctive nipple to the cap. There are a number of poisonous Clitocybes that grow in grassland too to make sure you have not picked, these are generally not as chunky as St George's Mushroom though. Use a field guide to ensure you have identified it correctly.
Stongly mealy, like wet flour, some say slightly like cucumber.
Usually occurs around the 23rd April (hence the names) but can often be found in March, May and into June depending on the weather. We have two records from September, which is very unusual.
Habitat & Distribution
Usually found growing along hedgerows but can also be found in pasture and under mature trees, though more often that not in is encountered along path edges in parks and gardens in suburban areas. Usually can be found growing in rings. Found across the UK but becomes scarcer further North.
5-6 x 3-4.5µm, ellipsoidal, smooth.
Spore Print Colour
Other species to be aware of when picking this mushroom including Ivory Funnel (Clitocybe dealbata) a deadly poisonous species, also check against other all white Clitocybes.
Deadly Fibrecap (Inocybe erubescens) another deadly poisonous species. Check against other all white Clitocybes.
The Blue Spot Knight (Tricholoma columbetta) starts to develop blue, purple or green spots on the cap and base of stem with age.