Cap: 6-20cm across Stem: 4-10cm in length, 3-6cm diameter
Note: smaller specimens can look like other mushrooms when they first appear, but the sheer size, colour and habit of the larger specimens make this a relatively easy species to identify.
Stem: the same colour as the rest of the mushroom, it is tough and specimens at their best are very firm.
Flesh: white throughout, often young specimens are maggot free but the larger older specimens often get maggot eaten. There is no obvious colour when cut or damaged. When fresh it is quite tough and strong, especially in the base of the stem.
Cap: has been known to grow to 50cm across, but 30cm is much more typical in larger specimens. White when it starts becoming slightly tan colour, especially at the centre, with age. Starts flat and becomes more funnel-shaped.
Gills: the gills are usually a darker colour to the rest of the mushrooms, starting white but becoming a creamier colour as they mature. The gills are crowded and decurrent.
Leuco meaning white and paxillus is a genus containing the Brown Rollrim
Note: when young specimens are usually slightly domed or flat capped, as they mature they take on the deep funnel shape.
OVERALL: A large mushroom which when seen growing in rings is spectacular, some mushrooms have been noted to grow up to 50cm across! The genus Leucopaxillus recognises the fact that this mushroom looks like a large white version of the Brown Rollrim (Paxillus involutus) and indeed you can see the similarities, in most stages of this mushroom the edge of the cap rolls back slightly. As this species begins to age then it can take on more of a tan colour all over and has a very dry feel to it.
HABITAT: Often grows in pasture near to woodland but can also be found in open woodland, hedgerows and parkland. The specimens here were found growing on in a park under a conifer with wood-chip.
DISTRIBUTION: Occasional, for such a large mushroom it is hard to think it could go under recorded, it genuinely seems a special occasion to find some, though it has been recorded over much of the UK.
SEASON: Late summer to autumn. Most records are August - November.
EDIBILITY: Not Edible. Authors are split on this opinion, some say edible when young, others say it can cause gastric upsets and diarrhoea, for this reason it is not recommended as an edible mushroom. Those who have eaten it have said it is not a worthwhile anyway.
SMELL: Not distinctive but if anything it is pleasant.
SPORE COLOUR: White
OLDER ENGLISH NAMES: Giant Clitocybe, Giant Funnel-cap
SYNONYMS: Agaricus giganteus Sibth. Agaricus subinvolutus sensu Cooke. Aspropaxillus giganteus (Sibth.) Kühner & Maire. Clitocybe cerussata var. monstrosa (Sibth.) Singer. Clitocybe gigantea (Sibth.) Quél. Paxillus giganteus (Sibth.) Fr.
EASE OF IDENTIFICATION & TIPS: The sheer size of these mushrooms growing in a ring should be a give away, they can look like other species in the Clitocybe family, the main two being Frosty Funnel (Clitocybe phyllophila) and Trooping Funnel (Clitocybe geotropa), but their gills are not as crowded, they are also smaller, less firm, have a faint sweet smell and are not as white.
SIMILAR SPECIES: As mentioned above the Clitocybes can look very similar. When young they can also resemble St George's Mushroom (Calocybe gambosa) and Peppery Milkcap (Lactarius piperatus). Click the links to see the latter species.