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Common Name
Scientific Name
Genus Meaning
Species Meaning
Spore Image
ID Image
Spore Colour
Spore Description
Spore Colour Description
Habitat & Distribution
Confusion Species
Alder Rollrim
Paxillus rubicundulus
Meaning peg or small stake.
Meaning somewhat ruddy.
5.5-7.5 x 3.5-5µ, smooth, kidney-shaped to broadly ellipsoid.
Ranges between pale rust and red-brown.

A distinct member of the Paxillus family, with its habit of growing exclusively with Alder (Alnus) in damp places, scaly cap and bruising red-brown making it easy to identify. The size of the spores of this species are also smaller than other members of the family.  

Not distinctive, but pleasant. 

Late Summer to Autumn.

Found with Alder (Alnus) usually near to water such as stream sides and pond edges. Usually in small groups. 

Other members of the Paxillus family are similar. The habitat, scaly cap and the strong changing of colour especially in the gills make it straight forward to separate from other commoner Rollrims. 

Likely Poisonous. Other members of this family are known to be deadly poisonous.

Uncommon to Scarce
Amethyst Chanterelle
Cantharellus amethysteus
Drinking vessel or 'chalice'.
Meaning amethyst coloured.
8-10 x5-6µ, cylindrical.

Certain specimens of this mushroom can look stunning, others have a subtle hue where it is almost un-noticable, but the Amethyst Chanterelle is more common than I believe the books and distribution maps give credit. One problem is that it is not well described in field guides and in most isn't even in, so how would people know about, especially when it looks almost identical to the ordinary Chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius). So what are you looking for, well in extreme examples of this species the cap would look totally lilac with the usually yellow underneath and stem, in more typically examples then it has slightly purple scales usually in the centre of the cap but it can be faint or in some cases the colour is much more towards the edge of the cap. I have found both these species growing relatively close together and when you see them side by side I found the Amethyst chanterelle has less of a bold yellow colour, the underneath is pale and it is less ‘golden’ - see cap pic above.

Not distinctive.

Late summer to autumn.

Usually under broadleaf trees, especially Beech (Fagus), Oak (Quercus) and Birch (Betula). It has rarely been recorded with coniferous trees. found across the UK.

The Chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius) is a more golden colour all over and lacks any lilac type scales on the cap. The Trumpet Chanterelle (Cantharellus tubaeformis) has a yellow stem but lacks any yellow colour in the cap. The False Chanterelle (Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca), is more orange all over fading to peach and has real gills rather than the 'veins' the Amethyst Chanterelle has. The very rare Jack 'o' Lantern (Omphalotus illudens) (less than 20 records in the UK and all in the South-east) is toxic and has regular gills rather than the 'veins'.

Edible and good. They dry really well and are good fresh or dried. 

Uncommon but widespread.
Amethyst Deceiver
Laccaria amethystina
from Persian meaning 'painted'.
meaning amethyst coloured.
8–11.5µm, usually round.

The ‘deceiver’ part of the name comes from the fact it can change colour depending on if it is dry (then it goes pale, almost white) or when it is wet (dark and more brown). The gills and stem however usually stay the same colour though. There are a number of other ‘deceivers’ but they are usually pink or fleshy coloured, the only other to have a tinge of purple (at the base only) is the Bicoloured Deceiver (Laccaria bicolor).

Against a green mossy woodland floor they stick out from some distance, but on leaf litter they can be surprisingly well camoflagued.

Not distinctive.

Generally late summer to autumn but in mild winters can be found right into the new year.

Very common over all the UK, usually found in Oak (Quercus) and Beech (Fagus) woodland.

There are very few small purple mushrooms, some members of the Cortinarius family have a purple tinge, but not on the scale of the Amethyst Deceiver, the cortinarius family also have ginger spores and the gills are usually tinged ginger, a quick way to test is to leave the mushroom on a white piece of paper (cut the stem off and place the cap down so the gills are nearest the paper) and after a few hours you will get a spore print and can see if it is ginger, if it is leave it alone. 

The Lilac Fibrecap (Inocybe geophylla var lilacina) is another similar species but close inspection should reveal it to be paler overall without the purpley gills.


1-6 cm
2-6 cm
Aniseed Funnel
Clitocybe odora
Meaning depressed or sloping head
Meaning fragrant
6-8 x3-4µ, ellipsoid.

An iconic species which once seen and smelt is easy to remember. Never numerous, we often find a small number of specimens growing together but never lots. The blue-green colour and strong smell of aniseed should immediately point you to this species, the smell however can vary, strong in certain specimens and very weak, almost absent in others. If you are planning to eat this species it is recommended that you dry the mushroom and powder it and use it more as a spice than just eating them whole. For this reason only pick strongly smelling specimens.

Can be strongly of aniseed but sometimes it is faint and sometimes not at all present, depening on the age and quality of the specimen. If using for eating then ensure it is strongly of aniseed or it is not worth it.

Summer to late Autumn, we have found them from June to November.

Found amongst leaf litter of decidous trees, most commonly Beech (Fagus). Occasional in the north and Common in the south. Found over the entire UK.

You must be aware of wrongly picking any of the poisonous Clitocybes if you are intending on using the species for cooking. The strong blue-green colour and aniseed smell should be enough to not confuse it with other species, leave worn or faded Aniseed Funnels alone if eating as they could be confused with other species. The Ivory Funnel (Clitocybe  dealbata) is white in colour and has a mealy not aniseed smell, it is also found more often in grassland habitat.

Edible, but due to its aniseed flavour it is often dried and ground up and used as a seasoning. Beware not to confuse any specimens with other poisonous Clitocybes. 

Occasional, common in the North.
4-8 cm
3-7 cm
Beechwood Sickener
Russula mairei
Meaning 'reddish'.
Named for Edouard Ernest Maire.
7-8 x 5-6.5 μm. Prominent warts and often connected.

Note: we are using mairei rather than nobilis which is used in some books, Kibby (2017) believes that this species is not the type description for nobilis described by Velenovskyi. 

A commonly encountered poisonous Brittlegill (Russula) species when walking through a Beech (Fagus) wood. There are many pink/red species of Brittlegill which we advise to avoid all of them for culinary purposes, unless you are very experienced in Brittlegill identification. Still retains the 'brittle gills' but has a much more robust stem than other pink/red species.

Slightly of coconut when young and fresh, but quickly becoming too faint.


With Beech (Fagus) trees and common where they occur. 

The Sickner (Russula emetica) is just as poisonous and looks very similar, but grows with Pine (Pinus) rather than Beech (Fagus).


Bitter Beech Bolete
Caloboletus calopus
From 'Calo' meaning pretty and from 'bolos' meaning lumping of clay.
Meaning pretty foot.
12.5-16 x 4.5-5.5µm, subfusiform.
Olivaceous - brown.

An easy to identify member of the Bolete family, the distinctive colour on the stem makes this species stand out. 



Mainly under Beech (Fagus) but also reported from conifers. Found throughout the UK.

The Rooting Bolete (Caloboletus radicans) is similar but lacks any red colour on the stem and generally is not as 'chunky'.

Satan's Bolete (Rubroboletus satanas) has a much paler cap and red pores and is found on alkaline soils.

Not edible. Too bitter.

Blue Band Brittlegill
Russula chloroides
Meaning 'reddish' - from the type example for the genus.
Meaning pale green (reference to the bluish cast on the stem apex).
7.5-11 x 6-8.5µm, with warts to around 1.5µm with a few connectives.
Pale cream.

A species that on first glances looks like one of the larger white Milkcaps (Lactarius), such as Fleecy or Peppery. The obvious difference is this species does not produce milk when damaged. The key feature is the bluish cast at the top of the stem where the gills join, in some specimens it can be faint, and in photos it can be difficult to capture. The cap is often filled with leaf litter and detritus. The very similar Milk-white Brittlegill (Russula delica) does not have the bluish cast to the stem apex.

Not overly distinctive, some say slightly fruity.

Late Summer to Autumn.

Found throught the UK with decidous and coniferous trees, with find it more often near Beech (Fagus).

Told from the very similar Milk-white Brittlegill (Russula delica) by having a bluish cast around the apex of the stem.

The similar large Milkcaps (Lactarius), Fleecy, Peppery and Blushing, all produce milk when damaged which the Blue Band Brittlegill does not.

Said to be edible but must be well cooked.

Blue Rounded
Stropharia caerula
Meaning belted.
Means sky blue.
7-9 x 4-5µ, smooth, ellipsoid.

When seen fresh it is a striking species, but ideal specimens can be harder to find than slightly 'worn' ones. Fresh it has a wonderful blue-green colouring on the cap which should have small white woolly scales around the edge. The stem appears pale, almost white when it emerges too. Even within a few hours these fade, the scales can disappear from the cap, the stem shows more of the flesh colour and even the cap begins to fade to a yellow-green colour, in some instances with no blue-green colour on the cap at all - although the stem retains some. Often confused with the Verdegris Agaric (Stropharia aeruginosa).

Not distinctive.


Woodland edges, grassland and frequently on mulched flower beds and gardens. It is common across the UK, and probably often mis-reported as the Verdegris Agaric (Stropharia aeruginosa).

There are two species this could be confused with. The first is the Verdegris Agaric (Stropharia aeruginosa), the main feature to look for is a white edge to gills, which the Verdegris Agaric has, the Blue Roundhead does not. 

The Peppery Roundhead (Stropharia pseudocyanea) is very similar occuring in grassland, but has a distinctive peppery smell, which the Blue Roundhead does not. 

Poisonous. It is also known to contain psilocybin properties which are hallucinogenic, it was also cause gaustric upset.  

Blue Spot Knight
Tricholoma columbetta
From the Greek meaning 'hairy fringe' - no idea why
Like a dove (white dove)
5-7 x 3.5-5µ, oval.

This species is  quite an obvious one from a distance, usually found in small groups.  Younger specimens are white all over and more mature specimens begin to  get a green, violet or blue tinge in the cap and stem base, no present in younger ones. In the autumn one could easily confuse this species for being a very late  St George's Mushroom (Calocybe gambosa) as it is roughly the same size,  shape and colour, although if anything the Blue Spot Knight is more  white. Don't let the name fool you, the 'blue spots' can be difficult to  see and usually are only present in very mature specimens, younger  fresh ones do not seem to have this.

Not distinctive.

Late Summer to Autumn.

With both decidious and coniferous tress but more frequently found with Oak (Quercus) and Beech (Fagus). Mainly found in southern Wales, the south and south-east England and northern Scotland where it is occasional, scattered records elsewhere where it is  probably uncommon.

St  George's Mushroom (Calocybe gambosa) looks very similar in size and shape but the Blue Spot Knight does not have a mealy smell and it more a  white colour than cream. 

The Giant Funnel (Leucopaxillus giganteus) is much larger, small specimens have decurrent gills which the Blue Spot Knight does not. 

A few of the white milkcaps (Lactarius) are a similar size and shape but obviously the Blue Spot Knight does not produce any 'milk' when damaged. 

If you are planning on eating this species then be aware of all the small white Clitocybes which some, including the Fools Funnel (Clitocybe dealbeta) are deadly poisonous, the Amanita family, which shares the same coloured gills also include some seriously poisonous species.

Whilst it is Edible and good, it is a bit tough and people new to the world of picking wild mushrooms to eat should steer clear of white gilled mushrooms as there are some seriously poisonous species with white gills.

Brown Parasol
Chlorophyllum brunneum
Meaning 'with green gills' - a reference to a species the genus was based upon. This species does not have this.
Meaning brown.
8-10.5 x 5-7 µm, dextrinoid, ovoid, with an apical germ pore.

A medium to large mushroom with distinct chestnut scales, ring on the stem and very obvious bulbous base, found in gardens, herbaceous borders and greenhouses. For many years the Brown Parasol was considered merely a subspecies of the commoner Shaggy Parasol (Chlorophyllum rhacodes) and perhaps for this reason, as well as the fact not many mainstream books illustrate it, it has gone under recorded. Often found in greenhouses and in gardens the Brown Parasol is probably commoner than the national fungi database suggests and once seen it is easy to see the differences between this species and the Shaggy Parasol.

Not distinctive.

Summer to winter, our photos were taken in January as these specimens were found in a 'hot house'.

Grows in gardens, lawns, mulched beds and greenhouses. Most records come from the east and south of England, with scattered records elsewhere. It is Scarce but probably under-recorded or misidentified for the Shaggy Parasol (Chlorophyllum rhacodes).

The Shaggy Parasol (Chlorophyllum rhacodes) is very similar to this species, the main differences being in the ring on the stem, the Brown Parasol has a simple ring not a double-ring. There is also a species called Chlorophyllum olivieri which is less contrasting with the colour of the cap, its more a dull grey and brown rather than brown and white. 

We always side with caution and whilst it is reported to be edible there are a number of reports of people suffering reactions to this species, for that reason we advise to consider it Inedible.

Cantharellus cibarius
Meaning drinking vessel or 'chalice'.
From cibus meaning 'food'
7-11 x 4-6µm, ellipsoidal, smooth.

One of the most highly prized mushrooms in our woodlands, whilst it is widespread it can be locally abundant. Often easy to miss on the woodland floor as the caps can look just like fallen leaves. One of the most iconic mushrooms that grows in the wild in UK, the Chanterlle is a stunning species, both to look at and to taste. Its distinctive trumpet like shape and bright yellow colour make this mushroom stand out from the other, but not from leaves, in an area of birch woodland near to my house you would be surprised how well camouflaged these mushrooms are in amongst the fallen birch leaves. Across the country it is a common species, in Scotland and the south of England woodlands can be covered with these, in certain areas they can be a little more picky in where they grow and in some areas they can be difficult to find, in others they are locally abundant. Some authors say when you pick and smell them they have an apricot aroma (I have never convinced myself with this and neither have any of my friends). The taste of this mushroom is fantastic and is one of the best wild eating mushrooms (I prefer the texture of these to any other) and if you dry them and use them then I think that flavour comes out even more. They can be found in a variety of woodland but take care not to confuse them with the False Chanterelle (Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca), this is a more orange coloured mushroom with 'real' gills (the Chanterelle has unfolds in the surface making them look more like veins than gills) the stem on the False Chanterelle is usually thinner and False Chanterelle occurs in coniferous woodlands and heathlands.

Some authors suggest apricots but I have never managed to get this smell. It does however smell 'pleasant'.

Late June through until November.

Mainly deciduous woodland and often found with Oak, Hazel and Birch. Sometimes, but rarely, with conifers. A nationally common species but in certain are it can be very difficult to find, Scotland and the Southern counties certainly to seem to be the best places in the UK to encounter this species.

The orange coloured False Chanterelle (Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca) and the extremely rare but poisonous Jack O'Lantern (Omphalotus) look similar but a close inspection will reveal obvious differences. 

The Trumpet Chanterelle (Craterellus tubaeformis) is similar but small and duller in colour. 

The Brown Rollrim (Paxillus involutus) is similar shape but usually much larger, browner and has true gills. 

The Deady Webcap has said to be confused for Chanterelle but it has no deccurent 'gills' and is a brown colour rather than egg yellow.

Edible, one of the best wild mushrooms to find and cook with, it has a lovely texture and taste and if you dry them and the store this is said to bring out even more flavour.

Common in certain parts.
Charcoal Burner
Russula cyanoxantha
Meaning 'reddish'.
Cyan meaning blue and xantha meaning yellow.
7-10 x 5-6.5 μm. Isolated warts.

A familiar and common member of the brittlegill (Russula) family, one that is also highly variable in colour too. The cap can be shades of purple, lavender, green, grey or even brownish, with some authors recognising varities based on certain coloured caps. The fact that this brittlegill does not have very brittlegills compared to most in this family helps to identify it. 

Not distinctive.

Summer to Autumn.

Found with a range of broadleaf and coniferous species, but more commonly with Oak (Quercus) and Beech (Fagus). Found throughout the UK where it is common.

Others in the Brittlegill (Russula) family, the flexible gills is a real feature compared to others. The negative or slightly green reaction to iron salts is also a useful feature along with the gills. 

If it can be safely identified then the Charcoal Burner is a good edible species.

Deadly Webcap
Cortinarius rubellus
From Cortina meaning 'curtains'  a reference to the web around the gills when young.
Meaning 'reddish'.
Rusty brown.

A mushroom that unless you are in the right area and habitat you are unlikely to encounter, indeed at the time of writing (2016) there are just over 100 records on the national database, but it can be quite numerous where it is found. As its name suggest it is deadly and the last known case of poisoning in the UK was in 1979 where it is said the people who ate it thought it was the Chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius). 

This species is common in Northern Europe and the cases of poisonings of this species are on the rise, so great care must be taken in learning its identification so you know to avoid it. Symptoms of this mushroom can be delayed by up to two days, where flu like symptoms along with vomiting occur before total renal failure if left untreated.

Earthy or slightly of radish.


Usually found in coniferous woodland, frequently with Pine (Pinus) and Spruce (Picea). Often found in small groups and can be numerous, damp acid soil with moss are its typical haunts. More common in Cumbria and Scotland, rarer elsewhere. 

This species has been confused with the edible Chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius) which is a very big mistake. Firstly Deadly Webcap does not have deccurent gills, it is not egg yellow and the gills are brown and real gills, not like the veins on the Chanterelle. 

The False Chanterelle (Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca) is much more orange colour, though the colour can fade to yellow or even pale cream, but never usually brown, it has strongly decurrent gills too. 

The Brown Rollrim (Paxillus involutus) also has strongly decurrent gills and is generally larger, the edge of the cap also turns in at the margin. There are many other Cortinarius you could confuse this species and all Cortinarius should be avoided when picking mushrooms to eat. The 'snake-skin' type pattern on the stem, the colour of the cap and the shape of it is quite distinctive though.

Deadly Poisonous, one of the most toxic species in the UK and has known to kill people, it is attributed to a number of fatalities in Central and Northern Europe. No part of this mushroom should be eaten or tasted. The variation in the shape of speciems can be quite dramatic, some have very conical caps and some much flatter, this collection of mushrooms were all taken from the same small patch in North Wales.

Rare outside of Scotland and Cumbria but uncommon there.
3-8 cm
4-9 cm
Deceiving Bolete
Suillellus queletii
From suillus - pertaining to swine.
Named after 19th century French mycologist Lucien Quélet.
9-14 x 4-7µm. Ellipitical to subfusiform.

Once seen it is a quite a distinctive species. The specimens in the photos above are young specimens so the pores are a more vibrant colour, with age they become a more orange-apricot. It is a variable species, but the colour of the stem base when cut in half is distinctive, a beetroot red. The base of the stem is often 'rooting' too.

Not distinctive.

Late Summer to Autumn.

Said to prefer calcareous soils, found under Oak, Beech, Lime and Birch.

The Lurid Bolete (Suillelus luridus) has a distinctive network on the stem, making it look like a net. 

The Scarletina Bolete (Neoboletus praestigiator) has red dots all over the stem which the Deceiving Bolete lacks, it also does not have the beetroot colour in the base of the stem flesh. 

Said to be edible if thoroughly cooked, but we consider it too unusual a find to justify picking for the pot. 

Occasional in the South, Scarce in the North.
Dusky Bolete
Tylopilus porphyrosporus
Meaning 'lumpy cap'.
Meaning 'purply'.
13.5-17 x 6-8µm, thick walled, ellipsoidal to subfusiform.

A mushroom which is easily identified from other mushrooms in the Bolete family due to its colouration and flesh colour. Despite its size it can be rather difficult to find amongst the leaf litter. A dark mushroom which when you find them often look like they have 'gone over', it is not until you have them in the hand does it become obvious that it is just how they look. The slightly 'sour' smell, dark overall colour with a bit of 'purple' hue to it, clean cream flesh colour and pink to pink/brown pores are probably unique in the family.

'Sour', though I think more like fruit.

Late Summer to Autumn.

With both deciduous and coniferous trees. Rare, a scattered number of records from across the UK but with hot spots in the north-west and Pennine areas. Almost no records from the east of the UK and the south-east.

This species is straightforward to identify, however this two main species one is likely to confuse it with in our opinion are the Bitter Bolete (Tylopilus felleus), which is a much paler mushroom all over with paler pink pores and an obvious white 'net' around the top of the stem. The Chestnut Bolete (Gyroporus castaneus) has white pores and a hollow stem and again is totally different.

Not Edible, too 'sour' to be considered edible and too rare to collect anyway.

Scarce in North-west, Rare elsewhere.
False Saffron Milkcap
Lactarius deterrimus
Pertaining to milk.
Meaning very poor.
7-10 x 6.5-9µ,
Pale ochre/buff.

A common species where Spruce (Picea) occurs, when young some specimens can be intensely orange but often tinged green, more noticable in older specimens, giving them an impression of algae growing on them. There are other orange species of Milkcap and you should note what species of tree it is likely to be growing with. 

Nothing distinctive.

Late summer to early winter. 

Common where Spruce (Picea) occurs. Especially common on forestry land where Spruce is often planted for timber. 

There are a number of other orange coloured Milkcaps, take note of the tree species it is likely to be growing with and also any colour changes to the milk or flesh after 10 minutes or so. 

The Saffron Milkcap (Lactarius delicious) grows with Pine (Pinus), it often has a pitted stem.

Lactarius semisanguifluus mainly grows on alkaline soil with Pine (Pinus) and is rare. The flesh and milk both stain a vinaceous colour after around 10 minutes. 

Lactarius salmonicolor grows with Fir (Abies) and is quite rare. It is a bright species with no greening.

Edible and good. Despite the species name of 'very poor' it is still a decent eating mushroom, but not as good its more famous relative the Saffron Milkcap (Lactarius delicious). 

Common where its host occurs.
Giant Funnel
Leucopaxillus giganteus
Leuco meaning white and paxillus is a genus containing the Brown Rollrim
Meaning gigantic
6-7 x 3-4µ, amyloid and smooth.

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.

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.

Not distinctive but if anything it is pleasant.

Late summer to autumn. Most records are August - November.

Often grows in pasture near to woodland but can also be found in open woodland, hedgerows and parkland, often growing in rings. The specimens here were found growing on in a park under a conifer with wood-chip. 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.

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. It looks similar to some of the large white Milkcaps but it does not produce milk. 

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.

Inkstain Bolete
Cyanoboletus pulverulentus
Cyano meaning blue and boletus meaning 'lump of clay'
Meaning covered in powder
10.5-14 x 4.5-6.5µm, broadly elliptical to subfusiform.

I commonly encounter this species early in the season and it is this fantastic mushroom, it is in the Bolete family which also includes Porcini (Cep, Penny Bun, Boletus edulis). Like many Boletus it turns blue when handled but this turns from chrome yellow to inky deep blue within seconds when broke in half, very distinctive, everywhere you handled it too it becomes blue, but it fades to a dull grey after around five or so minutes. It grows with oak and beech and my local cemetery produces an abundance of them. There are other Boletes which are yellow that turn blue but none with such impressiveness as this species, you can see on the images how blue it turns when it is damaged.

Nothing distinctive.

Late Summer to Autumn.

Most often found with both Beech (Fagus) and Oak (Quercus), there are a small number of records from coniferous woods. Occasional, There are records acrosss the UK but it does not seem numerous anywhere. There appear to be more records the further south you go.

Scarletine Bolete (Neoboletus luridiformis) also goes a dark blue, but the pores are orange/red and the cap a darker colour and the stem more orange/red too. Bitter Beech Bolete (Caloboletus calopus) has a much redder stem base and the cap is paler, it does not turn as dark blue. Bay Bolete (Imleria badia) is a much browner species with pale pores, not chrome yellow and turns a lighter blue. The poisonous Satan's Bolete or Devil's Bolete (Suillelus satanas) has a much paler, almost white cap and a very red stem and pores and slowly turns blue when damaged then back to the pale flesh colour.

Research in 2017 suggests that its consumption should be 'restricted' as it can hyperaccumulate arsenic (many mushrooms in general can accumulate heavy metals too, not just this species - which is why you do not pick in polluted areas such as road verges etc). 

For more info read here :

Inocybe dulcamara
Inocybe dulcamara
Means 'fibrous head'
Mean 'sweet bitter'
7-10.5 x 5-6.5µm, smooth, bean-shaped.

This is probably part of a complex of species under the same name. It has been reported to grow with pine on sand dunes, but this probably refers to Inocybe agardhii. Usually numerous when it occurs and it seems to like path edges. 

Slightly sweet, some say of honey. 

Summer to Autumn.

Usually on sandy soil with Willow and Birch, often at path edges. It is also said to occur on sand dunes but that is now thought to be Inocybe agardhii. Scattered records throughout the UK. 

A number of other Inocybes look similar, but a feature with this species in young specimens is that it has a whitish veil under the cap, like that of the Cortinarius (Webcap) family.

Not edible.

Iodine Bolete
Hemileccinum impolitum
Hemi meaning 'half' and leccinum from old Italian meaning 'mushroom'
Meaning 'unfinished'
10-16.5 x 4-6µ, subfusiform.

A large Bolete which even from a distance is quite distinctive. Usually found with Oak (Quercus) on compacted soil, so oaks growing in parks next to well worn paths is as likely place as any to encounter this species. The specimens photographed here were growing with an oak on a housing estate in north Wales. The brightly coloured pores and flesh that do not change colour when cut or damaged and the smell of Iodine in the base should all point to this species.

Strongly of iodine in the base of the stem, especially when cut.

A long fruiting time with records from June through to November, more typically late summer to autumn.

Grows with Oak (Quercus), very rarely with other tree species. Found mainly in southern England where it is Scarce, becoming Rare in the north and rest of the UK.

The Rooting Bolete (Caloboletus radicans) is a similar size and shape and when dry the cap often goes a darker colour like the Iodine Bolete, but the Iodine Bolete lacks the hard 'wood' like base to the stem. The Iodine Bolete also does not change colour (some change can occur after almost a day) unlike other larger Boletes.

Considered edible but not at all tasty and considered by many to be too rare to justify collecting for the pot, there are far better edible alternatives in this family to bother with this species, for that reason we consider it it Inedible.

Uncommon, rare in the north.
5-15 cm
Larch Bolete
Suillus grevillei
Suillus meaning of swines (pigs).
Grevillei after Robert Kaye Greville (Scottish mycologist and botanist).
6-11 x 3-4 μm. Subfusiform to broadly elliptical.

Quite a variable species with some specimens have a vivid orange cap and others with paler yellow caps, these colour changes from younger specimens to older ones and how dry the specimen is. The typical form is known as Suillus grevillei var grevillei and differs from var. badius by not having a chestnut or red cap. 

Not distinctive.

Summer to late Autumn.

Exclusively with Larch (Larix), and common where these trees occur.

The red-brown form of the Larch Bolete (Suillus grevillei var. badius), is identical except for the much redder colour.

The Bovine Bolete (Suillus bovinus), is more of a washed out yellow/peach/orange colour and usually grows with pine.

The Weeping Bolete (Suillus granulatus), at the top of the stem is usually covered in cloudy droplets

We do not like any of the Suillus family, there are far better species to target, but they are often eaten in Eastern Europe, where the slimy layer and top part of the cap are peeled off, the tubes removed and just the flesh of the cap which is very well cooked is used.

Larch Bolete (var. badius)
Suillus grevillei var. badius
Suillus meaning of swines (pigs). Grevillei after Robert Kaye Greville (Scottish mycologist and botanist).
Badius meaning bay-brown.
6-11 x 3-4 μm. Subfusiform to broadly elliptical.

In form the same as the typical 'yellow' form of the Larch Bolete (Suillus grevillei var. grevillei), but the cap and stem is a lovely red-orange to chestnut colour, compared to the usual yellow or orange with the the 'yellow' form.

Not distinctive.


Exclusively with Larch (Larix), this variety of Larch Bolete is said to be more common in the western part of Scotland, but we have also seen it in Wales. 

The 'yellow' form of Larch Bolete (Suillus grevillei var. grevillei) is identical except for the colour, that form is never red-brown in the colour of the stem or cap. 

We do not like any of the Suillus family, there are far better species to target, but they are often eaten in Eastern Europe, where the slimy layer and top part of the cap are peeled off, the tubes removed and just the flesh of the cap which is very well cooked is used. 

In western Scotland relatively Common. Scarce elsewhere.
Leucoagaricus americanus
Leucoagaricus americanus
From 'Leucos' meaning white in Greek and Agaricus a genus of mushroom meaning 'of the country'.
Meaning American.
8-11 x 6-9 µm, ellipsoid

A distinctive species but rare species, found on woodchip, with a distinctive colour change in the flesh, turning yellow when damaged then slowly orange-red. Common on the Eastern side of the U.S.A, it is a rare find in the U.K. When dried out the mushroom can turn dark pink, almost red.

Not distinctive.

Mainly Autumn, but these were found in January in a hot house on woodchip.

Woodchip, rare across the UK with less than a dozen records at the time of writing. 

A few other of the 'Leucoagaricus' species are similar, but the colour change from white to yellow, then to orange-red is distinctive, along with the habitat. 

The Blushing Dapperling (Leucoagaricus badhamii) can grow on woodchip but turns a blood red colour and turns very dark when handled.

Reported to be edible, but due to risk of confusion with poisonous members of the Dapperling family this species should be avoided, especially given its rarity. 

3-11 cm
5-12 cm
Lilac Mushroom
Agaricus porphyrizon
Meaning 'from the country'.
Meaning purple.
4.5-6 x 3-4µ, smooth and broadly ellipsoid.

From what we have found this seems to be a species with conflicting identification features from different sources, so perhaps it is part of an unresolved complex. It is an attractive species, with its lilac scales being subtle, but quite beautiful on close inspection. It is rather scarce but perhaps overlooked. The cap can vary, sometimes being a strong lilac or purple and other times much more brown in colour, but still with a lilac hue. 

Faint but noticable of almonds or anise. 


We have found them in mixed woodland. One author says mainly deciduous woodland, another says mainly confierous, perhaps underlying that this maybe a complex of species. 

One of the other Agaricus that has a lilac or purple colour is the Rosy Wood Mushroom (Agaricus dulcidulus), this is generally smaller than the Lilac Mushroom with a more slender stem and the cap usually is stronger coloured at the centre and pale towards the margin. 


Lurid Bolete
Suillelus luridus
From suillus - pertaining to swine
Meaning 'sallow'
10.5–15.5 x 4.5–7µm, broadly elliptical to subfusiform.

A distinctive Bolete with a red network around the stem which helps to distinguish it from other similar species. The base of the stem also turns blue when Melzer's Reagent is applied. Two colour forms are recognised, a red-capped form (var. rubriceps) and a yellow-capped form (f. lupinus) and some authors note others forms too.

Not distinctive.

Summer to Autumn.

Found with Oak, Beech and Lime, usually on calcareous soils, though it also grows on with Common Rock-rose (Helianthemum nummularium) on the Great Orme. 

The red network around the stem makes it relatively easy to identify to other similar sized boletes which turn blue. 

The Scarletina Bolete (Neoboletus luridiformis) does not have a red network around the stem, it is made of small 'dots' and is usually a deeper red with a darker brown cap.

The Deceiving Bolete (Suillellus queletii) could be confused for this species but that does not have red reticulated network around the stem either. 

Said to be edible when cooked, but known to cause gaustric upsets in a relatively high proportion of people, for that reason it is one to avoid. 

Macro Mushroom
Agaricus crocodilinus
Meaning 'mushroom'
Reference to the 'scales' that sometimes form on the cap.
9-12 x 6-8µ, ovate.

Better known by its older scientific names of Agaricus urinascens and Agaricus macrosporus. A distinctive mushroom that whilst on face value looks similar to other larger Agaricus has subtle differences. The stem is 'rough' below the ring and smooth above it. The smell of this species, especially when mature, is more like ammonia or even urine (hence the scientific name). Probably under-recorded or mis-identified for other Agaricus.

With small specimens it is not really noticeable, some smell slightly almondy. More mature specimens begin to smell of ammonia or even urine.

Summer to Autumn.

Upland grassland, moorland edges, pasture, coastal grassland, woodland clearings and woodland edges are all places we have encountered this species. Widespread over much of the UK.

Horse Mushroom (Agaricus arvensis) is similar but the stem has the same texture above and below the ring and has an aniseed smell.

Edible. Whilst younger specimens are delicious, we find the more mature specimens have a smell with them which we don't like to eat.

Macrolepiota konradii
Macrolepiota konradii
Large and scaly.
Named after Paul Konrad.
12-17 x 7.5-9.5µ, ellipsoid with germ pore.

A distinctive 'Parasol' where the centre of the cap usually breaks up in to a dark cog-wheel like shape on a light cream/brown background. Possibly under-recorded or mis-identified as The Parasol (Macrolepiota procera) so may be more common than the records suggest. 

Not distinctive, but pleasant.

Late summer to autumn. 

Pasture, open woodlands, heathland and occasionally sand dunes. 

Similar to other 'Parasols', the way the centre of the cap breaks up in to a 'cog-wheel', the lack of a shaggy texture and no real colour change when the flesh is exposed should make it straight forward to identify.

Edible, very similar in taste and texture to The Parasol (Macrolepiota procera). 

Occasional, more records from the south.
Magenta Rustgill
Gymnopilus dilepis
From 'gymn' meaning naked and 'pilus' means cap.
'with scales (in two)'
6-8 x 4-5µm, ellipsoidal.

A distinctive species and a rare species that is probably increasing in the UK. It was accidentally introduced from SE Asia and it maybe part of a complex of species so there maybe some variation within specimens found. 

Mainly occuring on 'warm' woodchip, it is a species that may occur in greenhouses or hot houses through the winter, otherwise outdoors it is an autumnal species. 

Not distinctive.

Mainly Autumn but because it is found on 'warm' woodchip it can be found through Winter too. 

On woodchip, a rare species but probably becoming commoner. Most records are from the South and East, these specimens were from Cheshire. 

Plums and Custard (Tricholomopsis rutilans) is a similar species and can sometimes be found on coniferous woodchip. The two species are easily told apart from the lack of ring on Plums and Custard whose spore colour is also white, not orange-brown like the Magenta Rustgill.


Rare, but probably increasing.
3-9 cm
3-9 cm
Mycena diosma
Mycena diosma
'Pertaining to a fungus'
with two successive smell after being damaged or cut.
7.5-10 x 3.5-5.5µm slightly bell-shaped.

One of the larger 'pink' mycenas which can be confusing, but this speices has a distinctive smell of cedarwood at first and then of tobacco or even a cigar box. The cap is hygrophanous so it can throw a spanner in the works when it comes to identifying it as the cap can be shades of cream, lilac, purple and pink depending on how fresh, how wet or how dry it is.  

Cedarwood then of tobacco or a cigar box, not radish like which many of its look a likes have.


Usually with Beech (Fagus) on calcerous soil.

Lilac Bonnet (Mycena pura) is similar and also occurs with Beech (Fagus) but is generally lighter in colour and has a radish smell not like Mycena diosma

Rosy Bonnet (Mycena rosea) is much larger and a brighter pink and also has a radish smell. 

The Blackedge Bonnet (Mycena pelianthina) is another species which could be found in the same habitat but again it has a radishy smell and a distinctive black edge to the gills.

Not edible.

1-4 cm
2-7 cm
Parrot Waxcap
Gliophorus psittacinus
From the Greek Glio - meaning glue, and phoros - meaning bearing, glue bearing is a reference to the slimy nature of the mushroom.
Meaning Parrot.
7.5-10 x 4-6µm, ellipsoidal.

A wonderfully coloured mushroom when young with rich greens and yellow, become more yellow with age. Common in parts of the UK but rather rare across the rest of Europe. Very slimy and young specimens can be well camouflaged in the grass. A stunning species and one that once seen is easy to identify. Young specimens have a strongly emerald green colour in the cap and stem, becoming more yellow as it matures. Very slimy sometimes making it quite difficult to pick up, though in dry weather this can disappear. Small specimens can be very difficult to see in amongst grass, the more mature yellow looking ones are usually what catch your attention.

Not distinctive.

Autumn to early Winter.

Prefers acidic or neutral grassland, can be quite common in higher areas, especially in Wales and the north of England. Often found in lawns and cemeteries. Widespread across the UK, becoming more common in the upland areas.

Some of the other yellow species of waxcap may look similar, but the Parrot Waxcap always has a green tinge in the cap or at the very apex of the stem, this should help clinche the identification.

Not Edible. Whilst some authors state they are edible, they are far too slimy and insubstantial to warrant picking for culinary uses, it is very uncertain if they would be edible anyway.

Peppery Milkcap
Lactifluus piperatus
Meaning to produce milk.
Meaning peppery
7-10.5 x 5-7.5µm, with warts and ridges.

This attractive looking mushroom is a typical milk cap and that will be the first thing to look for when identifying it, gently damage the gills or break a bit of the edge of the cap and it should ooze a little milk, obviously, and that should tell you that you have a milkcap. The next thing is the all white colour with slightly cream gills, especially in younger specimens, becoming whiter as it matures, the gills are very crowded, to the point where it looks like they are so crammed together that it almost appears smooth on the underside. There are other large white milk caps but none have their gills as crowded together as the peppery milkcap. In many parts of Eastern Europe they stick to drying and using it very sparingly as a spice. It grows with a variety if deciduous trees throughout Europe - all the sites I have encountered this species have both oak and beech in close proximity.

Not distinctive.

Late Summer to Autumn.

Usually with Beech (Fagus) and occasionally under other decidious trees. Occasional over much of the UK.

Of the other larger white milkcaps then the two that would lead to possible confusion are the Blushing Milkcap (Lactarius controversus) and the Fleecy Milkcap (Lactarius vellereus). 

The Fleecy Milkcap is generally a much larger mushroom with a 'fleecy' feel to the cap, especially towards the margin, the stem is 'shorter' in proportion to the rest of the mushroom. The gills of the Peppery Milkcap are much more crowded than than both of the possible look-a-likes. 

The Blushing Milkcap often appears like it has been 'bruised' with pink/purple colour on the cap and stem, the stem is shorter and the gills are not as closely packed, it is also mainly found with Poplar, Aspen and Willow.

Whilst it is not recommended to eat as a mushroom (if that makes sense), instead you would be advised to dry the peppery milk cap and then grind it in to powder or flakes and use sparingly like you would chilli flakes. People who have eaten this mushroom whole generally parboil it and even then many report it being not very tasty (but hot) and suffering some digestive discomfort.

Plums and Custard
Tricholomopsis rutilans
Meaning 'like a Tricholoma' which contains similar shaped mushrooms
Meaning 'becoming red'
5-7 x 3.5-5.5µm, subglobose to elliptical.

This beautiful mushroom with a name of Plums and Custard is sadly not edible. It is a species one would expect to find in woodlands that have rotting coniferous wood in them, where it often grows on rotting stumps and trunks. The contrasting plum colour of the cap against the custard yellow of the gills is very distinctive and once seen is not forgotten. Despite it having yellow gills the spore print is white, proving that gill colour alone can not be used to gauge what colour the spores will be, if in doubt always perform a spore print.

Not distinctive.

Late Summer to late Autumn.

Grows on the wood of rotting coniferous trees, very occasionally decidious trees. Sometimes appearing to grow from the ground but it is actually attached to some buried wood just under the surface. Found across the UK, it never seems abundant in any one area but in conifer plantations and woods you can often find some on rotting coniferous wood.

The much rarer Prunes and Custard (Tricholomopsis decora), also grows on Pine stumps and branches but is much more yellow in appearance, it is mainly found in Scotland and is very rare in England.

The rare Magenta Rustgill (Gymnopilus dilepis) occurs on woodchip and has a ring on the stem and an orange-brown spore colour. 

Inedible, considered by many to be too bitter and foul tasting, some people have suffered reactions to it.

Pseudoclitocybe obbata
Pseudoclitocybe obbata
Pseudo means 'false' and clitocybe means 'depressed head' or decurrent gills.
A kind of 'cup'
Off white to slightly pale grey.

A species which is not illustrated in many UK field guides therefore its true status may not really be known. It is a species that resembles the much commoner Goblet (Pseudoclitocybe cyathiformis) but is not found in woodland, instead it is often found in unimproved grassland and often where there are other species such as the Limestone Waxcap (Hygrocybe calciphila) and Cedarwood Waxcap (Hygrocybe russocoriacea).

It is hygrophanous, so it can be paler when dry and darker when wet with different rings of colour on the cap as it is drying out. 

Not distinctive.

Autumn to Winter, often found well after most mushrooms have finished for the year.

Unimproved grassland, coastal grassland. Thought not to occur on nitrogen rich soils. Often occurs with waxcaps.

Very similar to the Goblet (Pseudoclitocybe cyathiformis), but is found in unimproved grassland where as the Gobelt occurs in woodland, whilst it can be found in grassland there are trees or shrubs very nearby.

Not edible.

Scarce, possibly overlooked.
2-6 cm
2-7 cm
Redlead Roundhead
Leratiomyces ceres
Named after French botanist Auguste-Joseph Le Rat
Probably from Cerise, which is from the French, meaning "cherry", a reference to red colour.
9-14 x 6-7.5 µm, smooth, ellipsoidal.

A species which has increased in its distribution over recent years, presumably as a result of more woodchip being used as mulch, where this species likes to occur. It is quite a distinctive species, usually growing in quite large numbers, and at first their colour is vibrant and with a sticky cap, but this can fade with age or in very dry weather. 

Not distinctive.

Autumn, though occaisonally summer and into winter if it is mild. 

Mainly on woodchip, but sometimes also on very rotted vegetation on basic soils. 

When it is fresh it should be a straight forward species to identify. 

Not edible.

2-6 cm
2-5 cm
Rooting Bolete
Caloboletus radicans
From the Greek meaning 'pretty lump of clay'
Meaning rooting
10-15 x 4-6µ, subfusiform.
Olivaceous - brown.

A large Bolete which grows low to the ground, often the misshapen caps can be confused to stones or rocks on the ground. The cap in more mature specimens is often dinted, grooved or covered in scales, but when you turn the mushroom over you can see the lovely bright yellow pores and bits of red on the stem. When cut in half there is sometimes a red colour to the base of the stem and the rest of the flesh slowly turns blue and then shortly after the blue begins to fade.

Slightly peppery but never strong.

Summer to Autumn.

Grows with deciduous trees, nearly always Beech (Fagus) and Oak (Quercus). It is often found growing at the side of roads and paths where the soil is slightly more compacted. More frequently encountered in the south where it is Occasional, it happens to grow very close to Discover the Wild in the north but it would still be considered a Scarce find up here, practically absent from Scotland.

The Iodine Bolete (Hemileccinum impolitus) grows in similar habitat and grows to around the same size, it does not turn blue when cut though and has a smell of Iodine in the base of the stem. 

The Bitter Beech Bolete (Caloboletus calopus) is a smaller less robust species, it has a more obvious red stem which extends over much of it. The stem of the Bitter Beech Bolete is not woody at the very base. 

Not Edible. Considered too bitter and foul tasting.

6-20 cm
4-10 cm
Rosy Bonnet
Mycena rosea
From the ancient Greek for mushroom.
From latin meaning rosy coloured.
6-8 x 3.5-4µ, sub-cylindrical, amyloid.

Considered to be merely a colour from of the Lilac Bonnet (Mycena pura), but it is distinctive in its own right, be pink rather than purple. A species that is commoner in the southern half of the UK, especially in Beech woods, although not confined to them. It does contain muscarine and therefore should be considered poisonous. 

Strongly of radish.

Autumn to winter, often found when the first frost arrive. 

Commoner in the southern half of the UK, it is most often seen in Beech (Fagus) woodland, although it can be seen with other tree species and also coniferous trees too.

The Lilac Bonnet (Mycena pura) is very similar, although generally it is slightly smaller and less bulky and is much more of a purple colour than a pink (white and yellow forms of Lilac Bonnet also exist). 

The ‘Tobacco Bonnet’ (Mycena diosma) is much smaller, generally lilac or purple and has the scent of tobacco rather than radish. 

Known to contain muscarine, and although it may be in small quantities this species should be treated as Poisonous.

Rosy Wood Mushroom
Agaricus dulcidulus
Meaning 'from the country'.
From latin meaning 'sweet'
4.5-6 x 3.5-4µ, smooth, broadly ellipsoid.

This is another Agaricus which some specimens can be hard to identify in the field. Typically it is quite a small species to that of the Lilac Mushroom (Agaricus porphyrizon), with a much slender stem and smaller cap. The colour is more intense at the centre of the cap and becomes much paler (sometimes white) towards the margin of the cap. It does discolour yellow with age or when damaged. The stem is sometimes lilac above the ring and the ring itself is rather fragile. 

Quite strong, of anise or almonds. 


Found in mixed woodlands but also quite often on sand dunes. It has a scattered distribution across the UK.

The Lilac Mushroom (Agaricus porphyrizon) is similar, but on the whole the Rosy Wood Mushroom is smaller and has a slender stem, with a paler cap margin unlike the Lilac Mushroom. It also sometimes has a lilac tinge above the ring, which in itself is more fragile than that of the Lilac Mushroom. 

Unknown, possibly poisonous.

Ruby Bolete
Hortiboletus rubellus
Horti means garden, boletus from 'bolos' meaning lump of clay.
Meaning reddish.
11-12.5 x 5-5.5µm, subfusiform.

A delightful little mushroom with younger specimens being a vivid red colour with yellow pores. Does not often crack in the cap like similar species. The colour of cap fades more brown with age. The base of the stem can have orange spots (which is a feature shared with the very similar Hortiboletus engelii).

Pleasant but indistinct.

Late Summer to Autumn.

Usually in parks and gardens where there are Oak (Quercus) trees. 

Hortiboletus engelii is similar, but this species starts with a brown cap and fades to red, where as the Ruby Bolete starts red and slowly fades to brown with age. 

Said to be soapy and they are often filled with maggots, so best avoided.

Occasional, rarer in the North.
Russula praetervisa
Russula praetervisa
Meaning 'reddish'.
Meaning 'overlooked'
7-8.5 x 5.5-7 μm. Warts to around 0.7 μm, frequently connected. High contrast image, spores in Melzer's Reagent.
Dark cream.

Formely known as Russula pectinatoides, but that species is now thought to be found only in North America. Noting the smell, taste and reaction to guaiac and iron salts is crucial to confirm the ID. The 'taste' (by placing a bit of the gill on your tongue and spitting out) is mild and oily but importantly not hot. Often appearing early in the season, June and July commonly, and so you often find dried specimens when the weather turns hot. Look for the rust coloured spots towards the bottom of the stem.

Not pleasant, oily or fishy.

Summer to Early Autumn, often found in June, July and August.

Often in parkland under Oak (Quercus) and sometimes Lime (Tilia), frequently on sandy or light soils.

Differs from the very similar Russula pectinata which has a foetid smell, unpleasant and acrid taste and spores with fewer connectives.

Differs from Russula sororia which has a very acrid taste, a very weak to negative reaction to guaiac and spores with very few connectives. 

The smell of this mushroom should be enough to keep you from eating it.

Salty Mushroom
Agaricus bernardii
Meaning 'from the country'.
Named after G. Bernard, who first 'found' this species.
6-8.5 x 4.5-6.5-µ, broadly ovate.
Dark brown.

A species that has increased in recent years, along road networks where its preference for salty conditions are met through the gritting of roads. They heavily cracked cap on mature specimens and the change in flesh colour to red once cut make it a distinctive member of the Agaricus family.

Unpleasant, fishy, some even think slightly like urine. 


Usually grows in meadows and dunes near the sea, but has spread quickly across the road network where roads are gritted, creating a similar habitat. Found widely across the UK.

Whilst the Agaricus family can be difficult to identify, the Salty Mushroom usually grows near the coast or by roads, the fact the flesh turns from white to vivid red when cut and the deep cracks and groves on the cap of mature specimens, make this a relatively straight forward species to identify. 

Edible but not worthwhile, it is often slightly maggoty, has a bad smell and often grows near roads where no mushrooms should really be gathered for consumption.

Uncommon, increasing especially along roads.
Scarletina Bolete
Neoboletus praestigiator
Neo- means new or young, Boletus from 'bolos' meaning 'lump of clay'.
Meaning someone who plays tricks of deceives.
12-16 x 4-6µm, broadly ellipsoidal to subfusiform.

A beautiful species that has undergone a number of scientific name changes in recent years. Boletus erythropus and Neoboletus luridformis are two of the common ones, but these names do not relate to this species. As with many boletes it is important to check the stem flesh when fresh, in this case to make sure there is no red in the flesh near the stem base to elliminate some look-a-likes. This species bruises very easily, and when young and fresh has a very vivid colour, but as it matures the bright red pores and stem can become more muted in colour. 

Not distinctive.

Late Summer to Autumn.

Most frequently encountered with Beech (Fagus) and Spruce (Picea) trees. Common across most of the UK, more often on more acidic soils.

The Lurid Bolete (Suillelus luridus) is similar but has a distinctive red reticulated network around the stem, not the dots that are on the Scarletina Bolete. The Lurid Bolete also prefers more alkaline soils. 

The Deceiving Bolete (Suillellus queletii) could be confused for this species but that species a beetroot red colour in the stem flesh near the base, the Scarletina Bolete does not. 

Could be confused with other red pored Boletes, but they would generally have a paler cap.

It is an edible species but around 1 in 3 people seem to suffer with a reaction to them (usually digestive discomfort), they turn an unpleasant colour when cooking and can be confused with other species, some poisonous, so for that reason we think they are best left. 

Slender Parasol
Macrolepiota mastoidea
Large and scaly.
Probably from mastos, Greek meaning breast.
13-17 x 8-10µm, smooth, ellipsoid.

Not as big as The Parasol (Marcolepiota procera) or the Shaggy Parasol (Chlorophyllum rhacodes) but can still grow quite large. It has fewer obvious scales compared to that of some of the similar species. Starts off with a rounded cap which until it expands appears to have no ring. The ring itself can sometimes become free and fall to the bottom of the mushroom. 

Not distinctive. 


Said to be more common in the south of the UK, it inhabits open deciduous woodland, pasture and often sand dunes and coastal grassland.

Many of the other Parasols are similar, but this species does not have obvious dark scales like that of the Brown Parasol (Chlorophyllum brunneum), does not have the shaggy scales of that of the Shaggy Parasol (Chlorophyllum rhacodes) and does not have the ‘snakeskin’ like pattern on the stem like that of The Parasol (Macrolepiota procera). 

Edible and good. Care should be taken to ensure you do not mistakenly pick the Shaggy Parasol (Chlorophyllum rhacodes) which can cause stomach pain and vomiting in some people.

Slippery Jack
Suillus luteus
Suillus meaning of swines (pigs).
Meaning golden yellow.
7-10 x 2.5-3.5 μm. Subfusiform to elongate elliptical.

A distinctive species, when fresh covered in a thick mucus like substance, this can quickly disappear if dry, leaving a shiny brown-purple cap. Large thick ring with dots just above the stem and growing with Pine (Pinus) should make this species relatively straight forward to identify. 

Not distinctive.


With Pine (Pinus) where it can be common where these trees occur. 

Suillus collinatus which lacks the ring on the stem and the stipe base and mycellial strands are pinkish. 

The red-brown capped form of the Larch Bolete (Suillus grevillei var. badius) does not have small dots above the ring on the stem and grows with Larch (Larix) not Pine (Pinus).

Edible, we do not like any of the Suillus family, there are far better species to target, but they are often eaten in Eastern Europe, where the slimy layer and top part of the cap are peeled off, the tubes removed and just the flesh of the cap which is very well cooked is used.

Spotted Blewit
Lepista panaeolus
Chalice or Goblet shaped.
Means variegated.
4.5-7 x 3-5µm, minutely roughened, ellipsoid.
Pale pink.

A characteristic species of meadows and unimproved pasture that often grows in large rings. Care should be taken with older specimens as the spots around the edge of the cap disappear with age and they can resemble other pale grassland species. The cap is smooth.

Mealy, like wet flour, quite strong. 

Autumn, especially later in the season. We often find this species when search for wax caps towards the end of October. 

Meadows, churchyards and unimproved grassland. Usually when you find this species there is also a good array of waxcaps, clubs and corals too. This species often grows in large rings. 

Young specimens with the ring of spots on the cap should be straight forward, but older specimens that have lost these could look like some of the poisonous grassland Clitocybes, such as Fool’s Funnel (Clitocybe rivulosa) which also grows in rings, although it is generally smaller than the Spotted Blewit.

Edible but it would be wise to leave them alone, not only are they quite rare but the older specimens could be confused with more poisonous species such as the Clitocybes, which occur in the same habitat.

Uncommon to Rare
St George's Mushroom
Calocybe gambosa
Meaning 'pretty head'
Meaning 'club-footed'
5-6 x 3-4.5µm, ellipsoidal, smooth.

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.

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. 

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. 


Tan Pinkgill
Rhodocybe gemina
Meaning rose head.
Meaning twin or paired.
4.5-7 x 3-4.5μm, seen here in Meltzer's Reagent, broadly ellipsoidal and angular, small irregular warts.
Pale Pink.

Some authors use the name Clitopilus gemina. A species that is not well illustrated in the mainstream field guides. Once seen and identified it is quite easy to identify. When fresh it appears quite 'dry' but when wet it becomes quite dark and almost looks like a different species. It can grow in single fruitbodies but often they fuse together and look almost clumped. 

Pleasant, slightly of fruit.

Summer to Autumn.

In mixed woodlands, gardens and on woodchip. Rare across the UK but probably under recorded. In some years we encounter this species in many locations, then go years without seeing it. 

Good specimens are quite distinctive. Some of the Entolomas (Pinkgills) may look similar.

Some authors say edible, others say suspect, it is too rare to warrant picking for the pot anyway. 

Scarce, commoner in some years.
Tufted Wood Mushroom
Agaricus impudicus
Meaning 'of the country'
From Latin for 'shameless'
5-7 x3.5-4.5μm, ellipsoidal, smooth.

A beautiful member of the Agaricus family, unlike many other of the 'woodland' Agaricus it does not change colour in the flesh when damaged. 

There are differing opinions on whether the gills change colour, with some authors stating the turn dark red when damaged. This is not my experience, in fact a look at images online rarely shows any reddening when the gills are damaged, so perhaps this is not feature, or maybe part of an unresolved complex of species. 

That a side it is a relatively straight forward species to identify.

In fresh specimens sometimes earthy, radishy or even a bit like metal. It is not always a strong smell though.

Autumn, often growing late in the season and even in to early Winter.

Woodland - deciduous, confierous and mixed woodland.

Some of the other 'brown capped' mushrooms such as Scaly Wood Mushroom (Agricus langei) and Blushing Wood Mushroom (Agaricus silvaticus) both turn red in the flesh when damaged, which the Tufted Wood Mushroom does not. 

This mushroom does not turn yellow but check for any yellowing if you are thinking about eating it to make sure you do not pick any poisonous Agricus. 


Uncommon but widespread.
5-12 cm
6-12 cm
Veined Shield
Pluteus thomsonii
From latin, meaning something protective, like a shield.
Named after Thomson.
6-8 x 5-6 µm, smoth, globose to subglobose.

An easy to identify species with the distinctive cap that looks like someone has used a glue gun on it, with raised pale 'veins' that make this species quite unique. 

Not distinctive.

Summer to Autumn.

On rotting wood in decdious woods, usually preferring Beech (Fagus) or Ash (Fraxinus).

It is so distinctive with the glue gun like cap that confusion with other species is unlikely. 

Velvet Shield (Pluteus umbrosus) is larger and has dark velvety ridges on the cap, not the pale 'veins' like the Veined Shield. 

Not Edible.

Occasional in the South, rarer in the North.
Wood Blewit
Lepista nuda
Chalice or Goblet shaped.
Meaning naked.
6-8.5 x 4-5.5µm
Pale pink, sometimes slightly buff coloured.

A species that on first glance may not look like much, but once the underneath is seen it is rather a striking species. Younger specimens start a vivid lilac/purple but as they mature they become duller. The caps start off rounded before become flat and eventually slightly funnel shaped. Usually occur in groups.

Fragrant, faintly of aniseed. Aromatic, sometimes described as 'perfumed'.

Autumn to Winter, but often still occurring well after the first frosts have appeared.

This is a saprobic species (living in or being an environment rich in organic matter) and occurs often in gardens, hedgerows, woodland and parks.

Care should be taken not to confuse this species with lilac or purple members of the Cortinarius (Webcaps) family. One of the easiest ways to check is that the Wood Blewit produces a pale pink spore print whereas the Cortinarius family produce a ginger spore print.

The Sordid Blewit (Lepista sordida) is very similar, though its colour is often more intense when young, it is slightly thinner and smaller compared to the Wood Blewit and the spores are slightly more elongated. It is just as edible if treated in the same way.

The Field Blewit (Lepista saeva) only has a violet/blue coloured stem, the gills and cap are not the same colour.

The Amethyst Deceiver (Laccaria amethystina) is much smaller and coloured amethyst all over.

Edible and good BUT must be cooked before eating. Younger specimens are best and care should be taken not to confuse them with poisonous Cortinarius species.

Common and Widespread
Wood Hedgehog
Hydnum repandum
From the Greek word Hudnon meaning 'Truffle'
'Bent back', a reference to how the cap sometimes grows
6-9 x 5-7μm, ellipsoidal, smooth.

The Wood Hedgehog, or Hedgehog Mushroom, is one of the more iconic and easy to recognise mushrooms of our woodlands. The robust caps, lovely peach colour and 'spines' rather than gills (hence the name hedgehog) are really rather distinctive, and once you have found one then usually there will be a group of them nearby as they can be quite prolific in the right areas. This is one of the first species that my Grandma taught me how to identify and it is one of my favourite mushrooms to find out in my local woodlands every autumn. In recent years this species has shown some tolerance to dry, warm autumns when other species have suffered.

Not distinctive.

Late Summer to late Autumn.

Grows with both coniferous and deciduous trees, however we generally find them growing with Beech (Fagus). Common over much of the UK, Scotland, Wales, the north, south-west and south-east of England are all strongholds for this species, there are much fewer records in central and eastern England, but it is still found there.

The Terracotta Hedgehog (Hydnum rufescens) is a smaller less robust mushroom with much larger 'spines' for the size of the mushroom. The 'spines' of the Wood Hedgehog are generally more decurrent where as those of the Terracotta hedgehog are adnexed. The cap of the Terracotta Hedgehog is generally much darker than that of the Wood Hedgehog, and the stipe is much thinner.

Edible, a wonderful edible mushroom which is up there with some of the best, it is commonly sold in markets in Europe. We find it best to get rid of the 'spines' before cooking as they can get everywhere and sometimes stuck in your teeth.

Yellow Stainer
Agaricus xanthodermus
Meaning 'of the country'
From Greek meaning 'yellow-skinned'
4.5-7 x 3-5µm, elliptical.

Most books illustrate the 'normal' white smooth capped form, but if forming under dry conditions then the cap can be 'scaly' and darker. Some authors refered to this as var. lepiotoides. 

A poisonous mushroom which resembles a number of edible agaricus species, therefore extra care should be taken if you are planning on eating species such as Field Mushroom (Agaricus campestris) or Horse Mushroom (Agaricus arvensis).

Of all the mushrooms that people accidentally poisonous themselves with, the Yellow Stainer is the most likely. People often confuse it with the edible Field Mushroom (Agaricus campestris) and symptoms vary from the usual vomiting and diarrhoea to some cases of people going in to comas, to some people having no reaction at all! I believe this species is on the increase, I am seeing it more and more frequently and in places I never us  to find them, it is one to learn to avoid, it smells of ink and becomes stronger when you cook it, it turns yellow and has a large ring on the stem (in proportion to the size of the stem). People often say they only pick Field Mushrooms but in a survey we carried out most people who collected Field Mushoooms were often collecting Field Mushroom look-a-likes which happen to also be edible. For this reason if you are going to go out and pick Field Mushrooms then learn this species first!

Of ink, or phenol, and becomes stronger when it is being cooked.

Early Summer through to Autumn.

Often under hedgerows, in gardens and sometimes meadows. Found throughout the UK, seems to be increasing.

Most of the Agaricus family, the Inky Mushroom (Agaricus moelleri) has a darker mottled cap but also turns yellow when damaged.

POISONOUS, usually causes vomiting and severe stomach cramps but has also put people in to comas. Some people have no reaction.

Occasional, commoner in some years.
5-14 cm
5-13 cm
Yellowing Bonnet
Mycena luteovariegata
Meaning 'mushroom'
Meaning yellow especially as irregular patches or streaks.
5.5-7.5 x 2.5-4 µm, ovoid.

A beauitful species, but one that could easily confuse you as the colour of the cap can vary so much. From hues of violet, purple, pink and blue it turns cream and then yellow as it ages. 

For years this species either was recorded as Lilac Bonnet (Mycena pura) or as Mycena pura f. lutea, but it is now known to be a seperate species.

The habit of growing in grassland (we usually find this species alongside Waxcaps and other good grassland fungi), the smell of radish and the changing tones of cap colour should make it straight forward to identify.



Grassland, more often on light or slightly alkaline soils. The true distribution of this species will be hard to asses as it has been recorded as just Mycena pura, but we seem to find it often in the right habitat. 

Lilac Bonnet (Mycena pura), which for many years this species was considered to be a form of, does not go yellow and is generally found in woodland and not grassland. 


Occasional, probably under-recorded.
2-5 cm
3-6 cm
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