Gymnopilus spectablis anyone?

Michael A. Dritschel mad at
Fri Sep 6 11:10:28 EST 1996

In article <50pc86$bdp at>, dgaines at (David N. Gaines) writes:
> I am looking for information on possible habitat and or forest (tree 
> species) associations of Gymnopilus spectablis and other members of this 
> genus.  I have searched for them on and off in hardwood forests of the 
> Appalachian range (Pennsylvania to Virginia) for the last 15 years and 
> had little luck.  Several years ago I worked on a mosquito survey in the 
> flood plains of south central Virginia and found Gymnops on several 
> occasions.  They were growing on river birch (Betula nigra) stumps and 
> logs (mid summer) an an area that was pretty much pure river birch. I did 
> not find them in any other forest type environment.  Unfortunately,  I 
> did not have time to ID these Gymnops but they were a redish or 
> pinkish-orange color, had caps 1-2 inches in diameter  and had a distinct 
> anslike odor.  They did not fit the descriptions of G. spectablis  (i.e. 
> were too small and too red colored), but had other characteristics of the 
> genera.  Are G. spectablis typically found in association with a 
> particular tree species or forest habitat?  Is there a season when they 
> are more prevalent?  I would appreciate any help I can get on this 
> subject.  
> David
> -- 
> .... --- .-- -.. -.--   ..-. .-. --- --
> Blacksburg, VA 24061
> dgaines at
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While in graduate school at the University of Virginia, I found
Gymnopilus spectablis once growing on a decrepit silver maple on
campus (the tree was cut down shortly afterwards).  Some friends,
aware of its reputation, tried it out but reported none of the sought
after effects.  They ate it fresh rather than dried, which may have
something to do with it, though I've read that there can be quite a
lot of variability potency, with for example specimins found in
Japan being much much stronger than those from the US.

While on the subject of mushrooms growing on trees, another rarely
encountered species is Volveriella bombicina.  Again while in graduate
school I had the good fortune of finding it fruiting on a red maple
that I would drive past on the way to campus.  It fruited several
times per year, and this continued for four years from the time I
first noticed it until apparently playing out.

Michael A. Dritschel          mad at

Department of Mathematics
Mathematical Sciences Building
Purdue University
West Lafayette, Indiana  47907-1395


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