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September 30, 2014

Hypholoma sublateritium

November 2013's featured mushroom was the
Hypholoma sublateritium: Brick Caps

Hypholoma sublateritium is called Naematoloma sublateritium in some field guides. Brick caps are listed as an edible mushroom in many field guides: Phillips has them as edible but sometimes bitter tasting, Lincoff considers them “one of the better edibles of late fall” and Miller lists them as inedible and bitter. I have eaten these mushrooms several times and usually have found them to be fairly good. Occasionally a collection will be bitter though. Two collections gathered by two of us from a single log had both bitter and tasty specimens ruling out my conjecture that the substrate might determine whether they would be bitter or tasty.

Brick capsBrick caps have a moist, brick red cap which is slightly paler at the cap edge. The caps range from 1½ to 4 inches wide. Young caps will have inrolled margins that flatten with age. The white stems are 2 to 4 inches tall and ¼ to ½ inches thick. The gills are attached at a right angle. The gills are whitish when young changing to purplish gray with age. The partial veil is somewhat cobwebby leaving a slight ring or ring zone on the upper part of the stalk. The spore print is purplish brown. The taste is mild to bitter. Brick caps fruit in clusters on hardwood stumps or logs in the late fall. I have found them on wood chips once.

Brick capsThis is a mushroom that is worth tasting though they probably should be cooked separately from other food as they might be bitter. You don’t want to ruin a meal by cooking it with a bitter mushroom.