A look-alike Hebeloma

During another walk this evening I encountered another mushroom that had a similar appearance to an edible field mushroom.   I picked it and brought it back to the house to document why it is not an edible field mushroom.  Here is a picture of the cap.

The cap is not outside of the colour range that one might expect for an edible field mushroom, but notice that it is shiny?  In fact it is quite slimy to the touch.  This alone is enough to declare it to not be an edible Agaricus.  However, let us continue…

When we flip the mushroom over, we can see that the gills are in the right kind of colour range and that the stem has the right sort of thickness in relation to the cap.  In fact, the gills even darken from pinkish to brown over time.   However, the thing that is glaringly absent is an annulus or ring on the stem.  Not a hint of one!  We know for sure now that this is not an edible Agaricus, but lets go further…

If we attempt to snap the stem away from the cap, the result is unsucessful.  The whole cap tears apart rather than breaking at the junction of the stem and the cap.  There is no change in the tissue type between the stem and the cap.  This thing has now failed three tests.  Quite a pretty mushroom never the less 🙂

If you are wondering about the tabletop, it is Australian red cedar, Toona ciliata.  The mushrroom is Hebeloma westraliense, edibility unknown (Bougher and Syme).  Hebelomas are very useful for promoting the growth of Eucalypts and are cultivated for that purpose worldwide.

12 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Julie said,

    Hey, these hints and instruction are really good. Clear, concise and with pics. Very handy for the novice. Everything you always wanted and needed to know. Thankyou. Keep it coming Morrie.

  2. 3

    Dave Freer said,

    Morrie2 – what sort of environment was it in please?

    • 4

      morrie2 said,

      Hi Dave,

      That Hebeloma was along the edge of some karri / marri forest, right next to some introduced Stringybark trees. Impossible to know what the host tree is.

  3. 5

    Maxine kerr said,

    Found these in my garden 🙂 theyre beautiful <3

  4. 6

    Quinticus said,

    So which species of Hebeloma is it? Hebelomas are so mysterious. Even on the internet it’s hard to find out much about them. Is this one poisonous? If so, how poisonous is it? Just think, if the actress Kate Hudson had a sister named Hebeloma, it could be Hebeloma Hudson. How’s that for alliteration? Those heavenly Hebelomas. So mysterious.

    • 7

      morrie2 said,

      I have identified it as Hebeloma westraliense, as I mentioned. I might be wrong, but it matches up with the description in my reference book – Bougher and Syme. Fungi of Southern Australia. They list the edibility as unknown, which is the general case for Australian fungi. David Arora says Hebelomas should not be eaten – thats good enough for me. They might give you the Hebe-jeebies!

  5. 8

    forthferalz said,

    thanks for the info! the common name for an introduced species Hebeloma crustuliniforme, listed on Roger’s mushrooms “the Poison Pie mushroom” might be hint someone verified the inedibilty a few times

    • 9

      morrie2 said,

      I haven’t come across Hebeloma crustuliniforme itself, but the name speaks for itself. My Great Encyclopedia of Mushrooms (German origin) says that it is merely indigestible while others in the genus are more poisonous. My reference book on mushroom poisoning (Lincoff and Mitchel, 1977) says that edibility of mushrooms in the genus Hebeloma is largely unknown, though they report one case of severe stomach upsets and diahorrea from an incident of a Russian immigrant family in North America in 1926 eating poison pie. Hall et al. in their book Edible and Poisonous mushrooms suggest that some members contain muscarine, quoting Lincoff and Nehring (1995).

  6. 10

    remi said,


    I am a mushroom lover and I really like your site. Coming from France where the vast majority of mushrooms are known, I felt pretty frustrated in Australia to not know if I should pick one kind of mushroom or not. Your blog helped me a lot.

    I picked recently some mushrooms in the forest around Melbourne that I still can not identify despite they feel like edible.

    The colour of the cap is quite similar to the Heleboma shown in the picture: from caucasian skin pink to cinnamon pink. The cap varies from 4-5cm to 8-12cm and is convex when young but age umbilicate. The stem is white, thick (1cm diameter) and firm and 4-7cm long. The ones I found were under trees, growing around trunks. They smell slightly like radish but unlike the poison pie, their spore print is cinnamon red. I ate just a small piece raw. the flavour was quite mild but it was delicious. The flesh was firm.

    Any idea what it could be? I could send you some pics if you want.

    • 11

      morrie2 said,

      I am sorry but I have not idea what they could be. I strongly suggest that you do not go around simply tasting small pieces of unknown mushrooms however. If you pick the wrong one, it could prove fatal. There are several species that contain highly poisonous amatoxins. There are many mushrooms around the place. Most of them are of unknown edibility. They might taste ok, but that is no guide at all to the edibility. I certainly would not consider eating anything with a cinnamon red spore print.

      • 12

        remi said,

        I decided to follow your advice and I threw them away. Thanks for your answer.

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