No one expects a pleasant family dinner to be followed by a late-night, hospital stomach-pumping. So be careful if you put the Dirty Trich in your collecting basket. Back home, the cook may innocently toss it into the cooking pot with the rest of your mushrooms. Your reputation of being a smart mushroom hunter will be shot forever. You’ll have to cook and eat your mushrooms alone, if you dare.
Some fine-flavored, gray-capped Tricholoma species appear in this region. But these are only for the true mushroom expert. A good laboratory quality microscope is important to help separating the edible from the poisonous species of this group. The more technical field guides offer specific details.
This Tricholoma species’ large size and dark, scaly cap are important identifying features. My photo does not clearly show these dark scales.
Large pale grey cap with dark scales.
Large white stem.
Grows mainly under conifer trees, late in the season.
CAP: 2” to 6” across. Grayish-brown, becoming whitish to pale grayish-brown. Covered with small, scattered, gray-brown to nearly black scales.
GILLS: White, with a depression where they attach to the stem.
SPORE PRINT: White.
STEM: 2” to 6” long, 3/8” to 3/4” thick. White.
GROWTH: On the ground under beech and conifer trees from August to November.
EDIBILITY: NOT EDIBLE AND VERY DANGEROUS. Eating T. pardinum—even in small quantities—results in a severe, persistent stomach/intestinal poisoning that can put you in the hospital for several days. The toxin has not been identified.
LOOKALIKES: Inedible T. virgatum tastes hot, raw. Edible and delicious T. myomyces and T. Terreum are close copycats. Both have small, rarely over 2” wide, mousy-gray, furry caps. There are others.
NOTE: Unless you are a true expert, do not risk eating Dirty Trich lookalike edible species.