Pluteus cervinus

Pluteus cervinus
Image Courtesy of Peter Katsaros
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Group of Fungi: Agarics

Family: Pluteaceae

Latin Name: Pluteus cervinus (Schaeff.) P. Kumm.

Synonym(s): Pluteus atricapillus (Batsch) Fr.

Common Name: Deer Mushroom

Description: Total height 2 1/2–4 1/2 in (6.5–11.5 cm); cap 1 1/4–4 1/2 in (3–11.5 cm) wide, convex to flat, light gray-brown to dark brown, usually darker near the center, upper surface smooth to streaked with fibers, slightly viscid when moist; gills close to crowded, white at first but becoming salmon-pink; stalk 2–4 in (5–10 cm) long, 1/4–3/8 in (0.5–1.0 cm) in diameter, smooth or with some small fibers present, white to grayish brown; spores salmon-pink to brownish pink in mass.

Biological Role: Decomposer of wood.

Habitat: On decaying wood debris of broadleaf trees; occurring as solitary fruiting bodies or in scattered groups.

Geographical Distribution: Widely distributed throughout North America.

Comments: Pluteus cervinus is often exceedingly common throughout the entire fruiting season for fungi. This species is usually easy to recognize because it is one of the few wood-inhabiting fungi with pink gills. Although Pluteus cervinus is edible, this is only the case for very young (and fresh) specimens and even then it is considered to be rather mediocre.

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