Armillaria mellea

Armillaria mellea (= Armillariella mellea)

Armillaria mellea [= Armillariella mellea] is one mushroom that’s found in autumn in thick colonies with welded bottoms of the stipes on stumps of most of tree species, specifically on holm oaks. It may appear on the soil as well, though not so numerous. However, always their mycelia connect a near tree. Armillaria mellea usually develops first in dead roots and stumps, but it can jump to alive trees. Therefore, Armillaria mellea is a tree pathogen fungus. Besides the forest, Armillaria mellea is found in tree crops, parks and gardens.

Every mushroom starts with a convex cap that’s covered by a honey colour cuticle (the adjective mellea refers to it) with yellow dots. As it grows, the cap becomes flat and the cuticle uniform. The 3rd picture displays old individuals with flat and smooth caps, the others the young mushrooms. Beneath the cap, there are whitish, decurrent grills. The stipe is slim, roughly 1 cm diameter and up to 10 cm high. Neat to the top, there is one white ring that comes from the partial veil. Below the ring, the stipe is made of resistant fibres and brown coloured with some white spots. The different caps of one colony overlap, most of them hold by curved steps in order to find free space.

Young individuals are edible except the too strong stipe, though not very appreciated and not well tolerated by somebody.

[photos Jordi Badia (1st, 2nd 3rd and 4th) and Marta Queralt López Salvans (5th and 6th)]