Smelly lepiota

Lepiota cristata

The smelly lepiota (Lepiota cristata) is a small, white mushroom with arranged concentrically, denser in the center than on the margin reddish-brown or mahogany scales on the cap. It looks like many species of the genus Lepiota and it is surely one of the most abundant in the district of Bages. First the cap is conical shape but it flattens keeping the grub, up 5 cm diameter. Just the center of the hat is coloured because the mahogany cuticle breaks into concentric scales that quickly decrease on the margin showing the white flesh. Underneath, the gills are free, dense and white or ivory. The stem is thin and cylindrical, up to 6 cm height, white with brownish shade at the base. Just below the hat, the stem carries a membranous ring.
The smelly lepiota has unpleasant odour that different authors have described as metallic, pharmaceutical, cinnamon or rubber.
The smelly lepiota grows among the litter on the floor of forest edges and meadows in autumn. Like similar species of the genus, Lepiota cristata is toxic. Obviously, it is not a dwarf damper or parasol (Macrolepiota procera); in nature every species has its own size scale. [photos Jordi Badia]