Trametes versicolor / Coriolus versicolor / Polyporus versicolor
RARE FINDS and/or QUESTIONABLE
Here is another great tasting mushroom you can't count on. What I mean is you can't decide one day to just go out and pick a few R.O's like you would do with field mushrooms when conditions are ripe or morels in the Spring in the areas where you know they pop up.
The Rooted Oudemansiella is one of those mushrooms I have categorized as 'Incidentals', that is,
They are like Shaggy Manes, you never know if they are going to be around.
It's like this: my wife will ask me after I get home "What'd you find hun?" and I'll explain by responding, " I found some King Boletes and Golden Chanterelles and, incidentally, I also found 3 Rooted Oudies".
When you do find some it is usually just a few.
You just don't plan on going out on a Rooted Oudemansiella foray.
I would love to say you could though. The caps have soooo much flavor for such a little morsel.
Click the image for another view.
R.O's are very non-descript. They are not hard to spot if you are actually keeping an eye out for them while searching for other mushroom types but they can be easily missed because they have a bit of camouflage in their color. The caps and stems will have some shade of light brown, brown, gray or gray-brown which blends really well with the leaf litter. If it was not for the inordinately long stem they would be as devilish to spot as Black Morels.
Rooted Oudemansiella's generally don't get real big. Here is a typical sized R.O. next to a 16 ounce coffee cup. This cap is 2 1/2 inches wide. Some caps will get to 4+ inches. It takes a lot of caps to make a meal. For me though they are a joy to find, an eagerly anticipated appetizer when I get home, whether there is just one or just a bit more.
Chop, chop and into the hot olive and butter mix.
However, every now and then a 'Mother of all Rooted Oudie's' will be found.
The two links below show a specimen that had a root extension over 4 inches long, a stem that was 21 inches and a cap 6 3/4 inches wide.
The cap was so heavy that the gill attachment to the stalk could not be maintained.
And the spore drop on the leaves of the plants it towered above looked like a snowfall. Just a bit of a hyperbole.
The stalk / stem is longer than in normal mushrooms. It is one of the distinctive features to help identify this mushroom. There is no volva, veil or ring on the stalk. The upper portion of the stalk is whitish, the lower part colored like the cap. There is occasionally some fine hairiness to the stalk.
Like I said, the cap is brownish, brownish-gray, grayish-brown and or lighter shades of those colors.
It starts off as bell-shaped and then, as it ages, developes an umbo ( raised hump ) on the surface which is within a depressed area.
The surface has a very slippery feeling when wet. The cap margin is often translucent enough to partially see the gills through the skin.
The flesh of the cap is white and miserly, that is, very thin fleshed.
If it was not so flavorful any normal person would just ignore it.
I don't though! I will go out of my way to snatch an Oudie cap!
I actually look forward to getting a few home from each foray because I usually have just enough for myself for a small batch of Rooted Oudemansiella Cutlets.
The gills are white or whitish and widely spread apart. Gills are notched and attached to the stalk.
One of the other distinctive features is the root at the end of the stalk. To see it though you have to be careful in uprooting it because it can break off easy enough. I am a firm believer in picking 'prototypes' so it is important to me to confirm the 'type' by actually using my knife to dig out the stalk all the way down to the root.
Geez, it's not like you are going to be digging oodles of Oudies. It will more than likely be 'one here and then later, another'.
There are other similar colored mushrooms with stature much alike so if the root is not there it is tossed.
Don't bother cooking the stem. It's tough. Once Identified cut the stem off near the cap and put the cap in a separate container. If you put it in with the twenty pounds of Golden Chanterelles you already have picked you will have only pieces of R.O. remaining in the bag.
Spore print is white. Until you know this mushroom very well it's always a good idea to take a spore print.
Shucks, you can still eat the cap afterward, but for safety's sake, take a spore print.
Weather conditions: Best when weather has been damp. Found in deciduous woods and piney woods from Summer to Fall. Occasionally in lawn areas near woods.
I find them because I actually 'look' to see if they are about while i'm squatted down in the process of making mushroom midden. You will be surprised at what you can see when you are down close to the ground. I find them 'incidentally' from July through September, sometimes into October if wet and warmish.
Best Practice: Make sure the rooted bottom is there. Also that the gills are white and the cap is thin fleshed white.
Oudemansiella radicata - A/K/A - Rooted Oudemansiella, R.O., Rooted Oudie.
Some mushroom authors have it scientifically labeled as: Collybia radicata or Xerula furfuracea.
DATE - July through September.
Weather conditions: Best when weather has been damp. Found in deciduous woods from Summer to Fall.
FOUND -They could be almost anywhere where there are a lot of beech & oak trees so keep your eyes open. I also find them in pine woods. I start keeping my eyes peeled for these from late July, during the season that Chanterelles and Hedgehogs abound, through September, when I am searching for Sheep's Head.
Coincidentially, I find them 'incidentally' in those areas where I seek Sheep's Head and Chanterelles, which are usually beech & oak mixed woods.
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