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Lobster mushroom

Hypomyces lactifluorum

Description:

Lobster mushroom is not a mushroom, but rather a parasitic ascomycete that grows on mushrooms, turning them a reddish orange color similar to that of the outer shell of a cooked lobster. It colonizes members of the genera Lactarius (Milk-caps) and Russula, such as Russula brevipes and Lactarius piperatus in North America. At maturity, H. lactifluorum thoroughly covers its host, rendering it unidentifiable. Lobster mushrooms are widely eaten and enjoyed; they are commercially marketed and are commonly found in some large grocery stores. They have a seafood-like flavor and a firm, dense texture. According to some, they may taste somewhat spicy if the host mushroom is an acrid Lactarius.

Habitat:

In a sunny clearing in my yard, among cedars, firs and hemlock

Notes:

Lobster mushrooms are widely eaten and enjoyed; they are commercially marketed and are commonly found in some large grocery stores. They have a seafood-like flavor and a firm, dense texture. According to some, they may taste somewhat spicy if the host mushroom is an acrid Lactarius. The last and paler mushroom is younger and not fully colonized I will attest to their edibilty.

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5 Comments

KarenSaxton
KarenSaxton 9 years ago

It isn't freaky, once you try one. And birdlady, my yard is a clearing in the forest

ceherzog
ceherzog 9 years ago

pretty interesting but also freaky to think about eating

birdlady6000
birdlady6000 9 years ago

Huh! Lisa had the exact question I was worrying about. What a cool spotting and it is in your yard!

KarenSaxton
KarenSaxton 9 years ago

From everything I've been able to find, it seems to colonize the three species mostly and here, it is often L piperatus, giving it a spicey flavor, but notenouggh to upset the stomach. They sold commercially and so far no one has gotten sick that I know of. The big one was huge too! Very cool

LisaPowers
LisaPowers 9 years ago

How incredibly interesting! Does it always grow on the same type mushroom or does it also colonize poisonous mushrooms? Thanks for sharing this very cool spotting!

KarenSaxton
Spotted by
KarenSaxton

Coquille, Oregon, USA

Spotted on Aug 1, 2012
Submitted on Aug 2, 2012

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