Clitocybe Tarda

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Clitocybe Tarda (Lepista Tarda), Vancouver Island, BC
Clitocybe Tarda (Lepista Tarda), Vancouver Island, BC, photo by Bud Logan

The mushroom has a brownish pink cap with a smooth surface, the flesh is thin and brittle, and the cap tastes bitter. The stalk is slender and smooth. The spore print is pinkish gray. It is unknown if the species is edible, but it does have a pleasant taste.  There has been a name change for these mushrooms, it is now called Lepesta Tarda.

This is a relative of the mushroom, Clitocybe nuda, it is quite pretty in itself although it lacks the lilac color of the Ciytocybe Nuda, it still has recognizable the wavy cap.  This mushroom will fruit in very large groups on your lawn in the fall. It’s quite the sight to see.

The cap can be up to 6 cm across, convex, but expanding to nearly plane as it ages, eventually becoming depressed.  It’s color when fresh is tan to medium brown, sometimes with a tinged lilac, color is darkest at the center, but becoming paler at the margin. The odor is indistinct and its taste is not all unpleasant.

Clitocybe Tarda (Lepista Tarda), Vancouver Island, BC
Clitocybe Tarda (Lepista Tarda), Vancouver Island, BC, photo by Bud Logan

Clitocybe Tarda mushrooms that are found growing in lawns are usually the result of some sort of buried wood debris or other organic matter. The fungi that produce these mushrooms are beneficial, they break down and decompose organic material in the soil and this makes nutrients available for other plants. This process is, for the most part, harmless to your lawns and actually help your lawn grow.

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