Sulfur Tuft Mushrooms

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Sulfur Tuft Mushrooms, Vancouver Island, BC
Sulfur Tuft Mushrooms, Vancouver Island, BC, photo by Bud Logan

Look for these mushrooms from April through to the first heavy frosts, a walk-in our island forests rarely fails to reveal Sulphur Tufts fruiting on fallen trees, decaying stumps or hollow trunks of living trees. This wood-rotting fungus will happily feed on deciduous hardwoods as well as conifers with equal relish, although it is most effective in rotting hardwoods, which generally have a higher cellulose content and rather lower lignin content than conifers.

The caps of these mushrooms grow to a common size and this helps in identification. The Sulphur Tuft fungus, Hypholoma fasciculare, is classed as inedible, but even you do try, the taste is so bitter that I doubt if you would continue to eat it. In some parts of the world, Hypholoma fasciculare has been linked to severe cases of poisoning and at least one death.

Sulfur Tuft Mushrooms, Vancouver Island, BC
Sulfur Tuft Mushrooms, Vancouver Island, BC, photo by Bud Logan

Poisoning by Hypholoma fasciculare is occasionally reported and apparently it can result in severe symptoms, including not only stomach pains and nausea but also temporary paralysis and distorted vision.  If you suspect that someone has consumed them, the onset of effects will take between five to ten hours between the ingestion of these fungi and the appearance of symptoms of poisoning.

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