The Honey Fungus is the scourge of many a gardener both professional and amateur as this mushroom is parasitic and lives off the nutrients of living trees until the trees ultimate demise! Closely related to the edible European varieties this species has been consumed for many years with no recorded ill effects. Bitter in its raw format only requires a small amount of cooking to transform it to a highly sought after and extremely tasty mushroom.
These mushrooms are parasitic and will always be found growing in clumps around the base of its host tree, it will also follow the tree roots which are the main source of its reproduction.
Everything about this mushroom comes together perfectly including the scientific name which actually makes sense.
Armillaria from Latin armilla ‘bracelet’ (because of the bracelet-like frill/ring on the fruiting bodies)
luteobubalina from Latin meaning yellow buff coloured.
This is quite a good mushroom for beginners who would would like to try different mushrooms but who are wary of picking the wrong thing and getting sick or even worse! It is quite distinctive in its characteristics and also habitat which narrows down potential lookalikes.
The cap is yellow to orange in colour. Usually around 5cm-10cm in diameter. The cap is firm, has white flesh and scattered across the caps of the younger mushrooms are scales that are quite rough to touch, these can disappear as the mushroom grows. The cap starts out convex before flattening out as it matures. (see pics above)
The gills themselves are yellow to white in appearance .They are adnate and quite often the weakly decurrent gills are crowded.
The stem is usually around 5cm-20cm long and 0.5cm-2cm wide. It is cylindrical in shape can break quite easily revealing a fibrous stem. The stems start out pale and get more yellow as the mushroom matures also attached to the stem is a pale yellowish stem ring which usually persists to maturity (this can be seen on the gill pic).
Although this mushroom is quite distinctive, it could to the novice be confused with Gymnopilus junonius as there are a few similarities. However the spore colour between the two are completely different with the Gymnopilus producing rusty colour spores.
please use this reference as a tool for identification only and never eat any mushroom unless you do your own research and you are 100% sure. Remember if in doubt leave it out!