Fairy Ring Mushroom Marasmius oreades

Status Green - Least concern
Best Time to See June, July, August, September, October, November
Colour
Habitat Woodland, Grassland

The source of the fabled fairy rings. It was once thought they grew in the tracks of dancing imps who then sat on them to rest.

This is a smallish, pale tan and fleshy agaric with distant white gills and whitish flesh. It has a blunt umbo (rounded knob), tough rooting stem and smells of fresh sawdust.

Distribution

Found throughout the UK.

Where to see

In rings on grassland, and in the short grass of pastures and garden lawns, and occasionally on woodland edges.

When to see

June to November

Did you know?

These are sometimes referred to as 'resurrection mushrooms' since they can dry out completely in hot sunny weather and yet they reflate and regain their characteristic shape and colour when eventually rain soaks them. The reconstituted mushrooms are also able to create new cells and to produce new spores. This characteristic is due to a high concentration of the sugar trehalose, which prevents catastrophic cell damage on desiccation of the fruit bodies. The genus name Marasmius originates from the Greek word marasmos, meaning 'drying out'.

The origin of oreades, the specific epithet, are the Oreads or Oreiades, nymphs (in Greek mythology) of mountains, ravines and valleys - all of which are places where Fairy Ring Champignons might be found, although these mushrooms are certainly not confined to such locations.

They are edible but great care should be taken in collection, since it can be confused with the deadly Clitocybe rivulosa.