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Laccaria laccata, commonly known as The Deceiver, is a white-spored species of small edible mushroom found throughout North America and Europe. It is a highly variable mushroom (hence "deceiver"), and can look quite washed out, colorless and drab, but when younger it often assumes red, pinkish brown, and orange tones. The species is often considered by mushroom collectors to be a "mushroom weed" because of its abundance and plain stature.

DescriptionEdit

The deceiver is a small mushroom with a cap up to 6 cm (2.4 in) in diameter, convex when young and later flattening or even depressed in the center. It can be various shades of salmon pink, brick-red, or shades of orange or brown when moist or young, and duller and paler when dry. The fibrous stipe is 5–10 cm (2–4 in) high and 0.6–1 cm wide. The irregular gills are widely spaced and decurrent or adnexed, and of similar color to the cap, though whiten with spores as the mushroom matures. The spore print is white, and the round spiny spores are 7–10 μm in diameter. The flesh is thin and has little taste.

Distribution and habitatEdit

Laccaria laccata is found in scattered troops in wooded areas, and on heathland often in poor soil. It is very common in all of the northern temperate zones, but tends to favor cool weather.L. laccata is mycorrhizal with several types of trees, including members of the Pinaceae (Pines), Fagaceae (Beech), and Betulaceae (Birch). It is found across Europe and North America, south into Mexico and Costa Rica. Laccaria species are mycorrhizal, and thought by some to be a pioneer species.

EdibilityEdit

Although small, the deceiver is edible and mild-tasting. However, it is important to distinguish it from potentially lethal small brown mushrooms.

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