Cucumber Cap

Macrocystidia cucumis

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By Roger Phillips

Published 2006

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Cucumber Cap Macrocystidia cucumis (Pers.) Joss. (illustrated 25% life size) Cap 0.8–5cm, conical to bell-shaped, expanding with age; dark blackish-brown to purplish-brown when young and moist, becoming paler reddish-brown as it ages and dries, margin often much paler; smooth. Stem 20–60×1–3mm, slender, cylindrical or slightly flattened; pale cream above, darker orange-brown to blackish at base; usually distinctly velvety. Flesh thin, pale brown; taste very unpleasant, rancid or with cod-liver oil component, smell very strong, a mixture of raw fish and cucumber. Spores 7.5–10×3.5–5¼, narrowly ellipsoid; smooth. Spore print dull pinkish-brown. Cystidia on gill edge large, swollen, with long, narrow point. Habitat in woods and gardens in humus-rich, nitrogen-rich places, now becoming very common on woodchip mulches in gardens; early summer to late autumn. Frequent. Not edible. Note thanks to Geoffrey Kibby for description and photograph.