Beech Mushroom, Honshimeji

Hypsizygus tessulatus

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Also Clan! Shell

The three names above belong to one mushroom with complicated commercial origins. (If nomenclature interests you, read on; if not, skip to the next paragraph.) When the cute, sturdy fungus first appeared in the United States over a decade ago, it was marketed as yamabiko honshimeji and honshimeji. Since then “the general name ‘Shimeji’ has been assigned to about 20 species, causing widespread confusion amongst amateur and professional mycologists,” Paul Stamets writes in Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms. “Scientific articles have attempted to clarify what is the ‘true Shimeji’ which Japanese call Hon-Shimeji,” and which is now known to be a species of Lyophyllum. The confusion is understandable “because young specimens [of Lyophyllum] . . . look very similar to Hypsizygus tessulatus, known in Japan as Buna-shimeji or the Beech Mushroom.”

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