Train Wrecker Mushroom (Lentinus Lepideus)
The mushroom you’re referring to is more commonly known as “Lentinus lepideus,” but its correct scientific name is “Neolentinus lepideus.” This species is commonly referred to as the “Train Wrecker” or “Scaly Lentinus.”
Here are some characteristics and details about Neolentinus lepideus:
1. **Appearance**: This mushroom has a scaly cap, which is where its common name “Scaly Lentinus” comes from. The scales are typically brownish on a paler background.
2. **Habitat**: Neolentinus lepideus is known to grow on decaying wood, particularly on coniferous wood. Its common name “Train Wrecker” is derived from its ability to degrade wooden railway ties.
3. **Decomposition**: This fungus is a white rot fungus, meaning it breaks down the lignin in wood, leaving behind the lighter-colored cellulose.
4. **Edibility**: While some sources suggest that young specimens might be edible when cooked, others advise against consumption due to potential confusion with toxic species. As always, one should never consume wild mushrooms without proper identification and knowledge of their edibility.
5. **Distribution**: It’s found in various parts of North America and possibly other regions.
If you’re interested in this mushroom for any specific reason, such as culinary use or study, always ensure you have a reliable field guide or expert to assist with identification. Many mushrooms have toxic look-alikes, and proper identification is crucial for safety.