Bloxam's entoloma (Entoloma bloxamii)
|Size||Cap diameter: 3.5 – 8 cm (2)|
Stem (stipe) height: 7 cm (3)
Short-listed for inclusion in the Bern Convention by the European Council for Conservation of Fungi (ECCF), and included on the Red Lists of 15 European countries (4).
Bloxam's entoloma produces a striking, blue, mushroom-shaped fruiting body (2). The smooth cap has a broad swelling in the centre (known as an ‘umbo’), which has a more violet tinge (3). The tightly packed, white gills on the underside of the cap contrast well with the blue colour of the fungus; they develop a more salmon-pink colour as they age (2). The solid stem (or ‘stipe’) of the mushroom is also blue in colour with a whitish base (2).
WARNING: many species of fungus are poisonous or contain chemicals that can cause sickness. Never pick and eat any species of fungus that you cannot positively recognise or are unsure about. Some species are deadly poisonous and can cause death within a few hours if swallowed.
This fungus is widely distributed in Europe, although it is rare throughout its range, which also extends into Asia and North America (2).
Bloxam’s entoloma inhabits unimproved grasslands such as old meadows and hayfields (2). It is usually associated with calcareous soils although it may also be found in more acidic areas (3).
Fungi are an enormous group of organisms that are so distinctive from both plants and animals that they are placed in their own kingdom. The main body of the fungus is composed of a multitude of microscopic threads (known as ‘hyphae’) which are located within the substrate (5). The fruiting body (such as the more familiar mushroom or toadstool) is produced to release spores and thus allows reproduction to occur. Fungi feed by absorbing nutrients from their surroundings.
The blue, mushroom-like fruiting bodies of Bloxam’s entoloma are produced between August and November (2).
Bloxam’s entoloma is threatened by the disturbance of its habitat caused by agricultural improvement (2).
It is recommended that the continuation of traditional grassland management, without the use of fertilisers or the disturbance of soil, will help to secure the future of this rare fungus (2). In addition, Bloxam’s entoloma is a candidate species for listing in Appendix I of the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, otherwise known as the Bern Convention (4) (6).
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- Calcareous: containing free calcium carbonate, chalky.
- Spores: microscopic particles involved in both dispersal and reproduction. They comprise a single or group of unspecialised cells and do not contain an embryo, as do seeds.
- National Biodiversity Network, Species Dictionary (July, 2003) http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nbn/
- European Council for Conservation of Fungi (ECCF) (2001) Datasheets of threatened mushrooms of Europe, candidates for listing in Appendix I of the Convention. Bern Convention Standing Committee. http://www.nature.coe.int/CP21/tpvs34e.htm
- Courtecuisse, R. & Duhem, B. (1995) Mushrooms and toadstools of Britain and Europe. Harper Collins, London.
- The distribution, status and habitat requirement of the 33 fungal candidates for listing in Appendix I of the Bern Convention. (June 2003) http://www.artdata.slu.se/Bern_Fungi/Bern_Fungi.htm
- Pegler, D. & Spooner, B. (1992) The Mushroom Identifier. Apple Press, London
- Bern Convention (June, 2003) http://www.nature.coe.int/english/cadres/bern.htm