Rare red ear fungus discovered in the Netherlands

Rare red ear fungus discovered in the Netherlands

Mycologists, who are experts on mushrooms, are excited: Photographer Piet Brouwer captured some beautiful specimens of red ear mushrooms at Amsterdamse Bos last week. This was only the ninth time that this suspected alien species from the United States had been seen in the Netherlands. Mycologists have yet to agree on whether it was really an American invasion. In mushrooms, exotics are distinguished by being rare for a long time and then spreading with surprising speed.

This was exactly what was expected for the small red mushroom after the first discovery in August 2014 in Flevopolder, which was followed just five days later by a second observation in Zeeland. After that, things slowed down. However, it has been found in various places in the Netherlands, with a short lateral stalk on the dead branches of deciduous trees, sometimes next to the homogeneous white ear fungus. Other observations came from Groningen, southern Holland, and Utrecht.

Its scientific name is crepidotus cinnabarinus: crepidotus is the species name, ear fungus. Cinnabarinus is a Latin word meaning scarlet, named after the mineral vermilion, which has a red-orange color. So it can also be called cochineal mushroom. The new discovery may help increase knowledge, because not much is known about this mushroom so far. It was first described in 1895 after it was discovered in the United States. In 1943 it was described in Denmark as a new species. England followed and at the beginning of this century Belgium and the Netherlands.

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Mushrooms come in bright colors and surprising shapes, from large to small, and from edible to deadly. There are thousands of species, and many of them are very popular, but almost everyone immediately thinks of the Spillebeen rocking chair: red with white dots.

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