Deer Mushroom

Fawn Mushroom, Shield Pluteus, Deer Shield

Pluteus cervinus

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The Deer Mushroom, scientifically known as Pluteus cervinus, is a commonly found mushroom that grows on decaying wood. It belongs to the Pluteaceae family and is often recognized by its unique appearance which somewhat resembles the coat of a deer.

Deer Mushroom

Common Name
Deer Mushroom

Other Names

Fawn Mushroom, Shield Pluteus, Deer Shield

Latin Name

Pluteus cervinus

Distribution

Widely distributed across North America, Europe, and other parts of the world.

Appearance

The cap of the Deer Mushroom is convex, becoming flatter with age. It has a smooth texture, and its color can range from pale brown to dark brown, often with a radial gradient. The gills underneath the cap are free from the stem and are initially white but become pink as the spores mature.

Size

The cap diameter usually ranges from 4 to 12 cm

Habitat

Found growing on decaying wood, particularly logs, stumps, and other woody debris.

Diet

Saprotrophic, meaning it feeds on decaying organic matter.

Lifecycle

As a fungus, its lifecycle involves spore germination. When the conditions are right, these germinated spores form a mycelial network which then gives rise to the mushroom (the fruiting body). This mushroom releases pink spores, which then spread and start the lifecycle over again.

Defense Mechanisms

Although the Deer Mushroom is generally considered edible, it doesn’t have any specific known toxins as a defense mechanism. As always, foragers must ensure correct identification, as many mushrooms can be easily confused with toxic varieties.

Ecological Importance

Deer Mushrooms play a vital role in breaking down and decomposing wood, helping in nutrient recycling within the ecosystem.

Conservation Status

Not classified as threatened; it is a common species.
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