velvet shank, enoki, winter mushroom

Flammulina velutipes

This bright and beautiful winter mushroom is our wild native version of the Asian cultivated enokitake.  It grows in dense clusters on dead hardwoods (I find it mostly on beech and ash) after the night temperatures approach freezing, and, since it can tolerate frost, can be harvested throughout the winter months.  The stipes and young caps of these gorgeous little fungi are velvety, hence their scientific name ,velutipes'=,velvetfoot'.  As they mature, the stems turn very dark and retain their velvety texture, while the bright orange (,Flammulina' = ,little flame') caps, especially in damp weather  become shiny and glisteningly moist.  The lamellae and spores are white.