Another mushroom hunt, on a dull, damp Sunday afternoon, with the woodlands glowing softly against the grey sky in shades of saffron and mustard. It began to rain. I found an old tube of extra strong mints in my anorak pocket. Even less fungal activity than before, but the pine enclosure did not let us down - a beautiful lavender crop of Wood Blewits, which should last for a few days...
And nearby, a large congregation of these fellows. Yet again my trusty mushroom book seemed to have the perfect match - Clitocybe Inversa. Description - tick. Picture match - tick. Growing in spruce land - tick. But we have never eaten this before. Back home with a healthy pink glow and mugs of hot chocolate, we got out our other fungi books and Googled. The first thing we do before trying a new species is to check, check and check again - and to make sure it can't be confused with anything poisonous.
Now a little confusion set in. It probably was Clitocybe Inversa, but another book had an identical looking picture labelled Clitocybe Flaccida. Googling almost made the situation worse - it also looked identical to Lepista Inversa, which also ticked the right boxes? Oh, hang on, apparantly, Clitocybe Inversa has a variant called Clitocybe Flaccida. But Wiki says that Clitocybe Flaccida is the new name for Lepista Flaccida...and they all look the same...ah, that would be something to do with there being a 'generic revision' between Lepista and Clitocybe - so they used to be different but now they are the same. According to the boffins.
But the good news was whatever you choose to call it, they are edible. Conclusion - much easier to call it by its common name - Tawny Funnel Cap. Cuts to the chase and tells it how it is; it's tawny. It's funnel shaped. And very nice when fried, and served with meatballs and gravy. Andy said they were a bit tasteless. I said they were free.