Harkening back to 2010/10/16#08 where I *thought* I had found an Aborted Entoloma, I was correct!
Today, we found a huge mass of them, and they grow in heavy numbers wherever Entoloma and Armillaria (Honey Mushrooms) grow together.
In essence, they are what you get when those two mushrooms “graft into eachother” much like how apples are grafted onto orange tree roots to increase the size of the fruit and make it sweeter. Only this happens naturally, and the Armillaria causes the Entoloma not to open up, and become all lumpy.
The sad part, however, is that being so distracted in collecting them, I forgot to grab some samples of the Entoloma “parents” for identification (as some Entolomas can give you an upset stomach). I only took pictures. 😛 So now we’re going to have to throw out the lot or run back out to the patch tomorrow and scrounge up the “parent” samples again.
UPDATE (Oct 30 2010): Apparently, according to Tom Volk (a very well-published mycology expert at the University of Wisconsin, and a bit of a mushroom celebrity) Entoloma abortivum is a bit of a misnomer. It seems that the species is actually Armillaria that have been deformed some way by the Entoloma, rather than the other way around as was quickly snapped up into the literature. As such, all so-called “Aborted Entoloma” (since they’re more “Aborted Armillaria”) should be edible, provided you cook them long enough. As such I’ve also updated my tagging a bit.