Velvet Shank - Flammulina velutipes
This attractive fungus is quite common in our woods in winter time. It can indeed be found at most times of year, but most commonly in winter. It is recognised by the slippery orange cap and the black velvety stem or stipe. It is usually saprophytic on dead wood, but can also be parasitic, invading wounds in the tree. It is found on a variety of trees. So far in the NI database, it has been recorded from the following trees:
Elm: 4 records, Ash: 4 records, Willow: 3 records, Alder: 3 records, Beech: 1 record, Oak: 1 record, Sycamore: 1 record, Silver birch: 1 record, Hazel: 1 record, Gorse: 1 record, Elder: 1 record.
In northern continental Europe, it is more commonly found on "soft" woods like Willow, Poplar and Ash, whilst in warmer southern Europe, it is usually found on "hard" woods like Beech and Oak (Vellinga, 1996). Here in Northern Ireland, it is found on a real mix of hard (elm is a "hard" wood) and soft woods. Does this reflect our cool, but mild climate??
It has been recorded at the following times of year in Northern Ireland
The distribution of Flammulina velutipes in Northern Ireland is shown below. The dots represent a record within a 10km square.
This map was produced using DMap
It is also edible. Roger Phillips in his book, Wild Food, describes it as good in flavouring stews and soups, whilst if it is sautéed on its own, it has a good flavour, but a "slippery" taste.
Vellinga, E. (1996) Flammulina velutipes in the Netherlands Mycologist, Vol.10, part 4, p.167-172
Phillips, Roger (1983) Wild Food Pan Books ISBN: 0 330 28069 4
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