Page author: Julie Jones
Gymnopilus ventricosus
jumbo Gym, giant Gymnopilus, big laughing mushroom
WTU specimens
Other herbaria

Habitat: Rotting logs, snags, or stumps

Conservation Status: Not of concern

Edibility: G. junonius may be psychoactive, G. ventricosus apparently is not. In the case of the former, specimens from Japan and eastern North America have been reported to be hallucinogenic, while many European populations are often inactive. More study is needed to ascertain the distribution of these species and determine their toxic properties.

Description:
Edibility:

G. junonius may be psychoactive, G. ventricosus apparently is not. In the case of the former, specimens from Japan and eastern North America have been reported to be hallucinogenic, while many European populations are often inactive. More study is needed to ascertain the distribution of these species and determine their toxic properties.

Identification Notes:

There are several very large gymnopiluses that have bright yellow-orange to rusty orange, minutely fibrillose scaly caps; thick, yellow, bitter flesh; yellow to rusty orange gills; and large, thick, orange-yellow to brownish stipes with a distinct membranous ring. These often grow in clusters and can be very spectacular, sprouting from rotting logs, snags, or stumps. There are two such species in our region---Gymnopilus ventricosus and G. junonius. The more common one is G. ventricosus, which has caps reaching the size of dinner plates and very thick stipes that are enlarged in the middle and have a prominent, often spore-covered, membranous ring. In North America this species often has been called G. spectabilis. The less common species in our region, G. junonius, occurs on both conifer and hardwood substrates and typically is somewhat smaller with a thinner stipe. According to recent studies it is the same as G. spectabilis and its name has priority. These large gymnopiluses have earned the common name “big laughing gym” because of their assumed hallucinogenic properties. These large gymnopiluses could be confused with large cluster-forming pholiotas, but consideration of their yellow-orange color and bright spores should lead to the correct genus.

Comments:

Common names: jumbo Gym, giant Gymnopilus, big laughing mushroom

Accepted Name:
Gymnopilus ventricosus (Earle) Hesler

Synonyms & Misapplications:
(none provided)
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Gymnopilus ventricosus in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

CalPhotos: Gymnopilus ventricosus photos.

7 photographs:
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