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The ragged raincoat (Latin Lycoperdon mammiforme or Lycoperdon velatum) is a rather rare species, which is considered one of the most beautiful representatives of the Champignon family. The name of the mushroom is based on the peculiarity of the structure of the cap, which makes it easy to distinguish it from other varieties of raincoats.
Description of the ragged raincoat
The shape of the fruiting body resembles an inverted pear, especially in young specimens. As it matures, the cap expands and takes on a flattened appearance.
The diameter of the fungus can reach 4-5 cm, the height is 6 cm. At the initial stage of development, the skin is relatively smooth, covered with large furrows. Over time, its top layer breaks, so the caps of adult ragged raincoats are covered with large white flakes, as can be seen in the photo below. As a rule, they are lighter than the rest of the mushroom, which by this time darkens slightly and acquires a beige or ocher color. At the base of the leg, the outer cover remains for a rather long time, which is why a kind of collar is usually formed under the cap, the edges of which are bent down.
The flesh on the cut is white, but only in young specimens. In mature mushrooms, it darkens and becomes a chocolate shade.
The hat of a ripe raincoat is clumpy covered with uneven white flakes
Doubles and their differences
There are few twins in the ragged raincoat, since its unusual appearance makes it easy to distinguish it from false representatives of the family. On the other hand, inexperienced mushroom pickers can still collect by mistake, instead of him, a related subspecies - edible raincoat (Latin Lycoperdon perlatum) or prickly.
In young mushrooms, the surface of the cap is warty, and each tubercle has a conical shape. Because of this, it seems that the hat is as if studded with small thorns. In older specimens, they are absent, therefore, according to the general silhouette, they can be confused with a ragged raincoat. But the latter's skin is never smooth, its cap is covered with large flakes. In young mushrooms, there are distinct cracks on the surface, which is not observed in the twin.
As the name suggests, edible raincoat can be eaten, but it is desirable to collect white fruit bodies - their pulp is elastic and tasty. A dark cap indicates the old age of the mushroom.
This species bears fruit from June to October-November. It can be found in both coniferous and deciduous forests.
On the surface of the cap of an edible raincoat, there are many small spines
The baggy bighead (Latin Bovistella utriformis) or the bubble-shaped bighead is another twin. They can be distinguished, first of all, by their size - a similar variety is much larger than a ragged raincoat. The height of the baggy bighead can reach 10-15 cm, some specimens grow up to 20 cm altogether. For this reason, it is possible to confuse different species only at a young age.
Another difference between them is the structure of the cap. In a ragged raincoat, it is covered with torn flakes, which are located on the surface not too tightly to each other. In the baggy head, the cap is lumpy - the skin is represented by convex warty formations that adjoin each other end-to-end.
The twin bears fruit from the last days of May to mid-September, with the peak of ripening in July. You can find it on forest edges and meadows, most often alone.
Important! The baggy bighead is an edible variety, but it is recommended to eat it before the flesh darkens.
There are no significant gaps between warty formations
Where and how it grows
The clumpy raincoat prefers deciduous forests and grows mainly under oak or hornbeam. Most often it bears fruit in small groups, but single specimens can also be found. The distribution area includes areas with a mild warm climate. In Russia, this species can be found within the middle lane.
The fruiting season is from July to October, but sometimes it stretches to November if the year is warm.
Like other mushrooms, the clumpy raincoat quickly absorbs toxic substances from the soil. For this reason, it is best not to harvest old fruit bodies, especially if they grow near roads. A large amount of heavy metals accumulates in their pulp.
Edible mushroom clumpy raincoat or not
The clumpy raincoat is considered an edible variety, but it is recommended to eat only young mushrooms. These include specimens that have not yet formed spores - their flesh is soft, tender and juicy.
A ragged raincoat is prepared in different ways, but most often the fruit bodies are finely chopped and fried in a pan or grill - they perfectly tolerate heat treatment. At the same time, the pulp does not soften to a jelly-like state and does not fall apart. During cooking, the caps and legs do not shrink.
For the winter, the crop is usually dried, but you can also pickle raincoats.
Useful properties of ragged raincoats
The benefits of a ragged raincoat have long been known - for several centuries, patients in European countries have been fed broth from the pulp of this mushroom. The beneficial effect on the human body is explained by the fact that the fruit bodies of this species quickly absorb heavy metals and toxins. That is why dishes made from it are recommended for people with kidney and liver diseases. In addition, the clumpy compounds contained in the raincoat strengthen human immunity and reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
Advice! The pulp of this type is also widely used in cosmetology. Masks and creams based on a ragged raincoat give the skin elasticity and remove oily sheen.
The clumpy raincoat is an edible mushroom that does not have poisonous counterparts, so you can collect it without much fear. All species similar to it are suitable for consumption, therefore, even in the event of an error, there will be no harm from the harvested crop. At the same time, it is advisable to give preference to young specimens, since the pulp of overripe mushrooms acquires an unpleasant aftertaste. In addition, old fruit bodies contain a large amount of harmful substances, which they pull from the soil as they develop.
You can learn more about what a ragged raincoat looks like from the video below: