The false shaggy mane, Podaxis pistillaris.
False shaggy mane
Gasterocarp: 2-15 cm in height, 1-4 cm broad. The surface is dry, pure white to tan, yellow-brown or brown, typically breaking up to form shaggy fibrils or scales which may eventually wear away to reveal the smooth surface underneath.
Stem: up to 1 cm diameter, pale to brown, narrowing to the top with an enlarged bulbous base.
Gleba: deep brown to black at maturity.
See here for a more complete description.
P. pistillaris has been found in a number of locales, including:
Afghanistan (Watling and Gregory, 1977)
Africa (Dring, 1964)
Argentina (Martinez, 1971)
Australia (Hilton and Kenneally, 1981)
Brazil (Baseia and Galvão, 2002)
Congo (Dissing and Lange, 1962)
Iran (Watling and Gregory, 1977)
Israel (Dring and Rayss, 1963; Binyamini, 1973)
Pakistan (Sultana et al., 2007)
South Africa (Bottomley, 1948)
USA (Brasfield, 1937)
The fungus is typically found in semideserts, and is often associated with termite mounds. No species of the Podaxis genus has been found in Europe or Japan (Dominguez de Toledo, 1993).
The fruiting bodies of P. pistillaris are used in some parts of Yemen for the treatment of skin diseases, in South Africa as folk medicine against sunburn. In other countries, e.g. India, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, they are used as food (Gupta and Singh, 1991). In Australia, the fungus was often used by Aborigines to darken the white hair in the whiskers of old men, for body painting and as a fly repellent (Australian National Botanic Gardens: Fungi Web Site).
The fruiting bodies of P. pistillaris contain 76% moisture, 5% total nitrogen, 22-37% total crude protein, 18.5% carbohydrates, 2.3% total lipids and 2.4% ash (Khaliel et al., 1991). Carbohydrate analysis revealed 15.0% reducing sugars (Gupta and Kapoor, 1990).
A high value for total lanthanides was measured in this mushroom (75 mg/kg dry weight) (Stijve et al., 2001).
In the culture medium of P. pistillaris three epidithiodiketopiperazines were identified as epicorazines A, B and C (Al-Fatimi et al., 2006). These three molecules appear to be structurally identical except for their chirality.
The fungi have been reported to be used in China to treat inflammation (Mao, 2000), but I have not found any scientific evidence that might support this usage.
Antimicrobial activities against Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Proteus mirabilis have been reported (Panwar and Purohit, 2002). Additionally, antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus, Micrococcus flavus, Bacillus subtilis, Proteus mirabilis, Serratia marcescens and Escherichia coli is attributed to the epicorazines described below (Al-Fatimi et al., 2006).
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