The gypsy mushroom is Virttaankanga’s most common mushroom and after a humid, rainy summer it can be plentiful. It grows in the same type of mossy, dry forest throughout the year The gypsy mushroom is a medium-sized, brown-yellow mushroom, which is egg-like when growing on the ground but yellows as it ages and opens, becoming 1 to 15 cm across. It has grey-coloured gills attached to the white stipe that has a white ring under the cap. Its scent and flavour is mild and good to eat in all types of mushroom dishes.
The cap of an old gypsy mushroom is convex before eventually flattening, but slightly raised in the middle; the cap’s surface becomes light gray. The gills are light-brown at first but resemble the colour of cinnamon later. The ring of the whitish stem is easily dislodged and can move up and down the stem.
It may be confused with a number of similar cortinarius species that are non-toxic but which lack a clear movable ring. In addition, their spore dust are rust-brown and not light brown.
It is an excellent edible mushroom and its young caps are generally the best but old or young it is perfect for making all kinds of mushroom dishes. However, the stem of the older mushrooms is quite puffy, so it is advisable to remove it. Freezing it is the best way to store it as drying will make its flavour quite bitter.
Photo: Jyrki Oja