Choose your chestnut: Popularity of "Chestnut" shows importance of scientific names

Chestnut mushrooms (Pholiota adiposa)

The Pholiota adiposaor Chestnut mushroom, is found to grow on Beech trees. These trees look like American Chestnut trees, but the leaves are shorter and wider than the chestnut tree leaves. The mushrooms have a nutty flavour that keeps a bit of a snap in the texture when cooked.

The Agrocybe aegerita, or Pioppino mushroom… or Chestnut mushroom… has a more pronounced nutty aroma and flavour. They tend to grow on Poplar trees in the wild and have long stems.

The Agaricus bisporus var. avellaneus, or Chestnut mushroom, is a variation of the popular White Button mushroom. They are browner than the White Buttons and have more flavour and texture as well, like crimini mushrooms. 

Mushrooms are popular all over the world, and the common name can vary from region to region or even person to person. Apparently, chestnuts were the trend when someone found a mushroom with a brown cap. This makes it helpful to learn the scientific name of the mushroom you’re interested in learning about, purchasing, or even growing. 

The British Mycological Society has a working party that proposes common names for mushrooms growing in the UK. This informal group has been ongoing since 2003 when they first made guidelines for the creation of new names. 

Names should try to be distinctive and interesting, so it is easier for the public to remember, the society says. Some of the sources of inspiration for the name should be the colour, shape, texture, smell, and host, it adds. 

Pioppino... or Chestnut... mushrooms (Agrocybe aegerita)

Pioppino mushrooms – which can be Agrocybe aegerita, Agrocybe cylindracea or a handful of other scientific synonyms depending on the mycologist who classified the mushrooms in their work – are known as the Poplar Fieldcap on the society’s list of English names. The Agaricus bisporus goes by the “Cultivated mushroom” for being one of the most popular cultivated mushrooms in the world, but there is no name for the avellaneus variant. 

Despite the lack of “chestnut” in these names, the word is still an apparent adjective for other mushrooms. There are currently three mushrooms on the approved list with chestnut in the name. 

The Gyroporus castaneus is the Chestnut Bolete since castaneus is Latin for chestnut. It is usually found on oak trees, has a brown cap, and has a nutty taste when young.

Lepiota castanea mushrooms are coined the Chestnut Dapperling. It has a white cap with brown spots that get denser towards the top. They are uncommon but inedible and dangerously poisonous.

The Psathyrella spadicea goes by the Chestnut Brittlestem. It is a shorter, edible mushroom with a light brown cap that fades at the top.

Moving beyond the society’s list, there is the Hypholoma sublateritium mushroom. It is also known as the Chestnut mushroom. They grow mainly in eastern North America, Europe, Korea, and Japan. The mushroom is also called the Cinnamon Caps mushroom or the Brick Top, based on the reddish-brown colour of its caps. 

When searching a mushroom, make sure to double-check the scientific name just in case you come across some popular common names.

At JCB Gourmet Mushrooms, we grow the Chestnut mushroom and the Chestnut mushroom. Good luck finding out which ones!

Fine, we’ll help you out. Our Chestnut mushrooms are the Pholiota adiposa, and we also grow the Pioppino mushrooms.

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