We were wrong and we apologise; it isn’t Jack o’ Lantern.
A message from Richard, the Countryside Team’s Tree Officer:
I saw that clump in the park earlier in the week and have to admit that I struggled and had to ask for help. . . Gymnopilus junonius or spectacular rustgill.
Thank you Richard.
Spectacular rustgill Gymnopilus junonius (CC0)
Some authorities say that it is edible but also that it turns green when it is cooked, which doesn’t sound encouraging. In Japan, and the Japanese know a thing or two about edible fungi, researchers have discovered neurotoxins in some subspecies, which sounds positively discouraging.
Spectacular rustgill has several alternative common names, among them laughing cap and laughing Jim (or laughing Gym, from its binomial) because some of its subspecies contain unspecified hallucinogens; good grief.
We repeat: please don’t eat any of the fungi you find in the park unless you have the advice of an expert.
Header picture: spectacular rustgill by eyeweed on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)