Grey Ghost / Grey Knight (Tricholoma terreum)

A common imported species that appears on mass every year in Selby is Tricholoma aff. terreum.

In the past this mushroom was considered edible – and in France and the Catal region is has a long heritage of being consumed – HOWEVER:

Recent research from China suggested that this species may contain nephrotoxic constituents particular when eaten in large amounts. Therefore we pick these to smell their lovely scent but we do not sell or recommend consumption of this mushroom.

9 thoughts on “Grey Ghost / Grey Knight (Tricholoma terreum)”

  1. Somewhere between sesame and garlic? Sounds awesome. Two of my favourite flavours! Not keen on the toxicity mind you but then it’s probably less toxic than alcohol, aspartame and paracetomol…

  2. We managed to find a bunch of the grey ghosts and saffron milk caps on a guided tour of Dandenong Ranges mushroom spots with Mr SelbyShrooms himself. Very knowledgeable and the kids had a great time. I used the pine caps in a risotto and they were excellent.

  3. I read the 2014 publication with interest. Firstly, the research group has credibility in this area and it appears the id of T. terreum was verified and legit. But there is no link with T. equestre (that has been documented to cause kidney toxicity in humans) and the two species are very different. There is no report of human toxicity of T. terreum to people as far as I know. However, it seems clear that “the crude T. terreum extract exhibited toxicity (to mice) with an LD50 value (dose required to kill 50% of mice) of 1.51 g per kg.” In the experimental section, they noted that “The dried fruiting bodies of T. terreum (1.0 kg) were extracted ………(to give) …. a crude extract (23 g). In other words, if the toxicity to humans was the same as that to mice, a 100kg human would have to ingest 151/23 or about 7kg of T.terreum (note that the statement in the paper is slightly ambiguous….is it 1kg of dried or wet fruiting bodies? Here I am assuming wet). So this is a huge amount. The body has clearance mechanisms that can naturally detoxify toxins that we ingest every day.. My interpretation is that the science looks good and that eating excessive amounts of this species may be problematic but there is no proof. Do mice respond in the same way as people for this extract? Remember that a cat can be bitten by a funnel web spider with no ill effects….one mammal is not the same as another. T. terreum has presumably been eaten for aeons. I think it is fine to eat it but if concerned, do not eat in large amounts. It would be interesting to see how people respond to ingestion of T. terreum in terms of serum creatine kinase levels as a biomarker of kidney damage, which is plausibly reversible.

  4. Wow thank you Jonathan for your considered and informed comments. I have spoken to a person from France that tells me that her great grandparents, grand parents and parents have all eaten this mushroom their whole lives and none appeared to suffer any ill consequences. Would be a pity as well because it is utterly delicious!

  5. True. It is very easy to put data out there to leads to a view that is then hard to retract (think of vaccination and autism…the original paper was retracted but people still think there is a link). The other aspect I should have pointed out is that the extract was from fresh specimens. The two main compounds that apparently and probably it is true led to the observation of acute toxicity may not withstand cooking. They are saponins and the extract of the cooked funghi may be entirely benign. And we all know that there are relatively few fungi one eats uncooked. So I think that is a flaw in their paper (even though overall it is a good scientific paper) as this seems to not have been a consideration. Anyway, I know where lots sprout so I will give them a try myself. Just the basic fry up I guess unless anyone else has recipe recommendations.

    • Hi – yes I agree that Marasmius oreades is a very under-rated mushroom no doubt. And very easy to identify. We tried to culture it but had no luck as it tended to either contaminate or grow poorly.

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