Leratiomyces ceres is a common and easily recognised fungus which can be found throughout the Botanics from summer to late autumn. It grows mainly on woodchip mulches but can occasionally be found growing on grass or bare soil.
Though now quite common within the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, L.ceres was once considered rare in the UK and is in fact an introduced species. It was first recorded in the UK at a site in Somerset by Orton in 1957, and has since spread throughout southern Britain. L.ceres is thought to be native to Australia.
The fungus was not formally recorded in Edinburgh until 2014, though the mushroom has been appearing at the Botanics for at least a couple of years.
L.ceres was formerly known as Stropharia aurantiaca and older references to the species use that name. Name changes like this are not uncommon in mycology, due to developments in DNA science which help us better understand the relationships between species.
L.ceres remains in the Strophariaceae family, which includes wood rotting mushrooms such as those in the Pholiota and Hypholoma genera. Strophariaceae also includes the hallucinogenic Psilocybe mushrooms and the popular edible Stropharia rugosoannulata.