Brush telephon: photo and description

Brush telephon: photo and description

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Brush telephon is a rather rare mushroom with a cap fruit body. Belongs to the class Agaricomycetes, the Telephora family, the Telephor genus. The name in Latin is Thelephora penicillata.

What does a brush phone look like?

Thelephora penicillata has an attractive appearance. The fruiting body is a bunch of dark fluffy tassels, lighter at the tips. Rosettes growing on stumps look more attractive than those growing on the ground. The latter look crumpled and trampled, although no one touches them. The color of the rosettes is violet-brown, violet, reddish-brown at the base; in the transition to the branched tips, it is brownish. The strongly branched tips of the rosettes end in sharp spines of a whitish, creamy or cream shade.

The size of the telephony rosettes reaches 4-15 cm in width, the length of the thorns is 2-7 cm.

The flesh of the mushroom is brown, fibrous and soft.

The spores are warty, elliptical in shape, ranging in size from 7-10 x 5-7 microns. The spore powder is purplish brown.

Is the mushroom edible or not

The telephon is not edible. Its flesh is thin and tasteless, with the smell of dampness, earth and anchovy. Not of gastronomic interest. The toxicity has not been confirmed.

Where and how it grows

In Russia, Telefora tassel is found in the middle lane (in the Leningrad, Nizhny Novgorod regions). Distributed on the mainland of Europe, Ireland, Great Britain, and also in North America.

It grows on plant remains (fallen branches, leaves, stumps), rotten trees, soil, forest floor. It settles in moist coniferous, mixed and deciduous forests next to alder, birch, aspen, oak, spruce, linden.

Telefora brush loves acidic soils, sometimes found in areas covered with moss.

The fruiting season is from July to November.

Doubles and their differences

Tassel telephora bears similarities to Thelephora terrestris (Terrestrial telephora). The latter has a darker color, loves sandy dry soils, often grows next to pines and other conifers, less often with broad-leaved species. It can sometimes be seen next to eucalyptus trees. Occurs in felling areas and forest nurseries.

The fruit body of the fungus Thelephora terrestris has rosette, fan-shaped or shell-shaped caps that grow together radially or in rows. Large formations of irregular shape are obtained from them. Their diameter is about 6 cm, when fused, it can reach up to 12 cm. They can be prostrate-bent. Their base is narrowed, the cap rises slightly from it. They have a soft structure, are fibrous, scaly, furrowed or pubescent. At first, their edges are smooth, over time they become carved, with grooves. The color changes from the center to the edges - from red-brown to dark brown, along the edges - grayish or whitish. On the underside of the cap there is a hymenium, often warty, sometimes radially ribbed or smooth, its color is chocolate brown or amber red. The flesh of the cap has the same color as the hymenium, it is fibrous, about 3 mm thick. The smell of the pulp is earthy.

They do not eat the telephon on the ground.


It is believed that the brush telephon is a saprophyte destructor, that is, an organism that processes the dead remains of animals and plants and turns them into the simplest organic and inorganic compounds, leaving no excrement. Mycologists do not yet have a consensus on whether Thelephora penicillata is a saprophyte or just forms mycorrhiza (fungal root) with trees.

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