How Chestnut, Nameko, and Brick Cap Mushrooms are Similar
These three mushrooms share similar characteristics:
1. All three are wood decay mushrooms that can be grown on both wood logs outdoors and from sawdust bagged culture. Chestnut are a popular mushroom for both indoor and outdoor growing and can be seen regularly in both environments. Nameko and Brick Cap can be grown both ways, though it is more common for these two varieties to be grown outdoors on logs.
2. All 3 have a variation of shades of orange colored caps, ranging from deep orange-brown to pastel orange.
3. All three fruit naturally in the fall of the year. Chestnut tends to be the first to show up followed by Brick Cap and nameko.
4. All three have brown to purple-brown spore prints, varying only slightly in coloration.
How Chestnut, Nameko, and Brick Cap Mushrooms are Different
1. Pholiota adiposa or aurivella (figure 1), or Chestnut mushrooms, can be grown on a variety of wood species; from hardwoods like oak and maple to sweet gum, beech, birch and aspen. They have a red brown gold caps and usually grow in clusters with little white tufts on the cap when young. The veil on young chestnut mushrooms is also a wispy white. They have long edible stems. The mushroom can be cooked whole and are great in recipes where you want the whole mushroom to be seen and tasted; these will maintain its form and crunch.
2. Pholiota microspora (figure 2) is really popular in Japan. There is a gelatinous coating on the mushroom that makes them glisten when young. This coating melts into whatever you are cooking which makes it popular in soups, the broth gains a silky texture while the mushrooms add crunch. When young, Nameko also have a unique membrane-like veil. Nameko grows on a wide range of wood species, including pine!
3. Brick cap, or Hypholoma sublateritium, (figure 3) are a totally different genus and species! They grow on hardwood logs (we have only tested oak so far but are found on other species in the wild). We bury a good portion of the log after it is colonized and the mushrooms will give us 2 crops a year; late summer and mid fall. They are a stunning landscape mushroom as the caps are truly brick red when young; which is also the best time to harvest them! They have a thin veil when young, but oftentimes by the time we get to them the veil is already unnoticeable. These mushrooms also have a purple cast to the otherwise brown spore print.
Orange Fall Fruiting Wild Mushrooms
As always, if you are growing (or collecting!) orange-brown capped, fall fruiting mushrooms, make sure you are familiar with Galerina marinata the Deadly Galerina, which looks very different from the three discussed here but it is worth knowing (see our blog on the Deadly Galerina to learn more). There are also several other fall-fruiting pholiota, but many wild varieties will have brown tufts as opposed to white ones!