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Water en land

Mens en Milieu

Gemmed amanita, Ecomare

Mushrooms in dune woods

Just like other biotopes, pine forests have their own specific mushrooms, some of which grow exclusively in coniferous forests. Most dune woods in the Netherlands have an unnatural origin. They were planted around 100 years ago, primarily with coniferous trees. Many nature-lovers find the monotonous pine growth in the dunes boring. The number of unusual plants and exceptional animal life is low. However, it is ideal terrain for mushrooms. In the meantime, many of the pine woods are now mixed with deciduous trees, increasing the spectrum of mushroom species. A few characteristic species for dune woods are the velvet bolete, the gemmed amanita and, the most poisonous mushroom found in the Netherlands, the deathcap.

On Texel


In the southern part of the Texel woods, there is a section where the soil is so poor that the pine trees remain thin and short, even though they are a century old. But that's no problem for fungus. Many unusual species of mushrooms are found here.

  • Specific for calcium-rich dunes

    Trees growing on dunes rich in calcium are good places to find mushrooms. In fact, the most poisonous mushroom found in the Netherlands, the death cap, grows primarily in deciduous woods on calcium-rich dunes. This mushroom doesn't grow anywhere else in the Netherlands as much as in deciduous woods on calcium-rich dunes. Other species include morels, pepperpots, thimble fungi, pinecone mushrooms and the dotted-stalk suillus.

  • Dotted-stalk suillus
    Dotted-stalkl suillus, Ecomare

    Suillus species are associated with coniferous trees. So it's not unusual to find this orange-brown to brown-yellow mushroom particularly under pine trees in calcium-rich dunes and on the (eastern) Wadden Islands. The dotted stalk-suillus is a bolete, having tubes and pores instead of gills. When young, these tubes and pores can exude pale milky droplets, explaining its nickname weeping bolete. It is a very tasty mushroom. However, it sometimes causes skin irritations when touched. It's not wise to pick this mushroom in the Netherlands, since it is rare and listed as threatened on the Red List.

    • Dut: Melkboleet
    • Lat: Suillus granulatus
    • Eng: Dotted-stalk suillus, weeping bolete, yellow jack, granulated bolete
    • Ger: Körnchen-Röhrling
  • Velvet bolete
    Velvet bolete, Zonda Grattus, www.flickr.com

    Velvet boletes grow on plant litter from coniferous trees in nutrient-poor arid sandy soils. This yellowish-brownish mushroom has a sturdy stem and cap, which feels greasy as it ages and tacky in damp weather. Velvet boletes are common to find in late summer. When young, the mushroom cap feels downy-like, probably explaining its name 'velvet'.

    Velvet boletes are members of the same family as the dotted-stalked suilus. They too have pores and tubes instead of gills. Although edible, they have an unpleasant smell and are said to have a metallic flavor.

    Velvet boletes are rare in the Netherlands and listed as threatened on the Red List.

    • Dut: Fijnschubbige boleet
    • Lat: Suillus variegatus
    • Eng: Velvet bolete
    • Ger: Sandröhrling
  • Surpirse webcap
    Surprise webcap, Zonda Grattus, www.flickr.com

    The surprise webcap is found growing among coniferous trees or mixed forests, preferably containing conifers and birch. In the past, it was called the red-gilled webcap, which correctly describes the color of the gills. The mushroom has a radishy odor. It is suspected to be a poisonous mushroom. Surprise webcaps are used for dying yarns.

    This mushroom is fairly rare in the Netherlands. It isn't specifically a coastal species, but it grows well on several of the Wadden Islands, particularly Terschelling. It is also found occasionally in the eastern part of the country, on sandy, humus-poor grounds.

    • Dut: Pagemantel
    • Lat: Cortinarius semisanguineus
    • Eng: Surpirse webcap
    • Ger: Blutblättriger Hautkopf
  • Mycena clavicularis
    Mycena clavicularis, SeattleRoamer, www.flickr.com

    The Mycena clavicularis grows on plant litter from pine needles in arid woods with rich sand. It is a brownish mushroom, with a long stem in the same color. Altogether, the mushroom is no larger than 6 centimeters. It often has greasy feeling. Mycena clavicularis is a rare mushroom in the Netherlands, found particularly in the summer and autumn along the North-Holland coast and Wadden Islands.

    • Dut: Palingsteelmycena
    • Lat: Mycena clavicularis
    • Eng: Mycena clavicularis
    • Ger: Scheibchen-Helmling
  • Man on horseback
    Man on horseback, Matthias Renner, www.flickr.com

    Strange name for a mushroom, man on horseback! Other nicknames also refer to horses, such as 'yellow knight' or 'saddle-shaped tricholoma'. The cap and stem of this mushroom are usually yellow and the cap is sticky. Its gills are lemon-yellow. This mushroom is considered very tasty. In Medieval times, you had to be a knight to be allowed to eat it. However, it's now believed to be the cause of death in various cases so it's better to leave this mushroom alone. Besides, it's quite rare in the Netherlands. The man on horseback is associated with pine trees but is sometimes found in deciduous woods as well. It has been found on Terschelling and Vlieland, as well as areas in the central part of the country.

    • Dut: Gele ridderzwam
    • Lat: Tricholoma equestre
    • Eng: Man on horseback, Yellow night
    • Ger: Grünling
  • Gemmed amanita
    Gemmed amanita, Ecomare

    The gemmed amanita is commonly found in pine woods in the dunes of the Wadden Islands. It is poisonous for humans but beneficial for its host trees. Gemmed amanitas are often found far into the winter. It is also known as the jonquil and jewelled amanita. Like most other amanitas, this yellow mushroom has a ring on the stem and flakes on its cap. However, the flakes often wash off, displaying a smooth, sometimes sticky, yellow surface. Gemmed amanitas are not specific for coast woods, but it grows well in the arid sandy pine woods found on the Wadden Islands and along the Holland coastline.

    • Dut: Narcisamaniet
    • Lat: Amanita gemmata
    • Eng: Gemmed amanita
    • Ger: Narzissengelber Wulstling
  • Deathcap
    Deathcap, Sytske Dijksen, www.fotofitis.nl

    Deathcaps grow in deciduous woods and are associated with oak, beech, hazel and chestnut trees. They appear mostly from July till October. The mushroom has a white stem and greenish cap. When very young, this mushroom erupts from the soil looking very much like an egg. The cap flattens as it ages, taking on its greenish color.

    As its name indicates, it is a deadly mushroom, probably the most toxic mushroom around. Even small amounts can poison the liver and kidneys, causing death. Victims that survive the poisoning never fully recover and maintain liver and kidney problems for the rest of their lives. It is easy to mistake this mushroom for other edible mushroom species, such as ceasar's mushroom and the straw mushroom.

    The deathcap is not specifically a coastal species. It is found in deciduous woods throughout the country. There are a few scattered spots on the Wadden Islands where it has been found, but most deathcaps are found elsewhere in the country. The entire coast southward of Bergen is also suitable for the deathcap.

    The deathcap contains nine different poisons, making it the most poisonous mushroom in the world. Animals have no problem eating it, however it kills people. Agrippina murdered her husband, the Roman Emperor Claudius, by hiding this mushroom in his meal. She wanted her son to come into power.

    • Dut: Groene knolamaniet
    • Lat: Amanita phalloides
    • Eng: Deathcap
    • Dui: Grüner Knollenblätterpilz
  • Shiny twospore
    Shiny twospore, Johan Reydon

    In the Netherlands, you find shiny twospore on tree trunks and stumps of black pine in planted forests in the dunes. It is a rare mushroom, but where it is found, there are often more around. The woods on the Wadden Islands are very suitable habitats for this mushroom. Shiny twospore causes white wood rot.

    • Dut: Duindennenzwam
    • Lat: Diplomitoporus flavescens, Trametes flavescens
    • Eng: Shiny Twopore
    • Ger: Gilbende Kiefern-Tramete
  • Threats

    The Dutch Mushroom Organization is concerned about the future of mushroom species associated with pine forests, due to the present tendency to replace coniferous trees with the much more 'interesting' deciduous trees. 11% of the 4400 Dutch species of mushrooms visible to the naked eye are found mostly or exclusively in coniferous forests. Around 70% of these species are threatened. Of all the forest mushroom species that have disappeared, most grew in coniferous forests.