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Tricholoma pardinum, commonly known as spotted tricholoma, tiger tricholoma, tigertop or dirty trich, is a gilled mushroom widely distributed across North America and Europe, as well as parts of Asia. It is generally found in beech woodland in summer and autumn. It is an imposing mushroom with a pale grey cap up to 10 cm (4 in) in diameter with darker brownish or greyish scales, white gills and white or pale grey-brown ringless stalk.

It is one of the more poisonous members of the genus Tricholoma and has been implicated in a number of episodes of mushroom poisoning, probably because it is a large, attractive mushroom with a superficial resemblance to a number of edible species as well as having a pleasant smell and taste. Ingesting T. pardinum even in small quantities causes a severe, persistent gastroenteritis due to the presence of an as yet unknown mycotoxin.

Taxonomy

Tricholoma pardinum was described by Frenchmarker mycologist Lucien Quélet in 1873. The specific epithet pardinum is derived from the Latin pardus 'leopard', referring to its mottled or spotted cap. The generic name derives from the Greek trichos/τριχος 'hair' and loma/λωμα 'hem', 'fringe' or 'border'. It lies within the subgenus Pardinicutis within the genus Tricholoma. Tricholoma tigrinum is a synonym of T. pardinum seen in some guidebooks, but has been applied in error to this species. Furthermore, Czech mycologists Herink and Kotlaba proposed in 1967 that both designations were incorrect, and proposed the new name T. pardalotum.

It is commonly known as striped tricholoma, spotted tricholoma, tiger tricholoma, poison trich, or tigertop. Dirty trich was a name coined by author Gary H. Lincoff in response to a publisher's request for a more accessible name than its binomial one, for North American guidebooks.

Description

The free gills of T. pardinum.
fruiting body is a medium-sized mushroom, with a cap 6–10 cm (2½–4 in) in diameter, though larger specimens occasionally reach 15 cm (6 in). The cap is initially hemispherical before flattening with maturity. It is silvery-grey and covered with concentrically-patterned darker scales of a grey, brown or blackish colour that grow paler toward the cap margin. The gills are free (unattached to the stipe), white and thick, may have a yellow or greenish tint, and may drip water, as may the top of the stalk when broken. The spore print is white, the oval spores 8–10 μm long. The stout stalk may be white, pale grey or pale brown and is thicker at the base. There is no ring or volva. The flesh is whitish and has a pleasant mealy smell and taste.

It may be confused with several edible grey-capped members of the genus Tricholoma, and some authorities recommend leaving all grey-capped Tricholoma species for the experienced mushroomers. The smaller T. terreum lacks the mealy smell and cap scales, while T. orirubens has fine dark scales and pinkish gills. The edible T. argyraceum is similar in appearance but with finer scales. The edible and highly regarded T. portentosum is of a similar size, though has a uniform grey cap which is never scaled.

Distribution and habitat

Tricholoma pardinum is found across Europe, where it is more common in the south. It is abundant in the Jura Mountains in eastern Francemarker. It has not been recorded from the Netherlands, or the British Isles. In Asia, it has been recorded from İzmir Provincemarker in southwestern Turkey, and China. It is found widely across temperate North America, commonly associated with conifers in the Rocky Mountains and Pacific Northwest, and with tanoak (Lithocarpus densiflorus) and madrone (Arbutus spp.) in Californiamarker. It can be very abundant in some years, yet missing or rare in others. In Europe, it is found on chalky soil in woodland with beech and fir in summer and autumn, where it prefers areas of some elevation. It may be found in groups or fairy rings.

Toxicity

Tricholoma pardinum is one of several poisonous members of the genus Tricholoma; its large size, fleshy appearance, and pleasant smell and taste add to the risk of it being accidentally consumed. It was responsible for over 20% of cases of mushroom poisoning in Switzerlandmarker in the first half of the 20th century. Many cases of poisoning arise in the Jura Mountains. Eating it results in highly unpleasant gastrointestinal symptoms of nausea, dizziness, vomiting and diarrhea. These arise 15 minutes to 2 hours after consumption, and may persist for 4–6 days. Sweating and anxiety may be evident, and disturbance in liver function has been recorded. In one case, seven people and a cat suffered severe symptoms after sharing a meal with only two mushroom caps. The identity of the toxin is unknown.

These symptoms may be severe enough to warrant hospitalization. Treatment is supportive; antispasmodic medicines may lessen colicky abdominal cramps and activated charcoal may be administered early on to bind residual toxin. Intravenous fluids may be required if dehydration has been extensive, especially with children and the elderly. Metoclopramide may be used in cases of recurrent vomiting once gastric contents are emptied.

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