Protected species of the month - wrinkled peach

As autumn approaches, we increasingly venture into the forest in search of one of nature's treasures dear to Latvians - mushrooms. We urge mushroom pickers to be cautious and keep an eye out for this month's protected species - the Wrinkled Peach (Rhodotus palmatus).

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Foto: Stu's Images

The Wrinkled Peach stands out for its colour, with the mushroom's hue ranging from pale pink to apricot-red, featuring a translucent, slimy, and wrinkled surface. The flesh of the mushroom has a fruity aroma and a bitter taste, making it inedible (also due to its rubbery texture).

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Foto: Stu's Images

The gills of the mushroom are initially white, turning pink later on, and are sparse and free. The stem is typically 2-5 cm long and 0.5-1.5 cm thick, matching the cap's colour and having a silky fibrous texture. The spores are ferruginous, almost round, and colourless.

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Map by Jānis Ukass.

In Latvia, this beautiful species is rare, mostly found in deciduous forests on beech or alder wood, either singly or in clusters. They can also be spotted in sawmills and on stacks of logs intended for transport by the roadside. Almost all of the sightings of this mushroom in Latvia have so far been in the Gauja National Park.

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Foto: Dan Molter

Any forest walker who carefully observes their surroundings and occasionally looks upward won't miss this brightly pink mushroom with its wrinkled, slimy surface. In online images, sometimes its wrinkled texture is very pronounced and the colour very vivid – however, the specimens found in Latvia so far haven't been as vibrant. In English, this mushroom is called the "Wrinkled Peach," which aptly describes its appearance.

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