Valira Torrent - bulletin of the Andorran Philatelic Study Circle. Issue 35, p11 (March 1992).
Both Authorities are continuing with this theme, but the trend seems to be changing because the 1991 French issue shows domestic animals. Space in this bulletin is somewhat limited, so I will detail the two latest Spanish mushrooms, and leave the cows and sheep to quietly graze until next time.
June 21st 1990 saw the issue of a single photogravure 45pta stamp inscribed "GOMPHIDIUS RUTILUS". It sounds very impressive, but the Rutilus part merely means reddish yellow. Most mushrooms have gills underneath the cap, but there are many variations. The illustrated subject is one of a much smaller group of plants, with the gills extending down onto the upper part of the stalk - known as decurrent. There are two such species which are very similar, and some specialist books consider the two together - Chrogomphus and Gomphidus. They are difficult to tell apart, and the botanist would identify them by a dye-test with iodine. However, when growing, the Chroogomphus is very dry whilst the Gomphidus is slimy and sticky to the touch, especially when young. Both species (and their sub-species) can be found throughout the more temporate regions of Europe, but most likely in mountainous or alpine regions. As they do not contain chlorophyll, they do not require light in order to grow and often are to be found around tree bases. Some species exist in broad-leaf woodland, and one species is found exclusively around larch trees. They are all found between July and October, and can vary in colour due to location and age. The variety rutilus changes with age from pinkish to reddish-saffron. The stem is up to 8cm high and between 6 and l8mm thick. The cap can be up to 9 or 10cm in diameter, and they are edible with a very mild taste.
On the 20th September 1991 another mushroom stamp was issued by the Spanish Post Office, again with a 45pta face-value. This shows a Macrolepiota procera or Parasol mushroom. At first, the young appear like small brown drumsticks, but mature to a height of up to 40cm. The stems are only about 2cm thick and are hollow. The cap, like a pale- coloured parasol with large brownish scales, can be up to 30cm across. They are to be found on the edges of woodlands, and prefer to grow in grassy areas where they can be seen from mid-summer through to late autumn. They are edible, and are considered to be one of the most delicious fungi, but they are best when mature. Due to the woody stems, only the cap is recommended for gathering. Procera means slender and tall. There is a very similar variety called Macrolepiota rhacodes - this is found in similar areas to the procera but usually in amongst the trees, and it is equally edible. Rhacodes means ragged appearance, and it is distinguished from the procera by the fact that the cap is ragged with a serrated edge.
Identification of the Larger Fungi by Roy Watling
Field Guide to Mushrooms of Britain & Europe by Helmut & Renate Grünert
NOTE Some species of mushrooms are poisonous, and there is no standard antidote to cover all the species. It is worthwhile mentioning the non-philatelic fact that symptoms can appear anytime, from fifteen minutes up to several days after consumption of poisonous fungi. It is important to seek the advice of a doctor and, wherever possible, to provide a sample of the mushroom, food left-overs or preparation waste for identification purposes.
Mushroom Stamps: Countries A http://www.mv.com/ipusers/dhabolt/dad/mushroom/puffball/puffball5/stampsa.html
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