White Soldier Species in Etrea | World Anvil

White Soldier

Wardens of the forest

Soldiers standing in a line,
One, two, three, four, count in time.
Danger's near so please beware,
Five, six, se'en, eight, don't be scared.
Seruic skipping song
  A common sight in the forests of Caia, the white soldier mushroom is easily identifiable by its growth in straight, regimented lines. Though bitter tasting and mildly poisonous, the white soldier has nevertheless come to be viewed as a symbol of protection. It is believed that they grow wherever supernatural danger can be found and therefore serve as a warning to perceptive travellers.  


  The white soldier fungus grows in long narrow clusters, with a tight mycelium network. One organism can have up to one hundred fruiting bodies at any one time, though a number below fifty is much more common.  


The cap of the white soldier is a smooth convex cone, growing to an average of 6cm in diameter. The largest specimen ever recorded measured double that at 12cm in diameter, though no other verfied soldiers of this size have been discovered. When the cap is young, it is narrow and pointed, though it widens as the mushroom ages and opens.   As is evident by its name, it is pure white, though older specimens have been observed to develop yellow-brown discolouration around the cap's margin.   The flesh of the cap is relatively firm and does not spring back into shape if squeezed. Those who have eaten the mushroom state that it has an unpleasantly woody texture.  


The pale gills of the white soldier are adnate, meaning that they are fully attached to the stem. They have a soft waxy texture and are closely crowded together. The grooves between the gills are surprisingly deep for its size, up to 1.5cm in depth.  


The stem of the white soldier is long and skinny, with some specimens reaching up to 15cm in length. It is quite rigid and brittle, and will easily snap if disturbed. Unlike the snow white of the rest of the mushroom, the stem colour is a pale grey.   When the stem gets broken, either by strong winds or by foraging animals, it encourages the gills to release a cloud of white spores. These spores are carried on the air or on fur until they settle in a new place to grow a new organism.  


White soldiers are mildly poisonous. If consumed by humans, they may cause stomach cramps, vomiting, and diarrhoea. Dragons tend to fare a little better, with only mild gastrointestinal distress. There have been no recorded cases of death by white soldier poisoning.  


  The white soldier fungus is widespread across the continent of Caia, though it prefers the more temperate forests to the colder, mountainous areas. It usually grows in more sheltered and overgrown areas to protect the wind from breaking their stems prematurely.   The mushrooms grow on living wood, generally preferring ash trees. The fungus grows vertically up the tree trunk, giving the impression of a line of marching soldiers.  

Cultural Significance

  In much of Caia, the white soldier mushroom is seen as a sign of both warning and protection. It is believed that the fungus grows near areas of supernatural power to serve as a sign for travellers to stay away. Most commonly, it is seen as an indication that a hag is nearby.
Dried specimens of the mushroom are often carried by travellers as a talisman of protection, though its efficacy has yet to be proved beyond stories and folktales. Often they are placed in woven pouches along with a variety of herbs and flowers that are also believed to bestow protection or to amplify the potency of the talisman.   Amongst Caillish nobility, tonics made from ground up white soldiers are believed to aid with weight loss or to help flush toxins from the body. Though it certainly has been observed to speed up weight loss in the majority of cases, it is not a pleasant process.


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Dec 1, 2021 23:19 by Morgan Biscup

What a perfect start to MushEmber. I love these.   Also I cannot stop laughing.

Though it certainly has been observed to speed up weight loss in the majority of cases, it is not a pleasant process.

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Dec 1, 2021 23:32 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

:D Thank you! <3

Dec 2, 2021 01:46 by Time Bender

Love it! Mushrooms all World Ember long. :D I wouldn't want to eat this, even if it helped me lose weight! Unpleasant indeed. XD

Dec 2, 2021 02:32 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Same, I definitely would not try it! :D Thank you!

Dec 2, 2021 08:28

Oh nice article! :D And of course it just had to be shrooms ! :p Now I think I am going to do shroom article myself as the next one xp

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Dec 2, 2021 12:11 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Thanks, Kefke! I'm looking forward to checking yours out! :D

Dec 2, 2021 12:27

Just created my fireshroom :D

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Dec 2, 2021 09:38

Yessss! Mushroomber begins!   A great level of detail and I love the cultural touches you added. Them being little warning signs, made into talismans and tonics - it's great. Awesome work as always, Emy :)

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Dec 2, 2021 12:11 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Thanks, Q! I find that part so fun! :)

Dec 2, 2021 10:46 by Catoblepon
Dec 2, 2021 12:10 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Thanks, Cato! <3

Dec 2, 2021 17:53 by R. Dylon Elder

MUSHROOMS! I love the superstition on how they protect. That's a nice touch and it's something you wouldn't expect from a mushroom. The opening poem just makes it even better along with the ideo of being worn as a talisman. Awesome work here!

Dec 2, 2021 18:36 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Thank you so much, Dylon! <3

Dec 3, 2021 12:17 by Dani

Mushember begins! :D The cultural significance section is always my favorite--it's so neat to see how different societies and positions view them, and find ways of use. (That use by nobility is such a nobility use hahahah; plus, it's easy to see the difference in amount of white soldiers used, and thus make some assumption of the cost: far more would be in a tonic than in a pouch with other herbs as a talisman.)   Do people gather them freely for protection? Or when they see them as a supernatural warning, do they leave them for others to find?

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Dec 3, 2021 12:55 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

That's a good question - something I'll think about when I edit this. :D I think they're okay to collect as long as a number are left in place to keep the warning going.   Thank youuu <3

Dec 4, 2021 09:14

Awesome little article. I feel by the end of WorldEmber I will be a mushroom specialist ^^

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Dec 4, 2021 12:34 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

:D Thank you! Haha me too!

Dec 5, 2021 04:47

A really enjoyable read and very good article, full of information and myth. I also liked the images you used. A well deserved Like/Fave indeed from me.   Aemon

Dec 5, 2021 12:43 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Thank you so much! <3

Dec 5, 2021 22:33 by TC

Awesome mushroom start to the mushroom month!! I really love how you describe these guys, awesome work!!

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Dec 5, 2021 22:38 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Thanks, TC! :D <3

Dec 6, 2021 02:26 by Lilliana Casper

Interesting article! I liked the cultural significance section and the skipping song.

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Dec 6, 2021 12:24 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Thank you! <3

Dec 6, 2021 04:47

I love the song at the beginning, and the cultural significance. Great read.

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Dec 6, 2021 12:25 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Thanks so much! :) <3

Dec 12, 2021 04:44 by Stormbril

MUSHEMBER! <3 :D   Such lovely lovely shrooms! I love how knowledgeable you are about mushrooms, and how you're able to weave that into this article regarding them. My favourite bits will always be the cultural impacts, too -- I love that they're seen as a warning, or as protection <3

Dec 12, 2021 14:28 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

The cultural bits are always my favourite too. <3 Thank you so much! :D

Dec 16, 2021 12:10 by E. Christopher Clark

I love this! I love that I, who have always been kinda creeped out by mushrooms, came to love these li'l fellas. And I love their role as warning signs/protectors. Just great work.

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Dec 16, 2021 20:26 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

I can see why you'd be creeped out by mushrooms in general. They are kind of weird, really. :D Thank you so much. <3

Dec 20, 2021 09:30

Nice article. Rich people will drink and eat anything just loose weight faster.

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Dec 20, 2021 11:51 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

It seems that way! Thank you! :)

Dec 29, 2021 18:25 by C.G Meehan

Brilliant article, I love these little guys! They're so cute and all the little details about how people view and interact with them are brilliant! I especially like the rhyme :D

Dec 30, 2021 11:34 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Thank you so much! :D <3

Jan 5, 2022 22:58 by Aster Blackwell

You're the best at naming mushrooms! I love the image of the snow-white mushrooms "marching" up a tree. They sound so pretty <3

Jan 7, 2022 13:06 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Thank you! I love that image too! :D

Jan 18, 2022 21:46 by Fall

Another wonderful mushroom from the Queen of Fungi. I really love the cultural impact of this shroom and it has inspired me to consider the impact flora in my own world might have.   I've included this article in my Reading Challenge summary:

WorldEmber '21 Reading Challenge
Generic article | Aug 4, 2023

My top-10 articles from the WorldEmber '22 challenge that have inspired me to create more and better content.

Jan 19, 2022 01:18 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Thank you so much! The cultural impact is always my favourite part to think about! :D

Jan 30, 2022 07:37 by Maybe Stewart

LOOK AT THOSE SHROOMS! This article brought me such joy, even if the mention of their woody texture caused a violent visceral reaction. So good to be immersed in your world for a moment again!

Jan 30, 2022 15:53 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

Thanks, Maybe! <3 Sorry for the visceral reaction.

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