Wardens of the forest
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.
Also Known As
White Warden, Little Guardian, Hag's Grace
Average Cap Diameter
Average Stem Height
Soldiers standing in a line,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.
One, two, three, four, count in time.
Danger's near so please beware,
Five, six, se'en, eight, don't be scared.
DescriptionThe 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.
CapThe 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.
GillsThe 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.
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 Caillan 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.