Brick Top
(Naematoloma sublateritium)
Brick Top sculpture

Brick Top

Note the deeper color of this mushroom's cap compared to the photos below, due to loss of color from the latter's exposure to rain.

Sculpture, acrylic paint by "Wildman"

This distinct brick-red mushroom has a convex to flattened cap 1-5/8 to 4 inches wide, moist with an inrolled edge when young.
Brick Top Caps

Brick Top Caps, Immature Mushrooms

Note the brick red color toward the caps' centers.

The narrow gills, close together, begin whitish, then become purple-gray.
Brick Tops, From Below

Brick Tops, Side ViewBrick Tops, Side View

Note the whitish gills, and the evanescent veil
covering part of the gills.

The spore print is purple-brown.

The whitish, black-streaked stalk is 2-4 inches long, 1/4 to 5/8 inches thick. You may sometimes see a faint ring zone of fibrils around the upper stem.

Brick Tops, From Below

Brick Tops, Young Mushrooms, From Below

Note the how much whiter these gills are than those of the sculpture, top, modeled after a much older specimen.

The brick top grows in clusters on dead hardwood logs and stumps, sometimes in great quantity. You can find it throughout eastern North America from late summer until late fall.
Brick To

Brick Top, Immature, From Above

Don't confuse the brick top with the poisonous sulfur tuft mushroom (N. fasciculare, Hypholoma fasciculare), which has yellow gills.
Sulphur Tuft Mushrooms

Sulfur Tuft

Not only does this mushroom cause vomitting, diarrhea, convulsions, and sometimes death—but it also tastes bad!

The related smoky-gilled naematoloma, with an orange-brown cap, is also a good edible.

It's a good edible, especially when you find it in quantity in November (it will come up even after there's been a couple of light frosts), when most other mushrooms are gone. However, it's only tasty when it's young, while the gills are still whitish. However, it comes up on the same log or stump year after year, until it's used up all the nutrients, so if you miss it one year, you'll probably snag it the following year.