Observation 111777: Helotiales Nannf. ex Korf & Lizon

When: 2012-09-30

Collection location: Uinta National Forest, Utah, USA [Click for map]

Who: Dan Molter (shroomydan)

No specimen available

On Douglas fir.

Proposed Names

40% (5)
Based on microscopic features: none to confirm/deny this sp.
28% (1)
Recognized by sight

Please login to propose your own names and vote on existing names.

Eye3 = Observer’s choice
Eyes3 = Current consensus


Add Comment
By: Danny Newman (myxomop)
2013-04-21 11:58:42 MST (-0700)

annoying? sure.

I know that renaming campaign ruffled feathers, some more than others, depending on how much one’s happiness depends on an inherently dynamic web tool remaining comfortably, predictably, paralyzingly static. no one wants to be shown their waste. if I knew more about scripts, I might have spared the activity log some “clutter” (much of it was quite interesting), but there was still a lot of human labor to be done.

self-serving? not hardly.

the opposite, in fact. “Discomycetes”, like its cousins, gives autonomy to a group formerly recognized as a distinct phylogenetic assemblage of organisms, now recognized as a polyphyletic assemblage of closely to distantly related organisms which still look as much alike as they ever have. That macromorphological similarity still means something; in the field, to the random browser of fungus images, and to Mushroom Observer. “Discomycetes” may be obsolete from the DNA perspective, but it is current and meaningful from an eyeballs perspective. That’s why you hear Gary use it, as you will a good many other mycologists. What it’s use allows on Mushroom Observer is the sorting of unidentified observations which conform to these body types, so that

a: those who professionally specialize in a given group (ie: “gasteromycetes,” agarics, polypores, etc.) have their subject matter more cleanly and readily at their disposal


b: layfolk can learn and explore by looking at similarly styled organisms more easily, whether or not similar stylings have anything to do with relatedness anymore.

As long as people, especially systematists, are grouping fungi or the study thereof into what the thing looks like — and they are — I believe these names are a help, not a hindrance. they certainly don’t only exist to serve me.

By: damon brunette (damonbrunette)
2012-10-04 18:57:29 MST (-0700)

Agree with Danny that this can be MANY asco species. Esp clusters in fungi of Switzerland is directed toward B. sulfurina…

Also woke up one morning to find the re grouping of discomycetes. Even if this is annoying and self serving, I will have to agree that it is his decision to go through old posts and make some assemblage of the variety of groups.
When I go out with Gary, he often times tells me to look at discomycete group as a starting point of an asco I find, or may say Hypocreales…. either way I understand what he means.

i would like to keep the flames unfanned
By: Danny Newman (myxomop)
2012-10-04 13:47:58 MST (-0700)

I’m delighted you’ve broken your silence, Dan. If you’ll let me, I think we have a most interesting set of points to hash out.

First of all, I am most certainly making use of some naming conventions which were, until recently, unconventional, where Latin (and taxonomically valid Latin at that) has been the preferred standard. The idea isn’t too far off from your “morel by color” naming system, actually. I’ve come around to a portion of your idea, differing only in implementation.

“Discomycete” is in quotes — like “Poria” and “Gasteromyccete” — to draw attention to the fact that this is/was an artificial, polyphyletic assemblage that once went by an official name, previously thought to be a sound grouping of closely related organisms. (Agaricales sensu lato and similar lack quotes because those are names still actively in use. Gasteromycetes sensu lato, if such a name has ever been used, seems weird and redundant to me.) The whole point is organization.

Not long ago, in a Mushroom Observer not so far away, there were 181 pages of Fungi sp. observations (roughly 2700). They included fungi (and non-fungi) which were easily identifiable down to a more specific level than that all-encompassing, default, question mark moniker, as well as some bonafide head scratchers, unknown even to kingdom (there’s still no name for those, though Unknown has been suggested).

After some clicking, copying, pasting and commenting, that list is down to 12 pages (at the time of writing) or ~180 observations, comprised of sightings either too undocumented or too unusual for even the broadest of classifications (differentiating between the two in some way is a worthy but complicated undertaking). In addition to generally slimming the great Mushroom Observer Garbage Patch down, a variety of shiny, eye-catching objects were pulled from its wreckage, dusted off, and found to be quite interesting bits, long neglected by having been long ago stamped with the MO seal of “forget about it.” Some of these were IDed to species or genus, others not, but all save for the most of resistant of them were called something, so that someone specifically interested in crusts or resupinate polypores or gastroid fungi would be able to rummage through their own MO-equivalent of a post-tornado estate sale, salvaging gems as they go.

It almost goes without saying that this isn’t a job that only I am capable of performing, nor was I specifically asked. When and where anyone else sees fit to either go through the scrap pile of their choosing or come up with new ways of sorting, they have every bit as much liberty to do so as I, provided that one’s reasoning is sound and folks generally approve, particularly the folks who keep the lights on.

In the case of this observation, I’m giving it the same, hyper-conservative treatment as I do to Xylaria and Scutellinia, which is to ere on the side of caution is assigning species names sans microscopy. X. hypoxylon/X. polymorhpa, S. scutellata and B. citrina are the overhyped pop stars of their respective genera, stealing a disproportionate amount of spotlight from others on account of having been repeated in guide books as being the only or predominant member of the genus in a given area. Once scrutinized, other identities frequently result. You’re correct to point out the primarily negative nature of my comment(s), in that I’ve only cast doubt with no offer of an alternative, but I don’t doubt idly. All but the most characteristic, macro feature-rich “Discomycetes” require knowledge of substrate, precise dimensions and/or microscopy to ID to species (sometimes even to genus) with any degree of certainty. All that’s here is a single photo, a photo of what could very well be Bisporella, possibly B. citrina, but possibly plenty of other things as well.

This brings up the problem of “winner takes all” naming, but this comment is already in the dry heaves stage of verbal diarrhea as it is, and errands await.

not all little yellow lignicolous discs
By: Danny Newman (myxomop)
2012-10-03 23:13:07 MST (-0700)

are Bisporella, much less B. citrina. one macro photo is not enough to annihilate one vote and worship another.

Created: 2012-09-30 20:47:04 MST (-0700)
Last modified: 2016-09-23 10:47:09 MST (-0700)
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