Observation 118822: Entoloma abortivum (Berk. and M.A. Curtis) Donk

When: 2012-09-16

Collection location: Pine Cliff State Natural Area, Wisconsin, USA [Click for map]

Who: Andrew Khitsun (Andrew)

No specimen available

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Eye3 = Observer’s choice
Eyes3 = Current consensus


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This is also my understanding of…
By: Dave W (Dave W)
2012-12-09 13:26:52 CST (-0500)

the use of the word “mycorrhizae.” I believe that Armillaria species are known to act as both parasites and saprophites.

I am not a mushroom scientist. But I sometimes wonder if there may be fungal species that play 3 roles… symbiotic with a tree for some time, followed by parasitic after the tree has matured, and finally saprophytic after the tree has died. I wonder if some Morchella species operate like this.

Thank you for detailed explanation.
By: Andrew Khitsun (Andrew)
2012-12-09 12:44:55 CST (-0500)

And I just noticed that I erred calling Armillaria mycelium “mycorrhizae”. Since it’s a parasite, I don’t think “mycorrhizae” is the right word? The latter presumes symbyosis, I think.

Yup, when present, Armillaria mycelium can dominate a large area.
By: Dave W (Dave W)
2012-12-09 12:17:01 CST (-0500)

It seems to me that the aborted forms of the E. abortivum may occur either initially/purely as globs or as hybrid mushrooms/globs. The first link in the previous comment shows this. Note the reddish-brown stained cut stipes of what are apparently parisitized Armillaria fruit bodies. This linked obs also shows mature fruit bodies of the E. abortivum fungus, which are pink-spored entoloma mushrooms.

The third link shows an obs for which I had considered proposing U. columnaris. Maybe I’ll do this just to see if anyone else weighs in.

I find a lot of E. abortivum in our local beech woods. In some instances the aborted forms are the only fruit bodies.

That third link looks exactly like what I have here, I think.
By: Andrew Khitsun (Andrew)
2012-12-07 19:12:29 CST (-0500)

What I’d like to find out, though, is how the aborted form starts out. I haven’t seen tiny ones yet. I wonder if they start out like normal Armillaria and then “turn”, or they pop out of the ground already deformed – tiny monsters. I’d think that parasite infects the mycorrhizae, not actual Armillaria fruit body, and turns into “monster” from the get-go, but I just don’t know much about the process. Also, what about that tiny one in the photo – that guy just didn’t find itself a piece of Armillaria mycorrhizae, and thus didn’t “turn”? Now I’ve confused myself :-(
The other interesting thing here is that apart from that tiny Entoloma you can see in the photos, I didn’t find any Armillaria or Entoloma nearby – the fungi in question here were growing in the open in the middle of the forest floor. But I suppose Armillaria mycorrhizae are everywhere.

Andrew, E. abortivum does occur…
By: Dave W (Dave W)
2012-12-07 08:00:00 CST (-0500)

as a “hybrid” of mushroom and aborted form. The infected mushrooms are actually Armillaria fruit bodies that are affected by the Entoloma parasite.

Another mushroom that I have seen in aborted form is Clitocybe robusta.

Here’s another obs that looks like yours with E. abortivum proposed.

I ruled out U.columnaris after looking at dozen or so images in the books and on the web.
By: Andrew Khitsun (Andrew)
2012-12-06 18:57:57 CST (-0500)

I always had E.abortivum in mind, but have issues with the way this one looks. We have tons of E.abortivum around here, and indeed that tiny mushroom in one of the photos looks like the one that didn’t “turn”. But the rest of the cluster looks oddly different from “normal” aborted form. I wonder if this is some kind of intermediate stage where non-aborted form is beginning to “turn”. I have a specimen, and if someone would recommend how to torture it to find out the truth – I’d appreciate it.

The cluster of vertically elongated globs…
By: Dave W (Dave W)
2012-12-06 12:48:54 CST (-0500)

looks like U. columnaris to me. But the little gray mushroom seen on the lower left supprorts the E. abortivum proposal.

Created: 2012-12-03 20:58:24 CST (-0500)
Last modified: 2012-12-09 12:55:40 CST (-0500)
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