Observation 160279: Cortinarius hercynicus (Pers.) M.M. Moser
When: 2013-10-08
(46.4035° 13.7066° 970m)

Notes: Code: Bot_758/2013_DSC8445

Habitat: overgrown alluvial deposits, a small patch of an open and pure Picea abies forest growing on a long time abandoned alpine pasture, lightly overgrown calcareous ground, flat terrain, mostly in shade, partly protected from direct rain by tree canopies, average precipitations ~ 3.000 mm/year, average temperature 4-6 deg C, elevation 970 m (3.200 feet), alpine phytogeographical region.

Substratum: soil among large Picea abies trees.

Place: Zadnja Trenta valley, near abandoned Fjori farm house, East Julian Alps, Posočje, Slovenia EC

Comments: This strikingly beautifully colored mushroom presumably occurs in two forms. Depending on the author they are treated on species, subspecies or variety level or both considered as a single species. The main distinguishing traits would be habitat (broadleaf versus conifers forest) and spore width (C. hercynicus has broader spores). Measured spore width in this observation is somewhere in between both options, somewhat inclined toward C. hercynicus. In addition, the mushrooms were growing in a pure Picea abies stand in alpine phytogeographical region, which also speaks in favor of C. hercynicus. Two writings of subspecies name are in use – hercynicus and harcynicus, the second one being correct (Ref.:(1)).

Growing in large groups, certainly more than 50 pilei present in a relatively small area around about ten, fifteen large Picea abies trees. Pileus diameter up to 10 cm; SP abundant, orange-brown, oac728, 5% KOH reactions on flesh red.

Nikon D700/Nikkor Micro 105mm/f2.8

Proposed Names

85% (1)
Eye3 Eyes3
Recognized by sight: Stricking color.
Used references: (1) J. Breitenbach, F. Kraenzlin, Eds., Fungi of Switzerland, Vol.5. Verlag Mykologia (1984), p 142.
(2) G. J. Krieglsteiner (Hrsg.), Die Grosspilze Baden-Württembergs, Band 5, Ulmer (2003), p 12.
(3) M. Bon, Parey’s Buch der Pilze, Kosmos (2005), p 222.
(4) R. Phillips, Mushrooms, Macmillan (2006), p 186.
(5) D. Arora, Mushrooms Demystified, Ten Speed Press, Berkeley (1986), p 446.
(6) R.M. Daehncke, 1200 Pilze in Farbfotos, AT Verlag (2009), p 711.
Based on microscopic features:
Spores fine warty. Dimensions: 11.2 [12.5 ; 13.1] 14.4 × 7.7 [8.3 ; 8.6] 9.2 microns, Q = 1.3 [1.5 ; 1.6] 1.7 ; N = 27 ; C = 95%, Me = 12.8 × 8.4 microns; Qe = 1.5. Olympus CH20, NEA 100x /1.25, magnification 1.000 x, oil, in water.AmScope MA500 digital camera.
Based on chemical features: Taste and smell faint, indistinctive.

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Eye3 = Observer’s choice
Eyes3 = Current consensus


Add Comment
By: amadej trnkoczy (amadej)
2014-02-26 01:49:46 PST (-0800)

Thank you Oluna and Adolf. I’m glad you like it.

Great example of detailed documentation
By: Oluna & Adolf Ceska (aceska@telus.net)
2014-02-23 09:35:50 PST (-0800)

This is a great example of how the ideal MO observations should look like. Hard to match, though. Adolf

Created: 2014-02-23 03:19:26 PST (-0800)
Last modified: 2014-02-23 03:19:41 PST (-0800)
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