Observation 180393: Chroogomphus tomentosus (Murrill) O.K. Mill.

When: 2014-08-25

Collection location: Sterling, Alaska, USA [Click for map]

Who: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)

Specimen available

I was surprised to see this sp. in Alaska! Not collected by me, so host tree unknown.


note vinaceus context after drying.
note amyloid hyphae in cap cuticle.

Proposed Names

-41% (4)
Recognized by sight: very stocky fb.
22% (3)
Recognized by sight: could be undescribed, or something published in an obscure journal. time will tell. I continue to pursue this ID, and not just from a macro photo and habitat speculation.
-54% (3)
Recognized by sight

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

Eye3 = Observer’s choice
Eyes3 = Current consensus


Add Comment
are you referring to the multitude of colors present on this fb, including green?
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2014-10-14 14:21:55 PDT (-0700)

I agree, they are a bit unusual. but even if there is some sort of parasitic overgrowth, and I am not convinced of that, this fb is still intact enough and firm enough and Chroogomphus enough to make that my primary ID.

Or, are you just pulling our collective legs? ;)

By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2014-10-14 12:58:37 PDT (-0700)
You are discussing a wrong genus!
By: Oluna & Adolf Ceska (aceska@telus.net)
2014-10-14 12:57:09 PDT (-0700)

Should not you consider Hypomyces sp. instead of Chroogomphus?

my research at NAMA 2014 …
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2014-10-14 11:25:27 PDT (-0700)

showed that tomentosus does indeed turn vinaceous in its context after drying. Photos here: http://mushroomobserver.org/182768?q=2GZN2

Most of the details described here for our anomalous fb do indeed fit tomentosus. I will be curious as to the DNA results, to confirm or deny our eyeball plus micro ID.

Morpho diversity happens! But now, those changes are documented and online accessible to all.

Thank goodness you got to the bottom of this
By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2014-10-03 14:18:52 PDT (-0700)
hard data
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2014-10-03 08:40:23 PDT (-0700)

instead of tossing off quips, I decided to dig deeper in my paper library.

Damned if Mr. Arora didn’t mention this "trivial " trait in MDM: a slight purpling of the cap and stem. I guess that nothing is trivial when complete knowledge is your goal.

I am still surprised by the profound color change in the context when it was dried, and I did indeed find it odd that no one else, from Agaricales of CA to the brand new CA Mushrooms to the many many online websites mentioned this color change. Nowhere did anyone say that a vinaceous color is possible for all members of the genus. Tomentosus is described (with only Arora as the exception) in terms of orange colors only, which would lead one to believe that those violet tones are abnormal or even absent.

You and Noah could have headed off a good bit of this discussion at the pass, so to speak, if you were able to cite even MDM. Using your unpublished book as your reference just didn’t cut it.

I don’t live in Missouri, but showing me is the way to convince me. So, tomentosus does indeed show some vinaceous tones (there is even a photo of it here on MO), but is seldom used for those “picture perfect” photos, and therefore almost never mentioned. And so this wrong thinking is perpetuated. This is why showing the diversity among forms is so important.

By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2014-10-02 13:43:05 PDT (-0700)

Taking a picture of a mushroom turning colors (when it is well known that the genus does that) is hardly a remarkable scientific advance. But just in case, I will notify Nature, they may be looking for a cover story. See you at NAMA.

advancing the scientific frontier …
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2014-10-02 13:32:18 PDT (-0700)

means DOCUMENTING what has been unknown or unpublished. It is meaningless if you claim to have seen x y or z. It is meaningful if you can produce evidence to show others what you saw or know, and thereby convince them.

We are all building species concepts. Trivial is in the mind of the beholder.

I’ll be at NAMA, too. Race you to the Chroogomphus! :)

I address Christian’s statement to me below:
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2014-10-02 13:24:57 PDT (-0700)

“All the data in front of us points to a slightly atypical C. tomentosus but you seem to be espousing the notion that only DNA can be used to identify mushrooms, and we can never make a macroscopic ID ever again. Which is false. It’s just a way to be lazy.”

Uh, no. In the case of a fb that shows very atypical features, I am just being cautious. Since we have the ability to do the DNA, why not KNOW, rather than conjecture? We all do macro-ID, every day. That doesn’t mean we are always right. I had already done some micro, but it was undefinitive, with immature spores. I just discovered yesterday that the cap hyphae potentially turned blue in Meltzers, so I looked at that, too.

It is not “lazy” to want to go deeper, or to have someone’s toss-off comments (tomentosus turns colors! even if it is written nowhere! and there are no photos!) backed by hard fact.

After-the-fact ID, once many facts are in, is simple. Putting together all of the details to make a good ID is much harder. Acting like this was “obviously” a tomentosus at this stage in time (and that has NOT been proven yet) is merely rewriting history.

That’s the beauty of these MO posts … you can follow the twists and turns of our taxo searches, arguments and bitch slaps.

Hey at least we aren’t apathetic! :)

You probably won’t get it
By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2014-10-02 13:23:04 PDT (-0700)

you are looking for a trivial fact. It may not be published anywhere! That doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen! I don’t think we should get hung up on the fact that there are no published references to things like this…

When I’m at NAMA next week, I’ll be sure to look for C. tomentosus and post any I find showing vinaceous reactions.

… but that still won’t mean it is published anywhere…

still waiting …
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2014-10-02 13:05:13 PDT (-0700)

for the photos or link to published data on vinaceous context in tomentosus.

I will always share the info I have, even if it doesn’t support my original hypothesis. No thanks necessary.

Thanks for taking the time to do microscopy!
By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2014-10-02 12:04:57 PDT (-0700)

Looks like the facts continue to support C. tomentosus, which is expected.

gosh, no time for lectures from you, CS
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2014-10-02 11:54:44 PDT (-0700)

too busy gathering facts.

fact: the context of this mushroom is vinaceous after heat and drying (not damp and cold and rotting).

fact: the hyphae of the cap cuticle turns blue in Meltzer, which puts it closer to tomentosus than pseudovinicolor, but still doesn’t tell us the exact species.

fact: it has boletoid spores, but too young (spores still mostly uncolored) to tell size.

fact: specimen mailed off to Nathan today. I’m sure he will post his results when he has them.

fact: your book is not yet published.

fact: untruths are rampant, everywhere. still, it is the peer review that makes the scientific publications the higher standard. Of course, then you are dependent upon the quality of your peer reviewer, and their knowledge of that group/genus/species. and of course, the quality of one’s own work.

fact: many in hand IDs are just conjecture. but they are fine for folks that just want a name, now, damn the details!

again, please show me where a “vinaceous context” is part of a published tomentosus description, or better yet, your own unpublished photos that show obvious tomentosus with such features. are they already up here on MO? link away!

fact: I prefer to deal in fact not conjecture.

By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2014-10-02 10:34:40 PDT (-0700)

your statements about what constitutes truth/reality/finality are too rigid.

You say “random colors in imagined scenarios”, which is a way of falling into the trap of ignoring or devaluing data that you are perceiving.

If you want to learn to identify mushrooms, it’s important to learn when random is really random and when it’s not.

Books are just the same as “official publications”. Neither is certified by God or the mushrooms themselves. They’re written by fallible humans. There are MANY mistakes in peer-reviewed publications. It’s just the nature of science.

The data in front of us points to a slightly atypical C. tomentosus but you seem to be espousing the notion that only DNA can be used to identify mushrooms, and we can never make a macroscopic ID ever again.

By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2014-10-02 08:22:08 PDT (-0700)

it wasn’t that cold up there, either.

my bad. I didn’t realize that your book was already published. please send me a copy so that I can confirm these findings with a published description.

books aren’t quite the same as scientific papers. many books have errors, even new or not quite published ones.

I agree that it is not a perfect fit to pseudovinivolor, as I have already stated. It is not a perfect fit to tomentosus, either, which normally shows a uniform cap color.

It was the heft of the thing that reminded me of pseudovinicolor, and not just me. But the uncertainty is why I proposed Chroogomphus sp., for now.

I will be checking the amyloidity of the cap hyphae soon … much better way to tell what this MIGHT be than random colors in imagined scenarios.

I’ll let Nathan do the final determination with DNA. I’m sending it off today.

By: Noah Siegel (Noah)
2014-10-01 16:41:41 PDT (-0700)

C. pseudovinicolor has a smooth cap, yours pictured here does not.

“wet, rotting or bruised”
By: Noah Siegel (Noah)
2014-10-01 16:39:06 PDT (-0700)

or cold… I have seen them go vinaceous when they get cold/frosted.

What constituents an “official description”? Because I just looked at the description in Mushrooms of the Redwood Coast for this species and it mentions the vinaceous discoloration…

To me, this looks like an atypical formed C. tomentosus (it even has a mutant cap coming off the stipe), so the size/stature issue doesn’t bother me. The matted tomentose/appressed-fibrillose cap and stipe match it well.

a dried and when dried, in very good shape fruit body …
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2014-09-30 12:10:35 PDT (-0700)

is NOT “wet, rotting or bruised!”

please refer me to an official description of tomentosus that shows or describes a vinaceous context.

I will wait for the DNA results for a final determination.

As I mentioned, I am allowing for this to be something other than pseudovinicolor, but it is NOT tomentosus, and pseudovinicolor is the current best fit.

I can look at spores, but it was pretty immature.

I don’t doubt for a minute that YOU might have found tomentosus in Alaska, though. Even if you don’t show a photo of it. Check those photos, if you have them: caps of tomentosus are an over-all orange color, context some shade of orange, never vinaceous.

Note the vinaceous tones in this dry, non-rotting, non-bruised cap.

BTW, for the record, it was Bill Neill who first proposed tomentosus as a possible sp. on the BAMS list. But proposing isn’t the same thing as proving.

Why is it not C. tomentosus?
By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2014-09-30 10:40:29 PDT (-0700)

I hadn’t considered that (for reasons noted below), but I think Noah’s suggestion is a good one.

It’s the only Chroogomphus species I saw in AK (and this is the only record identified to species other than that I could find from AK: http://mycoportal.org/...).

C. tomentosus can get large, and it does become vinaceous when old or bruised/wet/rotting (as do all Chroogomphus). A closer look at your image shows at least a partially floccose yellowish cap. Looks good to me!

Only things I can see pointing away from that are a large size (but as we all know mushrooms are variable), and gills that are closer than is typical for C. tomentosus (which is harder to explain).

the conjecture …
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2014-09-30 08:25:04 PDT (-0700)

was over the “host tree,” not the fb. all speculation, since we won’t ever know those details.

BTW, when I pulled this fb out of its box last night, I noticed that the context had changed to a vinaceous color.

This is NOT tomentosus, altho it MIGHT be something other than pseudovinicolor. That still remains to be proven or disproven.

I don’t think there has been endless conjecture
By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2014-09-29 12:38:11 PDT (-0700)

Only one ID proposed and not contested.
Just discussion.

Also, I should have clarified – the pines under which I found those Suillus weren’t really what I’d call landscaped. The habitat was otherwise native and we were quite distant from any real inhabited areas.
My guess is that it was an old trapping camp or some other such business, maybe they planted lodgepoles for quick-growing firewood or something.

ah, landscape trees!
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2014-09-29 12:23:26 PDT (-0700)

that is a horse of another color.

but as I mentioned, the exact habitat where this was collected is unknown and likely to remain so.
that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t growing with some planted pine at the edge of a road or on private property … of course that is possible. I just didn’t collect it, or see it.

I haven’t given up on pseudovinicolor as a possibility (check my voting), just open to other possibilities, as we all should be.

the fact of both a photo AND a specimen makes it much more likely to be able to resolve this question, without the endless conjecture.

Similar experience
By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2014-09-29 11:54:12 PDT (-0700)

at Crescent Creek Road on the Kenai – after 4 days of foraying with no trace, I suddenly found three species of Suillus, and all were around a very small stand of Lodgepole Pines that (I am assuming) had been planted near the road.
Images are here:

Point being, there are random pines in both yards and in forest settings (due to past settlements), and can easily be overlooked, even by people who aren’t there for edibles.

it could certainly be something different …
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2014-09-28 10:43:04 PDT (-0700)

we just saw NO Suillus on our walks, of any species.

we were also in a lot of mixed forest, so who knows what all it was growing with? unlikely to be pine, fer sure.

I do have this, if you want to run the DNA, Tom! :)

I will look further for possible names.

If you were in a solid spruce forest the likely Suillus is glandulosus
By: Tom Bruns (pogon)
2014-09-28 10:30:15 PDT (-0700)

Debbie – we saw a lot of Suillus gladulosus in the the Fairbanks area in pure spruce. If I remember the forest on the Kenai it too lacks pine, so I think it is unlikely to have pseudobrevipes or any of our other pine-associated species. But if you were in spruce you could have had Suillus gladulosus. It seems to run across the whole boreal forest. If that’s the host, my guess is that your Chroogomphus might be slightly different. Miller was up in the boreal, may he described something.

that’s the million dollar question …
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2014-09-27 08:36:00 PDT (-0700)

I don’t remember seeing a single Suillus species the entire time I was out there, three weeks of field time.
I have no idea who collected this, if they would even remember collecting it (after all, this was primarily an edibles group) and whether they “noted” the multiple trees species in the general area. It would be a long shot in a very dark place.

Still, WTF!!!!

I can stick a gill under the scope for better sp. confirmation, but beyond that, just the fact of its physical presence and specimen existence is gonna have to do, for now.

Life and myco-collections are full of surprises! But isn’t that what makes both so interesting?

By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2014-09-26 16:25:14 PDT (-0700)

That’s certainly unexpected!

I’d guess it was with a pine in the yellow group, the most likely of which (maybe) is the nominate subspecies of P. ponderosa, which occurs as close as SE British Columbia.

The presence of this species also suggests that Suillus pseudobrevipes or something like it was nearby.

Who was the collector? Is there any way to ask them for more info?

Created: 2014-09-26 15:51:58 PDT (-0700)
Last modified: 2014-10-14 15:42:20 PDT (-0700)
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