Observation 220907: Hygrocybe singeri (A.H. Sm. & Hesler) Singer

When: 2015-10-28

Collection location: Little Skookum, Mason Co., Washington, USA [Click for map]

Who: Steve (Lokness)

No specimen available

In honor of Halloween! Biggest Witch’s Hat I have ever seen.


Hygrocybe conica (1).jpg
Hygrocybe coccinea 1.jpg
Taken two days after the original observation.
Hygrocybe coccinea 2.jpg
Dreary rainy day – also two days after original observation
Hygrocybe singeri 1.jpg
Couple more days and significant bruising. Now measures 6.75 cm.
Hygrocybe singeri 2.jpg
Couple more days and significant bruising. Now measures 6.75 cm.

Proposed Names

46% (2)
Recognized by sight: Black staining on cap margin and the upper portion of the stipe.

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

Eye3 = Observer’s choice
Eyes3 = Current consensus


Add Comment
Blackening species
By: Erlon (Herbert Baker)
2015-11-04 12:09:55 CST (-0600)

There are two other names of blackening Hygrocybe being used in the west, neither occurs there, in the strict sense: Hygrocybe nigrescens sensu Largent and Hygrocybe olivaceonigra. There may be at least four species in this complex, in the west.

H.singeri sequences
By: Steve (Lokness)
2015-11-04 11:30:39 CST (-0600)

Thanks Alan. So ‘really’ we have two sequences from the west coast and already have “two west coast blackening Hygrocybe species”. When looking at the sequences you provided a link to, it appears to me these two specie on the west coast are way different – (with the caveat I have little understanding here). Without some more sequencing from more examples (Olympic Peninsula for instance) is it not pretty difficult to have any specie reliability here? Coupled with the big variability that Herbert provided from GB on this group – it almost puts the traditional specie definition in crises. ………Thanks for the comments!

By: Alan Rockefeller (Alan Rockefeller)
2015-11-03 15:54:38 CST (-0600)

When I did the analysis a year ago, there were only two sequences in GenBank – the holotype and the epitype. No surprise that they were the same.

Now there is one more west coast sequence – from British Colombia. It is different, but also under Hygrocybe singeri in GenBank – so we have at least two west coast blackening Hygrocybe species.

By: Steve (Lokness)
2015-11-03 13:36:55 CST (-0600)

How many sequences from the PNW did you look at? Any from the Olympic Peninsula?

I believe most people agree with you that there are several varieties of this group – if not outright species. But until a paper is put out for review, what do we do?

Analyzing the GenBank data…
By: Alan Rockefeller (Alan Rockefeller)
2015-11-03 13:05:32 CST (-0600)

I see evidence for 5 or more species in the H. conica group in the east, and just one (H. singeri) in the west.

By: Steve (Lokness)
2015-11-03 11:56:58 CST (-0600)

Very helpful and interesting. Thanks! My journal says “overcast no rain” – but I agree with Alan that the leaves look like it must have rained earlier in the day. One of the reasons I went with H.conica originally is because of the size. My edition (Hessler & Smith) have Hygrophorus singeri var. singeri shows……“Pileus 1-3 cm broad”. My example was clearly way bigger. The same book has H.conicus ……“Pileus 2-7 (9) cm broad”. In the “Observations” section for H.conicus, there is a discussion on the viscid issue – suggesting weather plays a big role on the issue of being viscid or not. I do not care if my original pick of specie is right or wrong – only trying to understand where the thinking is regarding these two specie.

So my main question remains; is there one specie in the PNW or two – even more? The go to field guide in the PNW (for me) is Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest (Trudell/Ammirati) which list under H.conica; ….“As would be expected with a highly variable fungus, several varieties have been described, differing in details of stature and color”. …….Seems this group is ripe for more study.

The leaves look wet
By: Alan Rockefeller (Alan Rockefeller)
2015-11-03 10:50:18 CST (-0600)

So I think the photo was taken right after the rain.

It used to be said that in the west there was H. singeri and H. conica, and you could tell them apart by how viscid they were. I don’t think that was correct, actually we just have H. singeri which is less viscid when it dries out a bit.

By: walt sturgeon (Mycowalt)
2015-11-03 10:34:02 CST (-0600)

Unless the first photo was taken right after a rain the cap appears too slimy for H. conica. The cap of H. conica is usually moist to dry or at most slightly viscid. I am not familiar with H. singeri which is primarily a western species. It reportedly has a very viscid stem and distinctly viscid cap.

Care to weigh in Walt?
By: Steve (Lokness)
2015-11-02 18:50:51 CST (-0600)

You have posted some H.conica and your vote has power, so I would appreciate your comments as to why you voted “doubtful” on my recent suggestion of H.conica. Is it because you thought it was a H.singeri? H.conica group?

I added two more pictures from today and it is clearly bruising. However the cap is now 6.75 cm. I’m going to call the stipe “inconclusive” as to slimy. Sure isn’t as slimy as G.laeta for instance. Also interesting is that the stipe did not bruise after I checked to see if it was viscid on my last trip. Thanks!

h.conica clades
By: Steve (Lokness)
2015-11-01 12:17:03 CST (-0600)

Thanks for the link – that is informative for sure. If we subscribe to conclusions in that paper, there could easily end up being a hundred specie or more within the H.conica complex. I’m not sure how that would be helpful at all to other than a tiny number of scientist in the lab. Naturalist in the field would have to do a DNA sequence to know what they have. Same for other Hygrocybe groups (as suggested in the paper you linked). ……(And how tight would the singeri group end up being if a bunch of “them” are sequenced from different areas?)

There is so much more than DNA sequencing – at least until we understand what the DNA all means. Ecology, morphology – and in the case of the Hygrocybe – even pigment chemistry. I would even add to that jizz. And! MO. Especially when someone is generous enough to share a link to help understand. So Thanks!

By: Erlon (Herbert Baker)
2015-10-31 13:43:48 CDT (-0500)

Here is some information on the Hygrocybe conica clade; on page 10: http://fungi.myspecies.info/...

No paper
By: Alan Rockefeller (Alan Rockefeller)
2015-10-29 19:17:08 CDT (-0500)

To really get a handle on this you need to download the sequences from GenBank and run your own analysis.

Here are the results that I got: http://plantobserver.org/conica.jpg

Looks like it might be starting to stain black.

New suggestion as to what it is?
By: Steve (Lokness)
2015-10-29 19:04:46 CDT (-0500)

I have added two new pictures from today. Same mushroom as the original picture – but two days later. The cap is 5cm today. Stem is slimy. No smell I could detect. At 5cm – is it too big to be a H.singeri? ………..

Thanks Alan
By: Steve (Lokness)
2015-10-29 15:12:55 CDT (-0500)

Well, this is a complicated group for sure – and getting more so. Is there a paper out where one can get a handle on the new thinking. And has this change been generally accepted? If I recall correctly even in the very extensive paper by Lodge et.al. the DNA sequences were from North America and still identified as H.conica. Has there been any sequence from the PNW?

I appreciate your comment immensely.

The status of Hygrocybe conica is the same
By: Alan Rockefeller (Alan Rockefeller)
2015-10-29 11:35:53 CDT (-0500)

but we recently learned more about it. I downloaded all of the close sequences in GenBank and made a maximum likelihood tree. The European sequences differed from the North American ones, and the name H. conica is from Europe. If this stains back, Hygrocybe singeri is a good name for it. Not sure if this is a black stainer though.

By: Steve (Lokness)
2015-10-28 23:09:21 CDT (-0500)

Ohhh? Has the status of this specie changed? Is Arora wrong then? Page 116 under Hygrocybe conica; ….“It is known from a wide variety of habitats in North America…..”

Also featured in Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest (Trudell and Ammirati) on page 64. ……“most widely distributed species in this genus…..”

See if it blackens
By: Alan Rockefeller (Alan Rockefeller)
2015-10-28 22:15:52 CDT (-0500)

If so, it is Hygrocybe singeri – a name from Mt. Hood, Oregon. We don’t get Hygrocybe conica in North America.

See if it blackens, when handled
By: Chris Herrera (The Mushroom Whisperer)
2015-10-28 19:07:15 CDT (-0500)

if you can get back out there.


By: Steve (Lokness)
2015-10-28 18:48:26 CDT (-0500)

Thanks for the comments Chris, but I give all credit to the mushroom itself. It really was a gorgeous one. Unfortunately because I was running out of light, I was forced to use the flash to get the picture. The mushroom is actually a deeper red as the flash washes out a bit of the color. ……..There were a couple of “doubtful” votes – and they could be right as this was bigger than what I have been seeing the H.conica. But what then? H.acutoconica var. cuspidata? What is that now and do we even have these on the west coast? We do have lots of H.conica.

Nice picture, Steve!
By: Chris Herrera (The Mushroom Whisperer)
2015-10-28 15:10:43 CDT (-0500)

Very well done.


Created: 2015-10-28 12:08:03 CDT (-0500)
Last modified: 2015-11-04 22:15:00 CST (-0600)
Viewed: 230 times, last viewed: 2017-06-21 01:35:25 CDT (-0500)
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