Observation 232: Limacella illinita (Fr. : Fr.) Murrill
When: 1995-01-15
No herbarium specimen

Notes: The date is only accurate to the month.

Identified by keying out in Mushrooms Demystified. The primary characters are the white spore print and the glutinous veil.

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Slimy all over
By: Nathan Wilson (nathan)
2008-02-23 17:50:26 CST (-0600)

My memory (which might be faulty see as how that was nearly 12 years ago now (!)), is that it was slimy everywhere. I remember finding it and a collection of Hygrocybe psittacina on the same foray and commenting on how they were both so slimy. Obviously based on Rod’s comments that doesn’t get us a lot closer to putting a name on it, but it answers one of his questions and mean that L. illinita is at least still in the running. Obviously we should all keep our eyes out for Limacellas since they are at least rarely reported and clearly need a lot more work.

More about Limacella and the observations on this site
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2008-02-23 11:02:59 CST (-0600)

Copy of note to Nathan Wilson:

Dear Nathan,

I should be more specific. It doesn’t match the Limacella illinita of Europe. From colors alone (IF the stipe was very slimy), it could be A. illinita var. argillacea H.V. Sm. or L. subillinita (described from Mexico, and I need to look up the authors). When I examined Ron Pastorino’s specimens (see attached PDF) depicted on MushObs (which look a bit like yours), I found that they didn’t have a slimy stipe and that MICROscopic characters put them closer to the old names L. delicata, L. glioderma, L. furnacea (of Europe). However, with Ron’s material I ran into a road block because it is all immature—-it gives a great chance to look at the hyphae that support (and are an integral part of) the gluten veil on the cap, but no prayer of getting spore data. I think that until type studies are completed, the whole genus Limacella must be regarded as misrepresented by the published spore data, etc. It’s a bit of a mess…like Amanita before Bas. There is no standard for what a description of a new (or old) taxon should contain.

The placement of your material will have to do with the form of the hyphae in the gluten on the cap (they are a pretty good separator for the two sections and two subsections that have been created for Limacella), spore data, and whether or not the original material had gluten of the universal veil covering the stipe from the last point of contact between pileus and stipe and the stipe’s base.

If the stipe was glutinous at first, then the section would be Lubrica (which contains illinita). If the stipe was more or less dry in the lower part, then ABSENCE OF A MEMBRANOUS PARTIAL VEIL is a pretty good sign (according to present knowledge) for deciding against placement in [sect. Limacella] subsect. Pseudoannularia [which contains only, L. guttata, L. lenticularis (=guttata) var. fischeri, and (according to me) L. roseicremea of the PNW]. Hence, if the stipe were predominantly dry at first (and with support of MICRO chracters), then the species would belong in subsect. Limacella (with taxa like delicata, glioderma, etc.).

One thing that really strikes me is how the gluten and associated hyphae (that I call “gluten supporting hyphae” for the moment…not a really good name for several reasons) seem to be analogous to the fluffy volval material on the most basal species of Amanita [sect. Lepidella] subsect. Vittadiniae. To me this suggests that the common ancestor of Limacella and Amanita must have had little inverted Xmas trees of branching hyphae arising from the cap (in a sort of turf or with less organization) and similar little structures hanging on the stipe below the last point of contact between pileus and stipe. In Limacella, these structures exude gluten (apparently). In Amanita, these structures have been transformed so that the hyphal segments have been inflated and have become chains of inflated cells.

This is just a small part of the fascinating game I am playing of hypothesizing a set of characters for the common ancestor. Fun and games.

At any rate, I have been working on Limacella worldwide for the last two months. I was just plain tired of not having a grip on the genus, which is so obviously similar to Amanita. According to the lastest (unpublished) DNA studies, Limacella branched off within the Amanitaceae before Amanita. As Darwin would suggest it is predictably old because we only can recognize about 30-40 taxa in comparison to the 600-700 taxa that we can recognize (if not name) in Amanita. Hence, Limacella has the appearance of a genus scattered about in remnant or relict populations.

So my annotation plainly stated should read “probably not illinita, not yet determinable because of state of knowledge.”

I’m sorry for any confusion I generated. Perhaps, I will copy this note and post it as further commentary on MushObs 232.

Very best,


Limacella thoughts
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2008-01-15 11:18:38 CST (-0600)

The collections of L. limacella that I have seen in photographs are white except for the disc of the pileus, which may have a more or less grayish tint. North American material called “L. illinita” often has a clay-colored or ochraceous tint over the disc. This species has a yellowish or tannish tint over much of the cap. It looks a lot like the illustrations provided by Ron Pastorino for his recorded observation on this site (MushObs).

I would be very interested in receiving well-collected, well-annotated, well-photographed species of Limacella. Persons interested in interacting with me concerning Limacella collections can contact me through my comments on this site.

- Rod

Created: 2006-05-21 02:24:06 CDT (-0500)
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