Observation 51276: Hydnangium Wallr.
When: 2010-08-24
Herbarium specimen reported

Notes: I have a dried specimen. I have no idea what it is. Bumpy surface roundish slightly pinkish, interior with pink lines like gills gone bad. Darkened later. 2.4 cm wide, H=2 cm. including “stem” “Spores” (Probably not spores; they appeared to come off the outside, not the inside of the fungus) white, long, ~14-15½ x 3½ microns, pointy ends. Any help with this would be greatly appreciated.

Proposed Names

6% (2)
Recognized by sight
28% (1)
Recognized by sight: “gills” look Laccarioid
28% (1)
Recognized by sight

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Eye3 = Observer’s choice
Eyes3 = Current consensus


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No Helvellas in the area
By: Steve Nelsen (sfnelsen)
2010-08-26 11:59:09 CDT (-0400)

There was neither Helvella lacunosa nor another Helvella found near this stuff. The rounded portion was out of the ground, as shown in the first photo, taken from above. Only the “stem” was below the surface of the moss. Only the single fruiting body shown was found. I agree that the cells that I called “spores” are not from a Clitocybe; they appeared to come from the outer surface of the subspherical part. It may or may not be a parasitized Helvella, but it sure does look like some of the sclerotia of the Cl. sclerotoidea pictures from California. The last time I was in this area, which is over 450 miles from my house, was 1991, and I have no plans to go back.

While collecting this
By: Daniel B. Wheeler (Tuberale)
2010-08-26 02:36:20 CDT (-0400)

did you observe H. lacunosa fruiting?

During the life-cycle of C. sclerotoidea, which is extremely common in my area, there is usually sporatic fruiting of H. lacunosa as well.

If you didn’t notice any H. lacunosa in the area, it is likely this is something different, but probably growing on a similar Helvella species.

What appear to be gills in the sclerotia are actually the ridges, both internal and external, of the stipe. This makes H. lacunosa suspect (even in MN) as most Helvella do not have that ridging in the stipe.

Another key, at least in my area, is that H. lacunosa is usually a fall or winter fruiting specimen: it likes colder weather. Near freezing conditions seem to stimulate fruiting of H. lacunosa, at least in my area.

If you are obtaining “spores” from this, it is not C. sclerotoidea. That is an actual mushroom which fruits from the sclerotia, often in clumps or caespitose clusters of quite small mushrooms, usually with visible caps at least .5cm across.

Still another “clue” is whether the material was collected hypogeously (underground) or was at least partially epigeous (above ground). C. sclerotoidea in my experience often colonizes mycelium growing through Douglas-fir needle duff, binding the sclerotia with a lot of needle duff. I see no needle duff with this collection, which, at least to me, suggests it may be a different species.

Yes, it sure looks like the Cl. sclerotoidea pictures on M.O.
By: Steve Nelsen (sfnelsen)
2010-08-25 16:02:17 CDT (-0400)

Thanks for the tip! However, I cannot find that Cl. sclerotoidea is known to occur east of the Rockies. I looked up Trappe’s Mycologia article (1972, 65(6) 1337-40), where he notes that the only other Clitocybe growing from a sclerotium is Cl. rubella, described by Bigelow in Mycologia, 1958 50, 37-51. This seems to be a pretty obscure species, known only from the type site in 1958, and Google did not find other references to it, except for appearance in a list of Clitocybe species without other comment. Bigelow did not speculate on why it grew from a sclerotium, but maybe this represents a something growing on a different eastern Helvella, although Helvella lacunosa does occur in the east. Interesting.

Helvella lacunosa
By: Darvin DeShazer (darv)
2010-08-24 20:55:21 CDT (-0400)

Helvella lacunosa is my guess. OK, please stop laughing!
Both inside and outside, this looks like an early stage of Helvella lacunosa parasitized by Clitocybe sclerotoidea. It’s common on the west coast, but I don’t know if it occurs in MN. Here is a link to some photos here on MO:

Created: 2010-08-24 16:59:54 CDT (-0400)
Last modified: 2012-09-08 00:02:44 CDT (-0400)
Viewed: 77 times, last viewed: 2016-10-27 21:19:35 CDT (-0400)
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