Observation 77390: Cortinarius flexipes (Pers.) Fr.
When: 2011-09-24
No herbarium specimen

Notes: No odor perceived. Mix of birch and hemlock.

Proposed Names

29% (1)
Recognized by sight
57% (1)
Eye3 Eyes3
Used references: See discussion within comments made here. Phillips.

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Eye3 = Observer’s choice
Eyes3 = Current consensus


Add Comment
By: Dimitar Bojantchev (dimitar)
2011-10-03 12:24:04 PDT (-0700)

Once we start analyzing the species in this cluster it becomes complicated indeed. Although that it should be mentioned that my molecular data of diverse collections in the flexipes group shows them to still be very close genetically.

Roger Phillips has a good field guide, but be aware that it is not exactly a touchstone of Cortinarius accuracy, so use that information cautiously.

The array of corts is bewildering at times even when one starts to understand them better, but the definitive microscopy is also not to be overestimated as tool because these members of Cortinarius, subg. Telamonia appear to be somewhat recent evolution — thus a lot of characters remain similar. The spore characters are fairly informative, but not always definitive between closely related species. I still think that understanding of the range of macro features and regional familiarity are the best route.

In your area the genus has not been studied actively in the past 80 years. I have a number of collections from the East Coast that are new species genetically, but I do not believe in describing species a continent away without sufficient field experience in the area. Someday I hope to spend more time in the East…


Thanks Dimitar.
By: Dave W (Dave W)
2011-10-03 11:35:27 PDT (-0700)

Just checked Phillips’ account of C. flexipes, and he also mentions that “paleiferus” and “flexipes” have been used synonymously, but this is likely incorrect.


I’ll downgrade the paleiferus proposal and add the flexipes. No purple tones noted on any mushrooms in this collection. There was a large fruiting of this type underway in the forest where I made this collection. I haven’t seen it elsewhere around here.

I had assumed that, since there seems to be a bewildering array of Cortinarius species, lots of microscopy was necessary. Perhaps because the scope I use is not so good (old worn out max 400X) most of the Cort spores I’ve looked at didn’t seem to offer much.

C. flexipes gr. is a better name.
By: Dimitar Bojantchev (dimitar)
2011-10-03 11:11:55 PDT (-0700)

It is promising, but I’d change that name to C. flexipes gr. Note that the species mentioned here has been (rightly or wrongly) synonymized with C. flexipes.

So, the Bessettes got that fancy name C. paleiferus – as someone knowledgeable on the subject I can tell you that name is not commonly used, thus I was surprised to see it in circulation.

In wet weather the odor can disappear or become harder to note. It is not strong by any means, just fresh cedar to slightly fruity odor that one starts to sense after a couple of tries.

You still could have a different species of those that do not have an odor, but this look similar to C. flexipes overall. And the habitat is typical.

You do not needs lots of microscopy on corts, only some — seeing the spores is very informative in most cases.


My guides are not with me at present,
By: Dave W (Dave W)
2011-10-03 08:28:41 PDT (-0700)

but I think I got this name from Bessette, Bessette, Fischer MUSHROOMS OF NE NA. The manual does mention an odor (a fruity odor I think). The species is listed as a birch associate.

Awhile back, I had a discussion about this type of mushroom here on MO, but I can’t find that discussion… the obs may have been posted under an old defunct pseudonym of mine, “Dave in NE PA.” I believe that this discussion had pointed me in the direction of C. paleiferus.

As for the odor, I have recently observed several types of mushrooms which should have a noticeable odor, but it was slight at most. I think this is due to the copious amounts of rainfall we’ve been getting around here.

As for the ID, I realize that getting a Cort to species without a lot of micro analysis is often a dubious undertaking. But my collection matches the B/B/F account very well, except for the lack of odor. So I think “Promising” is reasonable.

Fancy names, huh?
By: Dimitar Bojantchev (dimitar)
2011-10-02 19:17:46 PDT (-0700)

Hey Dave, how did you come up with that fancy name? Cortinarius paleiferus Svrcek, Ceská Mykol. 22(4)… it doesn’t get any fancier than that… What field guide did you use?

Although that you’re probably correct overall as your material does look in the C. flexipes group. The absence of odor is worrisome – sometimes the only way to smell it is to shove the material in your nose… Or, better, we need to look at the spores..


Created: 2011-09-26 19:43:05 PDT (-0700)
Last modified: 2011-10-03 11:36:38 PDT (-0700)
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