Observation 79688: Hygrophorus speciosus Peck

maybe a first for this area??? first spotted by Herman Brown.

Proposed Names

46% (7)
Eye3 Eyes3
Recognized by sight: gorgeous slimy bright orange caps. also saw it in Seattle last year.

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

Eye3 = Observer’s choice
Eyes3 = Current consensus


Add Comment
I never said that no one should contest an ID…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2014-02-13 10:20:33 CST (-0600)

since I am challenging IDs all of the time!

All I am saying is that if YOU are the one person that is saying no, then it is up to you to come up with the real evidence why.

You can vote however you like, but the majority rules.

I believe this image popped because Walt was curious about the host tree.

Speculation is not proof.

thanks Joe.
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2014-02-13 10:18:35 CST (-0600)

Peck’s description sounds just like our western form of speciosus, just like I suspected. AS to the larch exclusivity, as I mentioned before, that is just due to Peck having only found it there, right?

We have come a long way since 1895.

Didn’t know about Mykoweb Literature
By: Joe Cohen (Joseph D. Cohen)
2014-02-12 22:14:23 CST (-0600)

Thanks for the link.
I had never looked at that part of Mykoweb.
- Joe

All of Peck’s descriptions
By: Noah Siegel (Noah)
2014-02-12 22:03:59 CST (-0600)

are available at your fingertips on Mike Wood’s great site Mykoweb. http://www.mykoweb.com/systematics/literature.html#apm1_1

Peck’s original description
By: Joe Cohen (Joseph D. Cohen)
2014-02-12 20:20:09 CST (-0600)

In response to Debbie’s question (“I don ‘t have Peck’s original description in front of me….do you?”), here is Peck’s description of this “very showy plant”. (I will also add these to MO’s Description of Hygrophorus speciosus.)

Now you all have Peck’s original description in front of you. Play nice!

Christian, the situation…
By: Dave W (Dave W)
2014-02-12 18:47:36 CST (-0600)

to me, is endemic of all physical science up to this point in history. We apply what we believe to know at any given time. But we leave the door open to revision… which leads to my next point.

Noah, those who believe there is no need to look any further merely belie their own incapacity to adjust their own concepts… clearly a mistake when it comes to mushroom species identification.

Debbie, I think this discussion, although perhaps not devoid of personal considerations… like many of the MO discussions, represents much more than a “pissing contest.” The roots of this discussion, IMO, are the questions, “Who gets to call a given mushroom by name, and what are the acceptable criteria for doing so?”

The differences…
By: Noah Siegel (Noah)
2014-02-12 18:22:55 CST (-0600)

First of all, I am not picking on this observation; for some reason it was bumped to the top of MO. When I first looked at it I didn’t look at the observer or location, but thought to myself, this doesn’t look quite right for what I call H. speciosus from eastern Larch bogs. It was then that I looked at where it came from and what it was growing with, weighing these issues I voted the way I did. I haven’t had time to go over all the observations on MO, but when I do, I’m sure I will disagree with some of them.

The first thing that stood out was the fact that this is growing with a two needle pine. Name a mushroom that is MR with Larch that also occurs with pine.
I’m not saying that it can’t happen, I just do not know of any. So for me, this raises red flags.

The veil looks different than what I am familiar with, more glutinous… I remember more of a faint cortina, sometimes covered with a thin viscid layer, but more often then not, when I found it it was dry. I haven’t looked up Hesler and Smith yet, but I seem to remember they described a more robust variety with a different veil?

I’m not bothered by color on these, a lot of the pigmented Hygrophorus are extremely variable; depending on age and weather.

And I am not saying that western Larch associated H. speciosus are a different species from the eastern NS speciosus, just that I have doubts that the pine associated “speciosus” is the same.

Some people are convinced that this is H. speciosus. No need to look at it any further, Case closed. I wonder if those same people would have said the same thing two years ago to Helvella lacunosa in CA. I am thinking yes…

That’s a valid point
By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2014-02-12 18:12:08 CST (-0600)

That I missed.

Even so, I don’t think Noah agrees, I’m not sure that I agree.

This problem is widespread on MO, and is really simple – it’s caused by a general acknowledgement of the poor state of name-to-organism matching in mushroom taxonomy, and an accompanying sense of being able to apply really different personal rules when voting or proposing names. It comes down to strict vs. sensu lato usage of names on MO. The situation will slowly get better, but for now we’ll have these dust-ups every once in a while.

The central point to my argument is not that…
By: Dave W (Dave W)
2014-02-12 18:03:57 CST (-0600)

“mushrooms are variable.” Rather, I propose that a given name, which may be the result of having referenced a variety of different traits, macroscopic, microscopic, molecular, or whatever else may lie ahead, is representative of the (present) understanding of what something should be called.

ironically enough…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2014-02-12 17:55:33 CST (-0600)

I just saw two “I’d call it that” votes by Mr. Siegel on two other collections of speciosus from the West. So, really, this is all just noise and boredom and pissing contest, far as I can see.

But please, do the DNA and get back to us with your findings. I have no objection to either of you following this trail, as far as it might lead you. It just doesn’t seem to be necessary to me.

Variability, missing the point, etc
By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2014-02-12 17:50:52 CST (-0600)

“Many mushrooms are variable in this way”.

Yes, but many aren’t. We don’t have good ideas about the range of variation in almost any species of mushroom, so using the ‘mushrooms are variable’ argument gets us nowhere, really.

Yeah, it would be great if I got a sequence for you. But it would be even greater if got that data for your own specimens! Maybe using your friends and family discount? Isn’t that the whole point? That someone with a different skill set can support yours?

Not sure where your specimen might be? Then it would be good to either find it or remove ‘Herbarium specimen reported’ until you do.

For the record, I don’t feel strongly about the identity of this mushroom. But I do feel strongly about the discussion below regarding sufficient evidence and the practice of taxonomy…

If memory serves me…
By: Dave W (Dave W)
2014-02-12 17:43:54 CST (-0600)

the “strands” composing the veils in my linked observation were strands of glutinous substance. So I don’t see a significant difference here. As for the presence/absence of dark areas on the stipe, that seems to me to be a fairly arbitrary trait. Many types of mushrooms are variable in this way.

Yes, I agree
By: Byrain
2014-02-12 17:41:36 CST (-0600)

It would be awesome if Christian did the DNA work! :)

not enough rain yet, eh?
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2014-02-12 17:38:36 CST (-0600)

I am not the one saying that the ID consensus is wrong. If I was, I would set out to prove my point.

I am already convinced these are the same. Show me, and everyone else, that they are different, through hard data, not mere color variations and speculation about host trees.

Really, neither of you have collected this species in the west? Certainly one of you has in the east.

I am sure that UCB would be glad to give you a little piece of the other H. speciosus collected in Yosemite in 2011. Not sure where mine might be.

You have done DNA work before, Christian, even if Noah has not. Heck, you have given
talks on fungal DNA sampling! It is not part of MY skill set, tho.

I am not so interested in learning to do the DNA lab analysis; everyone has their strengths, and lab work is not mine. But YOU are already trained to do it!

And please, if you really both feel this strongly, go critique all of the other western sightings of this, too. Just to spread the love. ;)

I have not voted
By: Byrain
2014-02-12 17:15:41 CST (-0600)

Or said if I think the name is right or not, only that this observation and Dave’s look like different species. Christians point about the veil presenting differently in drier conditions is interesting, does anyone have any clear examples of this that they could point out? I’m not very good with waxy caps or even white-spored fungi, I was just agreeing with Christian that they don’t look like a “Very good match.” :)

Besides, the burden of proof is most absolutely not on someone who has neither voted or even found any of these fungi… Hopefully this collection will be sequenced for when the Eastern material is also sequenced, it would probably be a good idea to sequence several collections. Does microscopy help with these at all?

I’m not convinced one way or the other
By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2014-02-12 17:11:11 CST (-0600)

I was just pointing out visual differences between this collection and Dave’s.

Yes color variability happens, but just pointing out that fact is not helpful (or unhelpful) at all. It’s just noise.

I am also puzzled by your shifting the burden of proof to those who doubt conspecificity.

If two people are arguing about some fact or hypothesis, it’s up to BOTH of them to defend their positions (at least in science). This idea that the “burden of proof is on the doubter” is TOTALLY ridiculous.

When you say

“it isn’t me that has a unsubstantiated theory that these western larch and non-larch collections are different from the eastern/European collections.”

… you miss the fact that you ALSO have an unsubstantiated theory, just in the opposite direction (ie. that the larch and non-larch collections are the same with each other and/or the European collections).

Everyone’s gotta pull their weight. Especially those who so frequently (and rightly) point out the danger of ‘quick and easy in-hand IDs’

here’s another NY specious…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2014-02-12 16:54:02 CST (-0600)

that looks a lot more like our western version (bottom of photo heap). color variability happens.


Speciosus has a glutinous veil, but once it drys, the gluten will not be so obvious in a photo. How many ways can a glutinous veil present itself upon drying? I’d say lots of ways.

I don ‘t have Peck’s original description in front of me….do you?

At this point, we can clearly recognize this species, and the consensus is to call it by this name.
If you and Noah are convinced otherwise, then please do the work (compare the DNA between the eastern and western populations) and show us that they are different. Speculation is not enough to win the name game.

Veil texture
By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2014-02-12 16:51:28 CST (-0600)

the veil on Dave’s collection is quite glutinous as well, but I see the point you are making.

I think it’s sometimes the case that Hygrophorus (and other mushrooms) that normally have a glutinous veil can have a more cortinate thready veil in dry conditions.

The veil
By: Byrain
2014-02-12 16:32:56 CST (-0600)

is pretty different too, this obs has a slimey veil while Dave’s obs has a cortina. I would think these represent two different species…

I wouldn’t call that a “Very good match”
By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2014-02-12 16:18:34 CST (-0600)

The stipes are much more pigmented in this collection, the caps are more orange-red than that delicate coral pink, the stipe is more robust, the stipe appears much more extensively glutinous…

What I have IDed as H. speciosus…
By: Dave W (Dave W)
2014-02-12 16:06:20 CST (-0600)

here in PA, under larch, is a very good match for the ones seen in this obs.

In the absence of another available name for western NA material such as what is seen here, calling it “Hygrophorus speciosus” seems to me to be currently appropriate, at least until evidence emerges, molecular or otherwise, that points toward the need for a new name. Just because a given species appears to not associate with pines in eastern NA is no reason to believe that it fails to associate with other types of pines.

Names are not permanent (especially names applied to mushrooms!). But we use them nonetheless.

sounds as though someone needs to sequence the eastern material first…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2014-02-11 17:59:52 CST (-0600)

so that we have eastern described species sequence to compare with the western material.

as to host trees, many, many places mention pine as a host for this mushroom. not sure what the “exclusivity with larch” issue is.

these mushrooms like boggy areas and conifers, which is exactly where these were found.

In Europe
By: Irene Andersson (irenea)
2014-02-11 15:46:57 CST (-0600)

we have one pale yellow species with Larix named Hygrophorus lucorum, but it’s not known from Sweden. According to available DNA it doesn’t seem very close to speciosus either, although my books mention a orange form named H. lucorum var. speciosus, known from Russia and Poland.
I can’t find any proof that it’s the same as Peck’s speciosus. Maybe it is, maybe not. There’s simply too little sequenced and well described material to compare…

East & West
By: walt sturgeon (Mycowalt)
2014-02-11 15:11:33 CST (-0600)

Both can be red, orange and yellow.

yup, so let’s just stick to the facts…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2014-02-11 12:41:07 CST (-0600)

another European collection here on MO: http://mushroomobserver.org/129410?q=1mszA

So Irene, you don’t see these in Sweden, I assume? Or you would have mentioned it…

There also seems to be an eastern version of speciosus (depicted in the Waxcap book) with a much more yellow cap…does this correspond to your Hygroph aureus/hypothejus?

And then there is that whole hypothejus can of worms. Sigh.

nothing to say about the observation…
By: Richard Kneal (bloodworm)
2014-02-11 12:33:43 CST (-0600)

however, there are very few of us left on this site that actually, “give a shit.”
we are all great mushroom hunters.
none of us really have what it takes to be academic “mycologists (whatever that means…and, only because we aren’t built that way, as individuals).”

as cliche as it DOES sound, we should all try working together and getting along.
there aren’t many of “us” left.

i’m guilty of letting my ego get the best of me as well.
this is not a bad thing.
it shows that we CARE.

however, we should refrain from insults and learn to realize we ARE, all on the same team.

just for the record:
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2014-02-11 12:30:50 CST (-0600)

even in the east, this mushroom has been documented with more than one tree associate.

The recent “Wax Caps of Eastern North America” book states, on pg. 77:

“Occurrence: scattered, in groups, or in clusters on the ground or among sphagnum mosses under cedar. larch, pine or spruce.”

It doesn’t mention western collections because it doesn’t cover the west.

This collection came from the Sierra in a bog adjacent to stands of lodgepole pine. It is macroscopically identical to other collections both in the west and the east.

By: Irene Andersson (irenea)
2014-02-11 12:29:52 CST (-0600)

I just checked Genbank and found two sequenced collections named Hygrophorus speciosus. They were very close, only a couple of base pairs different, and far away from everything else in the genus.

One was from British Columbia and one from Italy. If the latter is a fact or a typo – I don’t know… I did not expect that, but it’s possible that a plant from Canada could have carried the mushroom to Italy. Too little info about hosts (the canadian says “Interior Cedar Hemlock Forests”).

In Europe we have used the name Hygrophorus aureus for a colour form of hypothejus that can look a lot like speciosus. There are many pictures of it on the web.

I think
By: Byrain
2014-02-11 12:28:25 CST (-0600)

it will be interesting no matter which way it turns out, I’d rather look at this as an opportunity to clarify their habitat & range than determine who is right and wrong. :)

Sometimes I think about challenging observations and decide against it to avoid ruffling feathers when I probably shouldn’t be procrastinating, but then another one gets posted and the bait grabs me hook, line, & sinker. This is especially true when there are good photos like yours & even a dried collection. As for what Noah found, I’m not sure, I bet he has more photos and collections than he knows what to do with.

I appreciate your calming words, Byrain…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2014-02-11 12:17:14 CST (-0600)

but it isn’t me that has a unsubstantiated theory that these western larch and non-larch collections are different from the eastern/European collections.

With all of the time that Noah has spent recently in the PNW, surely he also has collections of this, and can compare to his herbarium collections from the east??

There is also another recent, non-larch collection of H. speciosus at UCB, from the Yosemite Fungal Survey. I’m sure that Noah could get a chunk of that, if he was really interested.

I am already convinced. The burden of proof is upon the doubter. Show us the actual evidence for your thinking, and PROVE us wrong. Otherwise, it is mere speculation and more than a bit personal (note that
no other western obsies of this species have been challenged).

Most sp. descriptions for H. speciosus state that larch is the preferred host, but that pine is also possible.

If it was described originally from a larch bog in the NE, then that was just the starting point for our knowledge, not the end point.

Come on guys
By: Byrain
2014-02-11 11:59:54 CST (-0600)

You don’t have to get so worked up, if there is money to sequence these lets see it. We can patiently wait for the results. :)

I think Noah would be more than happy to be shown how he is wrong as he said this “If you still have the specimen, please prove me wrong…”. And just to be clear, there is no way the burden of proof could be on someone who does not even have the collection.

Gosh Noah….
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2014-02-11 11:52:02 CST (-0600)

so wrong, so often.

Please don’t talk outta yur hat. So unbecoming. I do indeed have a line on some deliciously cheap sequencing, as a favor to me.

Regardless of where speciosus was first described, there are also many examples of this mushroom from Europe and the west. Go harass those sightings if you are so certain of your theory.

Since YOU are the one arguing that it is different (on rather specious info), seems to me that the burden of proof is on YOU.

Go ahead, spend a little of that recent sequencing money here to prove (or disprove) your point.

Hygrophorus speciosus
By: Noah Siegel (Noah)
2014-02-11 11:29:36 CST (-0600)

was described from NY… Not European.

As far as the discount; you may want to check your “friend and family status”, because I think it has expired.

if you are really saying that all of the Western specious differs…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2014-02-11 10:31:58 CST (-0600)

from the NE and European collections, that’s a whole nuther issue. I suspect that it is merely a bit of a host switch. Mushrooms are often more flexible than we give them credit for.

That’s good for them and their survival, but maybe not so good for didacts.

If these are really so different from the European model, I would expect Irene to say so. Last time I looked, she wasn’t shy about sharing her extensive knowledge of European sp., esp. those from the North.

I do suspect that there are cryptic species w/in the hypthejus concept, tho. Too many variations on a theme. With our speciosus sightings, they all seem to be cut from the same cloth. It is our host assumptions that perhaps need a change, not the latin name.

and yet…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2014-02-11 10:03:00 CST (-0600)

it would appear that the mushrooms themselves are proving you wrong. Please suggest an alternative ID.
I have seen these both in their more common larch habitat in the PNW as well as these at Yuba Pass. They were identical in hand.

We humans ASSUME that certain mushrooms only occur in certain habitats or with certain hosts, and so that is where we go looking for them.

How ’bout those Amanita protecta under not oak, but willow?

Have you done the DNA confirmations of those yet? I hear that there is money to burn on sequencing…

I find it hghly unlikely
By: Noah Siegel (Noah)
2014-02-10 20:30:47 CST (-0600)

that a Larch associate would also occur with pine. Larch is a bit more of a specialized mycorrhizal symbiont then most ECM host.

Most/all of CA Hygrophorus that weren’t described from CA/western NA are different species from their eastern NA/European counterparts.

H. hypothejus Sensu CA can be brightly colored orange, but usually just in age, and occasionally when young if it has frozen. It is very common under both Ponderoa and Lodgepole/Shore Pine

If you still have the specimen, please prove me wrong…

By: walt sturgeon (Mycowalt)
2014-02-10 15:07:45 CST (-0600)

What are the other possibilities?

Hey Noee…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2014-02-10 12:26:10 CST (-0600)

which part of this obsie doesn’t scream specious to YOU?

It was also recently collected in Yosemite, under pine. And it also occurs in the SW under pine.
Larch waxie my…foot.

If I still have it (and I probably do, or it would already say Thiers Herbarium) I will send it on for a DNA confirmation. Just got a line to some cheap lab work: $4/per sample!

I do believe that one is a friend and family discount, though…;)

By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2014-02-10 09:30:28 CST (-0600)

BTW, I looked a little deeper (trees are not my forte), and the two needle pine at elevation in the Sierra is lodgepole. That is the likely host for this, although who knows? We haven’t done the work to know for sure where those roots and mycelia connect.

Maybe some cryptic species here (for H. hypothejus, too) or maybe the tree hosts are more flexible than we believed.

I suppose both things could be true.

No matter the latin or the host, always a spectacular find!

I am not sure if H. specious was ever found up at Yuba Pass before. The one other sighting here (by Nathan Wilson from around twenty years ago) looks more like hypothejus to me, and I don’t know if it got saved.

Might be interesting to poke around in the Theirs Herbarium at SFSU

I know it or a lookalike
By: walt sturgeon (Mycowalt)
2014-02-09 19:18:10 CST (-0600)

occurs with pine in New Mexico.

oh and BTW
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2014-02-09 12:26:52 CST (-0600)

no larch in the Sierra. USDA sez no larch anywhere in CA. So much for the “Larch” waxy!

I suspect that there may be a number of cryptic species within both this group and hypothejus.

So much work to do, everywhere!!!!

not sure…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2014-02-09 11:44:30 CST (-0600)

it’s a mixed forest, with two needle pine and wet seeking hardwoods. I will look harder at the tree species the next time i am up there.

This is supposedly a conifer associate, which occurs in boggy places. This is indeed a boggy place in the Sierra. There was apparently one other sighting in the area a couple of decades or more ago, in another very wet year.

What else is MR with these trees that just doesn’t get to fruit most of the time? H. speciosus is associated with the normally much wetter PNW. The Sierra is a far more xeric environment. But climate change could stand that on its head. Good to know that at least some fungi are already in place for those changing conditions.

Tree association?
By: walt sturgeon (Mycowalt)
2014-02-09 11:23:01 CST (-0600)
ironic, huh?
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2011-10-25 19:05:24 CDT (-0500)

the PNW is as dry as the Sierras, and the Sierras are as wet as the PNW.
Has the world tilted on its axis??!

And this year…
By: Britney Ramsey (Riverdweller)
2011-10-25 18:40:17 CDT (-0500)

is unusually dry…awesome find.

addendum to this rare collection…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2011-10-25 18:20:05 CDT (-0500)

it has been collected at Yuba Pass before, but only once, almost thirty years ago!
1982 was also an extraordinarily wet year.

Lovely find!
By: Matt Sherman (Shermanii)
2011-10-16 23:15:56 CDT (-0500)

The color is awesome!
Great photos as well.

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