Observation 10228: Gymnopilus luteus (Peck) Hesler

When: 2008-08-29

Collection location: Strouds Run State Park, Athens, Ohio, USA [Click for map]

Who: Dan Molter (shroomydan)

No specimen available

I went back today to get a spore print and found one on maple leaf. You can see the spore deposit is pretty much the same shade of orange as the large mature mushroom.

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i love this group
By: Modified Hypothesis (Modified Hypothesis )
2009-06-05 16:04:49 EDT (-0400)

seriously sweet picturesi

Gymnopilus luteus photo
By: walt sturgeon (Mycowalt)
2008-09-01 21:42:36 EDT (-0400)

There is a good picture in Roody (Mushrooms of WV and the Central Appalachians), page 35. This group is frustrating. In addition to G. spectabilis and G. luteus, I have seen G. validipes, G. aeruginescens and G. luteofolius in Ohio. These are some of the larger ones.
Then there is the name G. junonius….

yellow naked cap
By: Dan Molter (shroomydan)
2008-08-31 19:42:57 EDT (-0400)

A ‘spectacular yellow naked cap’ if I might be so bold! It’s good to finally have a name for what I have referred to elsewhere as “Sacred Blue Gym”. Thank you MycoWalt!

The spores are indeed a dark rusty color like the annulus. A spore print of the same species collected at the beginning of June can be seen in observation # 7718.

I still think the cortina might be orange even without spores. It would account for the orange veil remnants on the cap margin above the trajectory of ejected spores. Of course spore production could have begun early, before the mushroom opened, coloring the entire partial veil orange. This is a question that could be answered with a microscopic photo, but the macro function on my camera is not that powerful, yet. Some day I hope to have an amazing camera that can get shots of features like cystidia on standing mushrooms.

A far as the names go, I think G. spectabilis and G. luteus are both good names. The former is more inclusive and the later more specific. Arora does not mention G. luteus, but he clearly refers to this kind of mushroom under the entry for “Gymnopilus spectabilis group”. G. luteus is one of the constituent species of the group Gymnopilus spectabilis. If there were any justice in the world of mushroom taxonomy, Gymnopilus spectabilis would be a genus and Gymnopilus luteus would be one of its specific members. In any event, “Gymnopilus spectabilis” and “Big Laughing Gym” are two names which functioned well enough for someone (me), who was completely untrained, to safely identify and eat a wild mushroom using only a field guide as a reference. The name is specific enough and spectacular enough that I would like to see it remain fixed to all the Big Laughing Gyms, rather than to just one kind of them, especially if the kind slated to retain the name is not psychoactive. Maybe I’m just sentimental about the name…

I don’t mind learning new names, but there is something a bit painful about being told the old name is not right and was never right in the first place. I think Debbie picked up on my frustration. Thank you for the compliments on the photos Debbie :)

former name for this mushroom is pholiota lutea…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2008-08-31 10:36:27 EDT (-0400)

…you might be able to find more info on it online thru this name.

several of your shots show a mushroom that is whitish with a yellow-orange center (NOT typical of spectabilis), and the spore drop shot is exquisite. apparently spectabilis CAN show notched gills, tho; my bad.

actually, it’s COOLER that you have something different here!

the dark red-brown color in a ring around the stem is typical of spore-drop caught in a veil, not a veil itself.

it is a marvelous example of something unusual! be proud, we all make ID mistakes.

that is the beauty of MO, where so many educated eyes can see your work, and help fine-tune the names.

veil remnants on cap margin
By: Dan Molter (shroomydan)
2008-08-31 00:14:27 EDT (-0400)

are the same orange brown color as those on the upper stem. Must spores account for the color of the cortinate veil remnants?

Thanks Walt, I’ve learned another new mushroom!
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2008-08-30 22:35:38 EDT (-0400)

If you look closely at Dan’s lovely last shot, you can see a RED-BROWN spore drop, as well as clearly notched gills; neither are typical of
G. spectabilis varieties on either coast.

The good news? This one is hallucinagenic (and bitter) too.

Potent Ohio Gyms
By: Dan Molter (shroomydan)
2008-08-30 18:18:45 EDT (-0400)

These are the potent Big Laughing Gyms from Ohio mentioned by Arora in Mushrooms Demystified.

“An Ohio woman had an unforgettable experience after inadvertently nibbling on one. She found herself in an alien world of fantastic shapes and glorious colors, and while concerned friends were rushing her to the hospital, she was heard to mutter, “If this is the way you die from mushroom poisoning, then I’m all for it…” (Arora, 410).

They are not especially large. An average cap is about 2 inches across, and large specimens are rarely more than four inches in diameter. The smell is fruity spicy and the flavor very bitter. They come out in successive flushes from late August through September, and smaller sporadic fruitings continuing into November. Larger colonies also fruit once in early to mid June. They prefer well rotted hardwood logs usually covered with a little moss, but they can occasionally be found growing from standing dead trees. They are most abundant in shady bottom areas along small streams but can be found anywhere that is moist and shady enough for moss to cover the fallen logs.

There is another kind of Big Laughing Gym here in Ohio which smells the same but it is larger, oranger, and not nearly as potent. These small potent gyms are far more common and sometimes the pins bruise blue. The bluing reaction is variable, with specimens from the same log sometimes bruising blue and sometimes not bruising blue.

Big laughing Gyms were the quarry I sought when I began mushroom hunting over ten years ago. They were also my first encounter with the species problem. According to Arora’s key to Gymnolpilus, if the mushroom bruises blue then it is G. aeruginosus, if not, then it is G. spetabilis, which Arora calls a “species complex”. However, the full grown mushrooms never bruise blue, only the pins, so if Arora’s key is correct, then a single mushroom changes species from G. aeruginosus to G. spectabilis as it matures.

I don’t think G. aeruginosis is in Ohio at all (if it is even a distinct species, whatever a species is). At least I have never found it here in ten years of searching.

Created: 2008-08-30 15:23:55 EDT (-0400)
Last modified: 2008-09-01 15:48:01 EDT (-0400)
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