When: 2011-05-22

Collection location: Oxford Co., Maine, USA [Click for map]

Who: vjp

Specimen available



Proposed Names

60% (6)
Used references
Based on microscopic features: presence of sulphidia and oblique germ pore
51% (3)
Recognized by sight

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= Observer’s choice
= Current consensus


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By: Image Sharer (image sharer)
2014-10-02 11:41:59 -05 (-0500)

Here’s the definition I have developed for the term “sulphidia”:

Sulphidium (pl., sulphidia): Pleurocystidium that have a yellowish coloration (similar to that of of a chrysocystidium). So far this term has been used extremely infrequently. E. Gerhardt, in his monograph on Panaeolus (Taxonomische revision der gattungen Panaeolus und Panaeolina, Bibliotheca Botanica 47, 1996), defines sulphidia as follows (translation from German): “There are pleurocystidia, so far called chrysocystidia but not matching this definition as they do not stain yellow with KOH (unlike Stropharia and Hypholoma), but they are yellowish from the very beginning or keep uncolored. They become a beautiful red wine in sulphovanillin (sulfo-vanillin, sulpho-vanillin), consequently they are called sulphidia.” The stain patent blue may/might be useful as an alternative to sulphovanillin.

In order for sulphidia to be meet this definition, I believe they must be tested in sulphovanillin and become “beautiful red wine” in color.

I believe you already have a recipe for making sulphovanillin, but in case it’s helpful for others, here’s the steps:

How is sulpho-vanillin (sulphovanillin) prepared or can I just purchase it?

You should prepare the solution fresh after obtaining 100% pure vanillin crystals and 98% sulphuric acid. The solution sulphovanillin not only lasts for an extremely short period of time (minutes, maybe longer) it also can produce color changes that are very short-lived. It is a combination of vanillin and sulphuric acid. It requires preparation before use or during the actual preparation of your slide. Sulphovanillin can generate very important and differentiating reactions. One method to use sulphovanillin is to first create a slide using water as the mounting liquid on your mushroom cells. Cover it with a cover-slip. Add some crystals of vanillin at one side of the cover glass and put a small drop of H2SO4 on these crystals. Be sure that there is contact between the water of the preparation and the dissolving reagent and that there is no acid on the cover glass. The liquid should begin to mix with the water under the cover slip. If need be, use a tissue or napkin on the opposing side of the cover slip to create a vacuum-like effect. If you want to make a small amount in a container, use nearly 65% sulphuric acid and 35% vanillin crystals. The sulphuric acid when purchased should be 98 % sulphuric acid. The vanillin are crystals of pure vanillin and you dissolve only a few crystals so that the solution becomes yellow, but few enough that all are dissolved in the drop of sulphuric acid. A second formula (solution) is 5mg. of vanillin crystals dissolved in 6ml. of 80% sulphuric acid. Some people make it up on the slide by adding a tiny amount of vanillin crystals to a drop of 80% sulphuric acid and stirring with an acid resistant tool (e.g. glass or stainless steel). A pale straw-colored solution is the aim. It is important to dissolve all the crystals otherwise they can crack the cover slip when you press it down. Some mycologists may prefer a small amount (5 or 6 drops) in a watch glass and use that. Use great care when handling sulphuric acid as it is extremely corrosive! One mycologist ruined a favorite t-shirt at a recent Russula workshop by burning several holes in it! Never attempt to make up dilute acid from concentrate unless you are sure of what you are doing. The dilution process can cause the acid to boil and spit! Dispose of unused sulphovanillin promptly in an environmentally astute manner, including any related slides. You will find that the stained material lasts only a short while anyway – roughly 10 minutes – as the strong acid quickly destroys it.

(Note: Please be careful with the two chemicals needed to make sulphovanillin and read the MSDS sheets).

I have not seen a single mycologist post images of sulphovanillin-infused cells in the genus Panaeolus. If someone has a link, please post it. The chemical reaction that Gerhardt sought and obtained to write his key to Panaeolus is without question valuable and worth following as a protocol for us to determine what species we have. Perhaps we could improve upon his notes by experimenting.

I suppose
By: Irene Andersson (irenea)
2011-06-06 14:47:49 -05 (-0500)

that the shape of the sulphidia can vary a lot.
If you like to compare, I have a microshot of what I think are sulphidia in obs 67948.

Here’s another picture:

By: vjp
2011-06-03 15:57:30 -05 (-0500)

Any one have information on sulphidia?

I believe the second picture shows sulphidia but cant find anything to compare it to. They were yellow in color and had anywhere from 6 to 1 projections. Can anyone confirm?