Name: Polyporus elegans
Citation: Herb. Fr. (Paris) 3: tab. 46 (1780)
Deprecated Synonyms: Polyporus petalodes, Petaloides petalodes, Melanopus nummularius, Boletus nummularius, Polyporus magnovarius, Polyporus gintlianus, Polyporus nummularius, Melanopus noackianus, Polyporus boltonii, Coltricia nummularia, Polyporus leprodes, Polyporellus petalodes, Polyporus noackianus, Boletus leptocephalus Jacq., Coltricia leptocephala (Jacq.) Gray, Polyporellus leptocephalus (Jacq.) P. Karst., Leucoporus leptocephalus (Jacq.) Quél.
Commonly named the “Black-Foot” fungus due to the darkening from tan to black near the base of the stalk, Polyporus elegans is a small to medium sized polypore with a thin cap and a short stalk.
varius, elegans and leptocephalus are all names that have been used on the same species (or two?). I’ve had a hard time accepting that they would be one and the same species. According to IndexFungorum it looks like they are two species, varius and leptocephala, but the synonyms are confusing. Sometimes a var. nummularia is varius, sometimes leptocephala, a minimus is varius, and an elegans is leptocephala.
This didn’t make sense to me, and I couldn’t find a reference to any recent study of these species and names.
But when I checked the Synonymy contributors, I found two different sources,
one is the British Checklist, using leptocephala:
The other is CBS Aphyllophorales database, with varius as the currently used name:
At the end of that page, it says that varius is based on Boletus leptocephalus Jacquin (1778)
So, they are the same species :-( with leptocephalus as the older and legitimate name… The large and fleshy one with a tawny cap, and the tiny one with a cap soon fading to white, still lumped together.
Index Fungorum currently (2010-04-12) says Polyporus leptocephalus is the current name for Polyporus elegans and that Polyporus varius is the current name for Polyorus elegans subsp. minimus. Mushroomexpert.com synonymizes P. elgans with P. varius and makes no mention of _P. leptocephalus. Anyone know the difference between P. varius and P. leptocephalus?