When: 2012-09-11

Collection location: near Echo Summit/Highway 50, California, USA [Click for map]

Who: Ron Pastorino (Ronpast)

No specimen available

This small clump was growing under mixed conifers @ ~ 7000 ft.
Couldn’t get a spore print and didn’t save them but they do have the basic characteristics of C. sclerotoidea.
I wasn’t going to post but noticed that there weren’t any other observations of this species from the Sierras.

Species Lists


Proposed Names

41% (5)
Recognized by sight: paler cap than most C. sclerotoidea, blue colors, widely spaced bluish-gray gills, stocky stature, Sierran habitat
-64% (3)
Recognized by sight: “CA Mountain Form” of H. camarophyllus. Edited to be clear – I agree with Irene that this is not ‘true’ H. camarophyllus

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= Observer’s choice
= Current consensus


Add Comment
OK, H. camarophyllus, as opposed to the out of the question caeruleus, is at least…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2012-10-03 19:13:08 CDT (-0500)

a more reasonable guess, but I’m still not buying it.

Do Hygrophorus typically grow with caps fused and bases indistinct? Do they typically have gray gills like a C. sclerotoides even when the cap is not quite opened up?

Here is Christian’s photo of a H. camarophyllus that he recently collected at Shasta. You can see the similarities, but also look for the differences:


And what about the size here? Looks kinda small to me, but certainly not delicate.

Since ALL of the features fit the Clitocybe sclerotoidea (check out Darv’s many photos of this from Sebastopol, where he clearly shows the gray gills and brown-with-a-white-bloom fused caps)



why not just put a “could be” for Hygrophorus sp.?

Yup, we don’t have prior records on MO from the Sierra. Well gosh, maybe now we do? It does occur in the mountains of CO. See this obsie:


I still think that Ron’s first hit was correct, and after all, he is the only one to have seen it in the flesh.

AS to odor perception, yeah some are subtle. Caeruleus is not. Besides, there are many other reasons to say no to that ID, as you noted. If Ron can smell a corpse, he can smell caeruleus. If his nose doesn’t work for any odors ever, well, that’s another story.

Oh wow
By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2012-10-03 15:17:43 CDT (-0500)

I’m slow this week…

The blue in the photo is just a result of the white balance being off.

I think this is a Hygrophorus: the CA ‘mountain form’ of H. camarophyllus. See here:
observation 95739

Often has a white bloom covering the cap when young, streaky gray-brown later.

Not sure why I didn’t put this all together quicker. Got to lay off the Lagavulin, I guess.

By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2012-10-03 15:14:46 CDT (-0500)

I don’t think that we can really say “believe me, you would smell it” in the case of any mushroom, really.

When I saw H. caeruleus, I found them off-putting when fresh, but not overwhelming.

Almost all the smells encountered in fungi are really variably interpreted. Which is unfortunate, given how useful they often are.

It’s hard for me to see these being C. sclerotoidea, but I’ll take Ron’s word for it.

it is VERY strong.
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2012-10-03 15:07:53 CDT (-0500)

believe me, you would smell it.

Didn’t notice any strong odor
By: Ron Pastorino (Ronpast)
2012-10-02 22:45:40 CDT (-0500)

but it has to be VERY strong for me to take notice.
They were small, with caps about 2.5 cm across or less.
I didn’t see any real blue tints and the gills were a rather dull gray.
The fused nature of the group suggested C. sclerotoidea but I guess I can’t completely rule out H. caeruleus.

did you notice a god-awful odor when you handled it?
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2012-10-02 21:57:57 CDT (-0500)

then it’s not H. caeruleus.

I don’t see blue at all. The deformed caps on the right are a fine match to sclerotoides.