When: 2008-06-07

Collection location: Boone Co., Missouri, USA [Click for map]

Who: MOFunGuy (jrapp)

No specimen available

This is my first post on this website, so any suggestions are welcome.

This was found here in Central Missouri late this spring, June 7th growing on or near a huge dead log. [Sorry, I don’t recall if it was growing on the unknown type of log, or if I put it up on the log as a place to take it’s picture.] It was in a very damp bottom land of the Missouri river where there was a mixture of (hard)woods, with few if any conifers. The pictures I’ll attach show three different cap sizes with a progression from a nice contrasting pattern of dark fiber scales on a very light brown background on the smallest cap (about the size of a nickel) to the medium cap with a blending of pattern into the cap (about the size of a half-dollar), finally to the largest cap in which the pattern is most blended into a light brown/fawn color (no more than 2" or 5 cm in diameter). I didn’t get the spore print, but I’d guess it to be brown, judging from the gill coloration progressing from very light tan to a solid medium cocoa brown. The stalk is smooth, white, without scales or color.

I really like this one because of it’s cap pattern and change. I haven’t seen any other examples like it. I’ve unsuccessfully keyed this out under Pholiota. Any ideas what I have here ???

Much thanks for any help !


[admin – Sat Aug 14 01:58:45 +0000 2010]: Changed location name from ‘Boone Co., (Central) Missouri, USA’ to ‘Boone Co., Missouri, USA’

Species Lists


Proposed Names

57% (4)
Recognized by sight: Walt provided the lead and using Smith one possibility that grows on wood is P. propinqua.
Smith has a B&W photo.
Used references: Smith, A. H. 1972. The North American Species of Psathyrella. Memoirs of the New York Botanical Garden; Volume 24. Bronx. New York. 633p.

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

= Observer’s choice
= Current consensus


Add Comment
Psath Psaga
By: MOFunGuy (jrapp)
2008-11-13 11:07:23 PST (-0800)

Thanks CCat, that does help. These did have a sheen to the stalk, which if it had fibers, were certainly not dark, rather were indistinct.

By: Erin Page Blanchard (CureCat)
2008-11-13 10:23:35 PST (-0800)

MOFunGuy, I’ll try and articulate the features which tipped me off to Psathyrella.

First, the lamelle of the mature mushroom are chocolate brown, making Pluteus doubtful in my mind. Yes, the young one has pinkish lamelle, but that is only because the spores are underdeveloped.
The attachment is inconsistent with Pholiota, and immature specimens of this genus do not typically have pinkish colouration of the gills, more off-white or tan.

The stipe has that sheen to it. Species of Pluteus and Psathyrella often have a brittle looking, shiny stipe. Pholiota does not, the tissue of the stipe tends to be pretty sturdy, often with some fibrils or ornamentation.

I hope that helps.


OK, how ’bout P. subtruncatispora?
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2008-11-13 10:21:36 PST (-0800)

both propinqua and macculata (Steve Nelsen’s guess) show dark fibrils along the stipe (which i am not seeing in these photos), altho the caps are possible matches to both species…
Psath. subtruncatispora is similar to propinqua, according to Smith’s monograph, with microscopic differences AND whitish, indistinct fibrils on the stipe.

The Continuing Psaga of Psathyrella eludingme
By: MOFunGuy (jrapp)
2008-11-13 09:19:28 PST (-0800)

Hey there ya are Patrick, came thru again! For some reason I couldn’t find my A.H. Smith North American Species of Psathyrella layin around the house – damn kids musta borrowed it and not put it back!

Doug, thanks for the help & suggestions. Since this was my first post, I wasn’t sure how this worked. Originally I put the date found in the text of the observation, concerned that if I put the date posted, it would be buried deep in the sequence of posts since June (2008). I’ve now adjusted the date of “When:”, that won’t screw up the sequence in which it appears, will it?

As far as location, even though it had several locations in my state, it didn’t have mine, and I couldn’t fox it into finding/adding it. I’ll edit my “Collection location:” but if you have some tips on how to create a new location, I’d use it.

So you’re ready for some redneck hillbilly mushroom fungi photo spammin from the Midwest, eh? I think I can come up with a few pix. That’s much of what I’ve been doing this past year.

Thanks Deb for passing this along to Steve Nelsen. Never met a real life Midwest Psath expert, so that’s a treat for me. Hope he has plenty of coffee to get him thru 428 specie possibilities, I’ve gone thru a bit already trying to figure out this critter.

I still need to figure out why this is a Psathyrella, not a Pholiota or Pluteus. I musta been dozing off while rummaging thru “P” section of my ID exploration. Any suggestions are much appreciated, as is all the help you & the other participants have been already!


FYI A.H. Smith works online
By: Patrick Harvey (pg_harvey)
2008-11-13 08:26:47 PST (-0800)

Smith’s monograph on Psathyrella is available at:


You can search the text by keyword(s). The description for P. propinqua is
on pp. 48 – 49, and the search will bring up a fairly low-resolution picture
of it.

— Patrick

p.s. A lot of his other texts are here, including “Boletes of Michigan”, with
some VERY high-res pictures.

Steve Nelsen is also plowing thru the 428 (!) species descriptions of Midwestern psaths;
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2008-11-13 07:37:31 PST (-0800)

let’s see if he confirms Darv’s initial ID.
FYI, he had never seen this one, either, and this is his turf and specialty group!
nice find!

Post your photos please.
By: Douglas Smith (douglas)
2008-11-13 02:16:25 PST (-0800)

You mention that you have lots of photos from your area, please post your photos so we can compared with obs. from other areas. The site is rather heavy on obs. from California right now, and it is starting to fill in stuff from the east coast, and some from Europe. The middle of the US is rather under-reported. It would be good to get more data from there.

Also, take a look at the location defs. and see how that works. It would be good to know the location better than “Central Missouri”, at least down to county would be good, and to town would be better. The locations can then be defined with a box in lat. and long. so we can tell where the obs. occured and compare with others to get info. on range of species. If this doesn’t make sense, please send me or Nathan a note, or ask questions here, and we can help.

And, please provide the correct dates for each obs. I for one am very interested to see what you might be finding in that area, and I’m sure others would be interested also.

Change the obs date please
By: Douglas Smith (douglas)
2008-11-13 02:05:47 PST (-0800)

The date from this obs states you found these on Nov. 10, 2008, but in your comments you say you found them in June. Please change the date for this obs. so people can know when you found these. You can edit the obs. and make this change.

By: Erin Page Blanchard (CureCat)
2008-11-13 00:39:53 PST (-0800)

I can’t find any photos of P. propinqua online, though P. cotonea looks like a possibility.

By: walt sturgeon (Mycowalt)
2008-11-12 18:55:24 PST (-0800)

Looks a bit like Psathyrella cotonea…

Thanks for continuing ID exploration
By: MOFunGuy (jrapp)
2008-11-12 14:08:40 PST (-0800)

Thanks all for your continuing help to ID this one. I’m very impressed with the help that M.O. participants have offered. Thanks Deb for the M.S. contacts. I belong to the two closest groups, Kaw Valley M.S. in Kansas and Missouri M.S. (MOMS) based in St. Louis, Missouri. I’ve shared these pix with some of our local folks, and its’ ID has eluded us.

I’m sorry, I didn’t save this mushroom. I took these pix June 7th, 2008 and with our effective season winding down, now enter my winter mode where I go thru many hundreds of mushroom photos I’ve taken thru the year. Most I can ID, but not yet this one.

So you think Pholiota and Pluteus are out of the running? How come?

I did go thru every Psathyrella, Pholiota & Pluteus Observation on this site without a match. I did find one mushroom with some similarities, except its’ fibers & cap colors were reversed, that is the fibers were very light and the cap dark. That didn’t seem to fit.

Again much thanks for your generous assistance, particularly Deb. I hope some of the folks you’ve forwarded this to will have an idea.


sent this link to Dr. Steve Nelsen, Midwestern psath expert…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2008-11-12 10:37:39 PST (-0800)

…maybe we’ll get lucky on an ID!

By: Erin Page Blanchard (CureCat)
2008-11-12 08:52:36 PST (-0800)

MOFunGuy, did you happen to save these?? If not, you should try and check back where you found them, as if these are Psathyrella they are unlike any species I’ve seen. You should certainly try and get one to a local mycologist to look at under the microscope and maybe do some ITS sequencing to see exactly who the relatives to this scaly mushroom are.
Dry them to preserve them, of course.

Here is contact info for your local Mycological Society:
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2008-11-12 08:00:50 PST (-0800)
By: else
2008-11-11 17:28:09 PST (-0800)

Psathyrella seems to be the best option. But, if you want a species name, you have to do the real hard stuff, not just pictures in a popular book (guide books cover in general only a very few Psathyrella species). In other words, Smith’s big Psathyrella monograph is the way to go. And put it under the microscope!

Good feedback – still looking
By: MOFunGuy (jrapp)
2008-11-11 11:04:47 PST (-0800)

Thanks for your input everyone. Deb – how come Pholiota is out? I was really hoping the distinct pattern on the cap would strike a note with someone who has seen something like this. Maybe I can put the pix on a milk carton with “If you’ve seen this mushroom, please call 1-800-mushroomobserver.org” !!!

scratch pholiota off the list of possibles…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2008-11-11 09:58:22 PST (-0800)
Correct date.
By: Ron Pastorino (Ronpast)
2008-11-11 08:05:29 PST (-0800)

Also don’t forget to at least put in the approximate day , month, year of the find. Otherwise the date you enter the observation becomes the default date.

I’m with Doug here, less is not more!
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2008-11-11 07:01:37 PST (-0800)

When you or any poster, really, finds a peculiar or particularly striking fungus, the very least thing we need to do is get a spore print. If you really want to nail an ID, you also need to dry and save the specimen. Otherwise, we are just whistling in the dark, no matter how pretty the tune…

Too late for this spring find, tho, unless somebody can do a photo ID…

Need a spore print at least here…
By: Douglas Smith (douglas)
2008-11-11 04:00:59 PST (-0800)

I mean if we can’t get anywhere, we should at least have a spore print…

Just to try and knock over your castle here, I don’t see any free gills, the gills look adnate to me, I wouldn’t say Pluteus. Not sure what I would say…

Pluteus Possibilities
By: MOFunGuy (jrapp)
2008-11-10 19:27:56 PST (-0800)

O.K. I checked out Arora’s key as well as Mushroom Expert on Pluteus, then Googled anything that looked remotely possible, but no cigar. FWIW I also did the same with Pholiota and Entoloma, still no match.

I think that Nathan is barking along the right (dead) tree…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2008-11-10 18:05:47 PST (-0800)

Pluteus works for me…stature right, gills do look pinkish brown, and SOME have squamules on the cap. which species, tho…

Thank you Nathan & CureCat
By: MOFunGuy (jrapp)
2008-11-10 17:52:57 PST (-0800)

Thanks for giving this a look. I was at a bit of a dead end, so your suggestions help open up possibilities. I looked at Psathyrella but didn’t see anything much like it. When I looked at Pluteus I do see some features which may match. I originally thought of the color as light tan, however there is a pinkish or fleshy tint in the older/larger caps. One possibility was P. umbrosus as it is the “Velvety Shield Cap”, and it does have fibers. I could find no example of a pattern of the fibers, but there are some Pluteus-like features here.

I’m still working on this, and any further help is much appreciated !


By: Nathan Wilson (nathan)
2008-11-10 14:12:05 PST (-0800)

Unfortunate you didn’t get a spore print. The gills look a bit pinkish, the gills are free and the stature makes me thing of Pluteus. Also the striations on the cap margin are common feature of the smaller, rarer members of this genus. However, I’ve never seen one with a patterned cap like that.

Not saying it is, however…
By: Erin Page Blanchard (CureCat)
2008-11-10 13:58:28 PST (-0800)

The lamelle and stipe remind me of Psathyrella, though I’ve never seen any species with such a scaly/fibrous pileus.

Thanks Deb !
By: MOFunGuy (jrapp)
2008-11-10 13:08:33 PST (-0800)

Thanks Deb !

pholiota is not a bad guess, altho the species does not come to mind….
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2008-11-10 13:03:54 PST (-0800)

I will send your image and link to my friend Coleman, who is an east coast pholiota expert. maybe we’ll get lucky!