When: 2008-12-06

Collection location: Albion, Mendocino Co., California, USA [Click for map]

Who: Douglas Smith (douglas)

No specimen available

As far as I understand these are what we are calling C. laniger around here. I think from Dimi’s comments I have a little more confidence that this might be true, and then from other comments, I’m not sure this is true at all. It seems that with Corts if I try to id some of them, I’m just opening up myself to get shot down… makes me wonder if any confidence in Cort id’s can get generated here in CA.

ANyway, here is another attempt at a Cort. id…


Proposed Names

29% (1)
Recognized by sight
57% (1)
Recognized by sight

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= Observer’s choice
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Add Comment
You bet. Color is Huge!
By: Dimitar Bojantchev (dimitar)
2009-01-16 18:02:36 EST (-0500)

Color is critical — that’s why you need Fresh Material. Check these basic rules for collecting Corts. Look atthe various colors.


color as distinquishing character
By: Dan Molter (shroomydan)
2009-01-16 17:37:24 EST (-0500)

Is gill color stable enough in Cortinarius to be used as a reliable character for splitting taxa? I don’t know much about corts, but most mushrooms I have observed display a high degree of variability in color.

In this case the (lack of) photo is the missing link
By: Dimitar Bojantchev (dimitar)
2009-01-16 12:07:33 EST (-0500)

Hi Doug — while the Cort id process is tricky indeed, in this particular case let’s state it clearly that the (lack of) photography is the missing link — it shows no gill colors, so no useful id of any kind can be extracted, even if this was the easiest Cort to tell.

Irene stole my thunder, as I was writing a brief review of Funga Nordica…

Douglas, you are not alone..
By: Irene Andersson (irenea)
2009-01-16 06:41:44 EST (-0500)

I received a new book a couple of months ago (Funga Nordica). It was promised to contain all known boletes and gilled species from Northern Europe, but the Cortinarius part hasn’t developed much. Of the estimated 900 species or so, only 369 are described and included in the keys. Remains at least 500 unknown or poorly known species, mainly Telamonias, I guess.
Trying to ID them isn’t rewarding when you know that getting close isn’t enough, because it just as well can be some undescribed species without a name.

Well, I’ll keep trying.
By: Douglas Smith (douglas)
2009-01-15 16:30:39 EST (-0500)

I’d say that gill color was about right, although I’m not a big fan of slight shades brown, as in “I meant brown, but not that brown…” that I hear often enough. These were a pretty good orangy brown, but no matter. Next time, clear photo of full light on the gills also…

The KOH is fine, although Dimi insisted on getting the KOH reactions of all parts of the mushroom… he then doesn’t list the KOH reactions of the Cort. he lists on his web site. There some names and photos there, and most with shots of spores, but not the KOH reactions. Also it would be good to know how the KOH reactions group the mushrooms perhaps, I mean if I see none, yellow, brown, red, greenish or whatever, what does that tell me?

As for the Corts up there, to tell the truth, I put the Corts aside, and said, Ok, I’m going to see if I can get enough info on them this time to start and get some names on the common stuff I see each year. Then I go and id 169 other species, and photograph 140 of them, and it gets to midnight, and I still can’t get to it. I’m just not going to be able to do all that for each one I think. Much less get spore size or photos. Maybe if I had a research assistant… but on this weekend in Dec. I was most alone out there… In the end, most of the Corts just ended up in the trash, yet again unknown, alone, unsung…

ah, they do not mean to discourage you…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2009-01-15 13:29:03 EST (-0500)

just alert you to the ID issues. what I am learning is that you MUST get young material to see the young gill color, for corts in general as well as what we were calling the dermocybes. once those corts hae blown out and shed their spores, good luck to you and your ID. and in fact, if you had illuminated the gills on your cort a bit better, you might have had a laniger consensus. and then, of course, the KOH testing on context of cap and stipe is also an essential ID character. don’t leave home w/out it!

Keep the faith, we are making progress! But Dimi’s Cort seminar can’t come too soon; guess we’d better get a big room, eh?

The gills
By: Irene Andersson (irenea)
2009-01-15 11:53:29 EST (-0500)

Dimi captured the gill colour well here:

What is the distinct gill color?
By: Douglas Smith (douglas)
2009-01-15 11:26:02 EST (-0500)

What is the distinct gill color to look for here? I’m assuming this also comes along with the brown non-viscid cap, light toned stipe with a cottony remnant on lower half, and lack of bulbose base?

Can I see the gills?
By: Dimitar Bojantchev (dimitar)
2009-01-15 11:03:51 EST (-0500)

Doug, this photo suggests C. laniger, just as well as 101 other things — first, one fruitbody is never enough, but the stature does not exclude laniger from our area. The cap color does look like it. But it’s most outstanding feature is the distinct gill color, I can’t see it, therefore to me this is totally inconclusive and just like Irene I will remain neutral.

I won’t shoot
By: Irene Andersson (irenea)
2009-01-15 07:11:54 EST (-0500)

- just mention that the gill colour isn’t what you’d expect on C. laniger (if the picture shows it right)..