Looking for some basic help with these. They are small, with caps up to 2.1 cm across. I couldn’t get enough spores for a print but under the microscope they look brown. The spores were approx. 7.5 X 4.5 microns, elliptical, smooth and with an apical pore. They seemed to be growing on the ground or perhaps on fir litter.
Added Dimitar’s photos of cystidia.


Proposed Names

43% (3)
Recognized by sight
-53% (3)
Recognized by sight
3% (2)
Recognized by sight
Used references: Bessette/Bessette/Fischer
15% (2)
Recognized by sight: size, ring, cinnamon brown sporeprint, germ pore all fit.
72% (2)
Used references: Smith’s monograph
Based on microscopic features: cystidia shape, size, spores

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

= Observer’s choice
= Current consensus


Add Comment
Mystery solved — Psathyrella ellenae (A.H. Smith)
By: Dimitar Bojantchev (dimitar)
2009-01-20 06:44:21 UTC (+0000)

Ok, mystery solved — this is a Psathyrella, called ellenae
(A.H. Smith), which is very distinct on acocunt of:

1) Membranous Annulus
2) Small Size

3) Most Definitively — THICH WALLED CYSTIDIA — which is something
very rare in Psathyrella. Having seen the cystidia, and looked at
Smith’s Psathyrella monograph, the id just pops out. You can’t ask
for a better diagnostic gift when dealing with Psathyrella.

I’ve never seen a picture of this species and I am glad now we know
what it looks like. Smith cites collections from Idaho and
California. I’d prefer to stick to var. ellenae on the account of the
smaller spores and the cystidia drawing in his monograph.

That’s precisely what I was talking about — in some cases, just the
most miniscule amount of microscopy can solve a puzzle.. And without
it, the id effort is reduced to a long drawn string of conjectures,
one more off than the next..

I apologize for the ugly cystidia pictures, but this we did very, very
fast, as the first thing in SOMA Camp’s Microscopy class. I have the
material and can make a much nicer slide & photos, but have other
priorities at the moment.

Have fun,


P.S. Here are the photos until Ron adds them to the page — I can’t.

Ok, the material, please…
By: Dimitar Bojantchev (dimitar)
2009-01-18 06:29:33 UTC (+0000)

Ron, please bring the material to the SOMA Microscopy Class tomorrow. That is a PERFECT INTRODUCTORY EXAMPLE of why we have that class and depending of the type of the audience, I may even start with that example. We will look at the cystidia first thing and that’s plenty of info right there for these suspects.

If we can print all of the ‘bla-bla’ we generated here on this collection alone that would be great.

By: Dave W (Dave W)
2009-01-18 05:34:05 UTC (+0000)

After checking my other manuals, and some web pages, I have noticed two things that better support the Psathyrella hypothesis. The habitat for Ron’s specimens is terrestrial under conifers (although buried wood cannot be ruled out). And, the rings on Ron’s specimens (although describable as “superior”)are closer to the middles of the stalks than I am seeing on all the Tubaria photos. Lincoff writes, about the Ringed Tubaria spores, “…no pore at tip.” As for the lack of an observable hygrophanous quality to the caps, these specimens appear to be somewhat dehydrated, and perhaps darker than dry, but relatively fresh, examples.

I have been converted to the Psathyrella point of view! But I’d still just call this “my best guess.”

No real conclusion yet
By: Ron Pastorino (Ronpast)
2009-01-18 05:03:39 UTC (+0000)

Well, I do have the dried material available if someone is really interested and has better microscope skills than me. However, two problems still seem to exist for either the Tubaria or Psathyrella species. As Doug pointed out, Tubarias aren’t supposed to have germ pores which I’m pretty confident these do. Secondly, these just don’t appear to be hygrophanous, which both species noted should be. And after comparing the spores from my earlier Psathyrella longistriata observation with these, I’m forced to admit that under the microsope they appear very similar in color, size and shape. But , I would not be comfortable saying they could be the same species based on visual and textural properties.

Tubaria? Psathyrella?
By: Dave W (Dave W)
2009-01-18 04:33:35 UTC (+0000)

Well, Dmitri, I don’t think it’s been shown conclusively that the mushrooms are Tubaria. But the pictures and descriptions in Bessette (and on the page you posted) appear to match pretty well. (For instance, the “whitish fibrils over the… brown ground color” seen in Bessette’s description of the T. confragosa stalk.) And although the spore shape and size reported by Ron match Bessette’s, there is no mention of the apical pore in the Bessette book. Tubaria confragosa would still be my best guess…. except now that I read Debbie’s comment (which showed up just before I posted this formerly uneditted comment)…?

Ironically, here in the eastern US, almost all of the Psathyrella species I encounter have the veil which disappears, leaves a ring zone, or perhaps an evanescent ring. Your mention of western Psathyrella species which exhibit persistent rings brings some doubt to the Tubaria hypothesis. I’m certain that here on these online mushroom photo ID sites it is sometimes the case that an example of some obscure scantly documented species gets pegged as being one of the things that one more commonly finds documented in the majority of the popular manuals.

as much as i’d like to make this into a conocybe…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2009-01-18 04:25:12 UTC (+0000)

the spores are a very good match for Psath longistriata. regardless of the ring, it can’t be Tubaria with a germ pore.

You have a point — now this became one big tease. I’m out.
By: Dimitar Bojantchev (dimitar)
2009-01-18 02:12:45 UTC (+0000)

Good point Dave. Actually, my first reaction was that Bessette’s
definition is wrong, more specifically that the word “persistent” is
too strong (nothing new BTW with descriptions having problems and
mycologists being wrong all the time, and we shouldn’t be afraid to
think critically and independently…). In the most definitive and
latest source on this species: “Taxonomy of displaced species of
Tubaria” by Matheny1 et al, the following is being said: “veil forming
a superior membranous annulus that is easily removed, in age remnants
of veil may be sparse”. Mykoweb, calls that annulus “evanescent” and
they’re quite serious about their stuff. That matches fully my own
observations from out West… May we’re the ones not knowing exactly what T. confragosa is…

BUT, apparently his description is not wrong because I do see pictures
from the East Coast of a strongly annulate Tubaria, thus rendering
credibility to your idea — one photo is in Bessette’s Mushrooms of
Northeastern NA". Another one is here

— nice work there showing conclusively that it is Tubaria indeed…

I have not seen such a beast out West, but that doesn’t mean it
doesn’t exist. So, without more information I have no opinion on this
matter — usually, I like to get to the bottom of things and feel that
seeing Ron’s picture was just a tease. I want the real deal…


not a Tubaria?
By: Dave W (Dave W)
2009-01-18 00:35:36 UTC (+0000)

Of course, without certain types of information at hand, all of this ID by picture amounts to guesswork. Bessette describes the annulus for Tubaria confragosa as such, “…partial veil, leaving a persistent, membranous, superior ring…”

Sorry, can’t see Tubaria in there at all. Not even ballpark…
By: Dimitar Bojantchev (dimitar)
2009-01-17 03:00:08 UTC (+0000)

No matter how hard I look I can’t even see a hint of Tubaria in there
— in the Tubaria World, the annulus, where existing at all, is very
evanescent and may only leave a ragged remnant. There’s nothing in
there with such skirt-like annulus. There are other Psathyrellas with
a ring, look at Smith’s monograph, he lists 11-12 species at least. If
you saved the material, one could get more precise, but at the present
level of information available, to me this is a ringed Psathyrella
sp. Beyond that it’s an exercise in futility trying to get a better
name. In general people have to be very clear that without a full
anatomy inspection (i.e. preserve the material) getting an id on some
of these Genera is impossible. Squeezing it down to a Genus is a
struggle enough already.

EDIT: The only other possibility with such a annulus is somethingin the Pholiotina (Conocybe) group. Since you said that these were rather small fruitbodies, that’s a possibility, but they tend to have lighter colors in general. Again, a bit of microscopy could sort this one pretty quick.

Members of Agrocybe also have annuli, but this doesn’t look like one.

Not Tubaria
By: Douglas Smith (douglas)
2009-01-17 01:32:43 UTC (+0000)

Tubaria doesn’t have a germ pore in the spores. Take a look at Tubaria spores at some point, and you’ll see, they are fairly easy to separate from Conocybe, Psathyrella, Galerina, Cort., etc…

Too large for Tubaria?
By: Ron Pastorino (Ronpast)
2009-01-17 01:26:44 UTC (+0000)

Dimitar, coincidentally, I had found some Psathyrella longistriata earlier and posted them.. . These were in a different habitat and looked very different to me. You said they looked too large for Tubaria but the caps were only 1.0- 2.1 cm broad? They certainly fall within the range of the dimensions that are noted for Tubaria confragosa.

Probably an anulate Psathyrella
By: Dimitar Bojantchev (dimitar)
2009-01-17 00:39:59 UTC (+0000)

Reminds me of the Psathyrellas that have an annulus — check this frequent collection from our area — Psathyrella longistriata:

Cortinarius — totally out of question with that membranous annulus.

Tubaria — highly atypical — this appears way too large for a Tubaria.

Conocybe, also appears too large for it. The Pholiotinas have an annulus, but they’re tiny itsy-bitsy things.

Of course, the collection is old, but if scoped the answer can be achieved immediately.

Tubaria confragosa seems possible
By: Ron Pastorino (Ronpast)
2009-01-17 00:13:58 UTC (+0000)

Dave’s suggestion meets most of the parameters. The picture in the Bessette book looks more like it than other web sources. However, the caps did not seem hygrophanous and they did dry up dark brown?

Kinda doubt Conocybe…
By: Douglas Smith (douglas)
2009-01-16 23:48:48 UTC (+0000)

These look a little dark for Conocybe, and the stipes are too white. If it is a Conocybe I’d like to took at it. These more look like Psathyrella to me.

prominent ring
By: Nathaniel Segraves (nlsegraves)
2009-01-16 22:39:50 UTC (+0000)

With the ring on the stalk I doubt Cortinarius