When: 2008-12-06

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

Who: Douglas Smith (douglas)

Specimen available

Found under mixed forest, pine, D. fir, madrone, scrub.

Not sure if these are P. melaleucus and P. atratus, and I’m not sure how to tell the difference…

Species Lists


Proposed Names

29% (1)
Recognized by sight
-5% (2)
Recognized by sight: Just adding it as a possibility to take a closer look at..

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= Observer’s choice
= Current consensus


Add Comment
Phellodon melaleucus
By: Irene Andersson (irenea)
2009-01-29 10:44:17 CST (-0500)

seems possible. The stems look rather sturdy and fluffy to me, but it’s hard to tell the size from the pictures.
Next time you find them, cut through one and look at the colour and structure of the context. P. melaleucus has very thin caps. They are easier to identify if you happen to find young ones. Then they should look like this, and can hardly be mistaken for something else:
The best way to check KOH reaction is to get slices of the context, as thin as possible, and put them in KOH solution.

Going with Phellodon melaleucus
By: Douglas Smith (douglas)
2009-01-28 20:54:07 CST (-0500)

Well, not sure here. It looks like there are a number of different spore sizes published, and they all overlap to some extent. It looks like there are three different names to think about, P. confluens, P. melaleucus, and P. atratus. It looks like there are some differences, although these are variable… It seems that P. confluens produces larger multi-lobed bodies than what I see here. In the notes of the northwest key council:


It states that P. atratus is black in center, when P. melaleucus is dark brown in center. I guess that these are not quite black in center, but more a grey-brown, so I’ll go with P. melaleucus.

The species descriptions also describe reactions to chemicals, where the flesh of the context will stain in KOH (although it describes the flesh as grey to black, so not sure how to tell the stain color…). P. confluens is olivaceous to dark brown or black in KOH, P. melaleucus is dark olivaceous to blackish in KOH, and P. atratus is deep blue-black in KOH. If I can remember this detail, and think I can tell the difference between dark olivaceous to blackish from deep blue-black, I might give this a try next time I see these.

melaleucus vs confluens, size is important..
By: Irene Andersson (irenea)
2009-01-28 12:22:38 CST (-0500)

These are likely to be confused, and differences in micro characters are subtle.
The melaleucus I know, is very small, caps hardly exceeding 4 cm (usually smaller), while confluens according to descriptions can have caps of the double size (I have never found it myself). The stems on melaleucus are smooth, black and very thin, usually around 2-3 mm, maximum 5 mm, on confluens tomentose and reaching at least the double size.
P. melaleucus grows with conifers, P. confluens with hardwoods. Mixed habitat means trouble ;-)

confluens: http://www.mycobank.org/MycoTaxo.aspx?Link=T&Rec=302826
melaleucus: http://www.mycobank.org/MycoTaxo.aspx?Link=T&Rec=414466

It is all the same to me…
By: Douglas Smith (douglas)
2009-01-28 11:36:46 CST (-0500)

I’m afraid I’ve been finding this one for a few years now, but haven’t gotten much help, or spent much time on it. This year I saved these, and looked at some Phellodon info, but it seemed to be for Europe mostly, and not sure how well it applies to here. I just figure it would be good for me to try and break out to some of these other genera when I can get the chance… Is there some quick microscopic detail to look for that might make the id?

Grey and not very zonate
By: Irene Andersson (irenea)
2009-01-28 06:46:12 CST (-0500)

Doug, what do you think about Phellodon confluens as an option?
These are difficult species, I can only say for sure it’s not tomentosus. It has a brown, zonate stem (and flesh) and more brown and zonate cap.