When: 2009-02-02

Collection location: Prather, California, USA [Click for map]

Who: g.e.bewick

No specimen available

I have added some more pictures and some question as well.

I collected these specimens under an oak in Prather, CA. elevation approximately 2500ft. These are very large fungi. largest measuring up to nine inches. The pitures are two that are a little smaller pileus 6.5 inches. Here are my observations. Pileus Fibrilose, with different shades of brown most of the fungi present had depressed caps, one I found presumably younger was some what umbonate. It is included in the pictures Also the younger specimen had a tinge of violate around the outer edge. Lamallae appeared to be crowded emarginate and brown, except in the one specimen that appeared to be younger, They are violet on the outer one third decreasingly less vivid as you got closer to the stipe. Stipe on all are very large 1.5-2.5 inches depending on how large the specimen is. All Stipes are fibrillose 5-9 inches long. And for the most part brown. I have believe some of this coloring might be due to extreme amount of spore present. The Top of the Stipes on quite a few of the Fungi are the same violet as the younger speciment is. In the picture you can also see a large knob at the end of one. Spore color is light brown possibly ocher to cinnamon. And there was spore everywhere. Huge amounts. The taste of this mushroom was mild very mushroomy. In fact I would have to say it was great. If I knew it was safe I would of ate the whole darn thing. I would also like to add there were at least five other kinds of gilled fungi growing under this tree. I believe this could be some kind of cortinarius, but my skills are limited. Any help with this identification would be appreciated.

I have another question. I understand the process of testing probable edibles in the wild in survival situations. Would that process apply to mushrooms as well. The last step you take (if it passes two prior tests) before being considering something is safe to eat is taking a small bite and waiting 8 hours after ingestion. If no ill efects then it is probably safe to eat. Would this process work with mushrooms as well?

Someone suggested ponderosus, but the stipe does not seem thick enough.

Dimitar, is the Korn mushroom ponderosus as well. If not, do we have a scientific name for it?

Once again thank you for all your help!


[admin – Sat Aug 14 02:04:55 +0000 2010]: Changed location name from ‘Prather, Ca’ to ‘Prather, California, USA’


I have added these pictures. I hope it helps.
I have added these pictures. I hope it helps.
I have added these pictures. I hope it helps.
I have added these pictures. I hope it helps.

Proposed Names

-20% (3)
Recognized by sight
94% (4)
Recognized by sight
25% (1)
Recognized by sight

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

= Observer’s choice
= Current consensus


Add Comment
as to your “how do I ID it as a cort” question…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2009-02-04 16:22:54 CST (-0500)

obviously you have some idea, since that was your first guess.

Corts, big or small, all share several important characters: a cobwebby partial veil, and rusty brown spores, plus growth on the ground (they are mycorrhizal with trees), not on wood.

Altho the veil can disappear in age, remnants can usually be found on the stipe, where those rusty brown spores will also collect. It is important to collect all ages of the species that you hope to identify, since many corts will look alike in age, which is one of the reasons why so few taxonomists, other than our hardworking Dimi, will venture a guess as to names.

Some have viscous caps, with dripping slime coats, some are dry, some are yellow or brown or purple, but most if not all share the cortina (a fancy name for a cobwebby partial veil) and spore color. The notable exception is the Gypsy mushroom, formerly Rozites caperata and now back in Cortinarius as caperatus, which has a membranous partial veil. And THAT cort is a good edible.
Check MO for photo examples.

Other lookalike mushrooms(also not edible) with cobwebby veils found on the ground are inocybes and some hebelomas, but the spore color is usually more brown than rusty.

I thought that the observer did a pretty good job overall…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2009-02-04 12:46:03 CST (-0500)

thorough description, a range of photos, etc. he’s not a mycologist, but apparently a keen observer. and once again, a suggestion by someone whose abilities I respect caused me to overlook aspects that “didn’t fit”.

even this “small” photo shows a cap surface unlike any ponderosus that i’ve ever seen, not to mention that purplish cast on the upper stipe.

but these debates are healthy and illuminating for all, as long as somebody doesn’t throw this “wrongly IDed from a photo” mushroom in their cook pot! and BTW, the deadly corts can have a TWO WEEK latency period before the symptoms of kidney failure show up, so probably best NOT to experiment.

with all these fine myco-minds conjecturing madly…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2009-02-04 12:37:18 CST (-0500)

I hope that you took away the fact that eating ANY mushroom from a photo ID is a baaaaaad idea. and taste is a lousy way to determine edibility. Just ask some of those folks who made a delicious meal of Amanita phalloides…

True. I didn’t see the “bluish” part buried in the text…
By: Dimitar Bojantchev (dimitar)
2009-02-04 04:49:50 CST (-0500)

True. I didn’t that part of the text. The tiny pick of a large dark
Cort reminded me of the older fruitbodies of C. ponderosus, which
litter that part of the Sierra. Like here…


But in a private communication to Arora, who noticed the
discrepancies, I wrote the following regarding this observation:.

Ok, I read finally what the guys is saying — hate to read so much
small text on a small photo — you’re right, with the bluish tinge on
the margin could place in the Varieolores group — C. balteatus
(conifers), or even better, B. balteatocumatilis (broadleaved).
I’ve seen plenty of C. variecolor in Idaho that has that distinct bluish
tinge on the margin too. Here the broadleaved vs. conifer habitat
is an important delimiter.

But before I say a thing, let the guy produce a better photo — it
could easily be in the Caerulescentes group — the bluish upper stipe
speaks in that direction — they start all blue and turn brown and can
go pretty large too. For these a brown KOH reaction is a good
indicator, while for the Variecolores group, they go yellow,
radiatingly so.


P.S. Also, the author of the observation contacted me and he will send me a piece of the mushroom, so we can have a more educated guess, but if it is one of the large blue Corts in Calfiornia, those are currently being charted.

Not C. ponderosus
By: Mycoamaranthus
2009-02-04 03:27:41 CST (-0500)

Violet shades as noted are not typical for C. ponderosus but are for several other large corts.

Right. Couldn’t be Paxillus.
By: Dimitar Bojantchev (dimitar)
2009-02-03 18:47:44 CST (-0500)

Good points, it couldn’t be Paxillus. Arora made me second guess
myself on the Cortinarius species, so I even jumped the Genera :-)
Anyway, I didn’t see the spore color — this is very Cort-like.

Otherwise, P. involutus does stain dark brown, but the stature is more
squat, indeed. Of course, if we get a piece of gill the discussion
will go to sleep pretty quick…

Not Paxillus
By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2009-02-03 17:00:27 CST (-0500)

The tip-off should be the length of the stipe. P. involutus is rather squat – I’ve never seen the stipe anywhere near 9 cm, much less 9 inches. More like 3 – 6 cm as MykoWeb shows. Once this is noticed, there are many other confirming features: P. involutus should have a more yellow-brown cap, the lamellae should be yellower and decurrent, the spores should be lighter than the photo showing spore deposit here, etc…

Paxillus involutus is a distinct possibility too…
By: Dimitar Bojantchev (dimitar)
2009-02-03 16:45:38 CST (-0500)

The inrolled, ribbed margin suggests Paxillus involutus too. As well as the light brown spore print. Really need to see a better/larger photo.

Not only the buttons. It’s called the “korn mushroom”
By: Dimitar Bojantchev (dimitar)
2009-02-03 13:36:10 CST (-0500)

Mature fruitbodies are being consumed too. They call it the “Korn mushroom” — spoke to some Laotians recently about that — they had them in all sizes.


the young buttons of this species are eaten as edibles by some folks from SE Asia…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2009-02-03 10:48:58 CST (-0500)

or at least, are used to make a stock (they are quite hard, and maybe indigestible).

HOWEVER, spend several seasons collecting and confirming your IDs before eating any cort, since there are so darned many of them, most unnamed and a few (albeit rare) deadlies in the mix.

C. ponderosus probably. Can you make the picture 10x bigger?
By: Dimitar Bojantchev (dimitar)
2009-02-03 10:00:16 CST (-0500)

These are most likely some late fruiting/remnants of Cortinarius ponderosus. I’ve seen them up to early Jan and they probably persist for awhile. The size you mention precludes almost anything else, plus they’re quite common in that part of the mountain.

Very nice description!!

But is there a reason for the photographs not being anywhere near a “useful size” for analysis? Are you concerned about bandwith? How do you expect anyone to make any sense of such tiny photos?

By: AmatoxinApocalypse (AmatoxinApocalypse)
2009-02-03 09:23:24 CST (-0500)

yeah looks like a cortinarius species but im not sure what sp.