Observation 19987: Melanoleuca Pat.

When: 2009-04-05

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

Who: Richard Sullivan (enchplant)

No specimen available

Growing under redwoods, in clusters.

[admin – Sat Aug 14 01:58:47 +0000 2010]: Changed location name from ‘Booneville, Mendocino Co., California, USA’ to ‘Booneville, California, USA’


1000X . Spores 5-7µm x 8-9µm. Pink color is stain.
Here are the spores in Melzer’s reagent. I see warts. So we are talking about Melanoleuca . I didn’t find any cystidia of any note.
Here are the spores in Melzer’s reagent. I see warts. So we are talking about Melanoleuca . I didn’t find any cystidia of any note.
Here are the spores in Melzer’s reagent. I see warts. So we are talking about Melanoleuca . I didn’t find any cystidia of any note.

Proposed Names

-10% (3)
Recognized by sight: White spore print
69% (6)
Recognized by sight: must be checked if there are any cheilo- or pleurocystidia. If not, it belongs to the Melanoleuca melaleuca group with at least a handful of species.

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

= Observer’s choice
= Current consensus


Add Comment
By: Irene Andersson (irenea)
2009-04-08 16:47:58 CDT (-0400)

M. cognata is very variable. The cap colour changes from dark brown to very pale beige at maturity, but I don’t know if there are more than one species that large and fleshy, with gills turning yellow/orange..?

By: Johannes Harnisch (Johann Harnisch)
2009-04-08 14:48:54 CDT (-0400)

M. cognata a very variable species or more likely there are many that go under that name?

The keys is one of the problems
By: Irene Andersson (irenea)
2009-04-08 03:51:36 CDT (-0400)

One reason why it’s such a mess, is the ridiculous construction of the keys, at least the ones I have seen.
First, the cystidia, where you 1. have to decide if there are any, 2. and if you find some, are they in majority septate or in majority not septate..? 3. their shape (they can be quite variable in one single specimen).
Then, the average spore size, divided by longer than 8 microns or shorter than 8 microns. Be confident that they are on average 8 microns..

there’s another problem
By: Gerhard Koller (Gerhard)
2009-04-07 05:38:24 CDT (-0400)

concerning the cystidia…in some collections they are so few that one might overlook them which caused extra mess in the past…I usually avoid Melanoleuca for there is no conclusive literature available at the moment - still.
One book you can rely on in part is the preliminary approach of Boekhout from the Netherlands but this is just for part of Europe I am afraid of … and it still solves not all problems connected with this genus.

Don’t remove melaleuca yet
By: Irene Andersson (irenea)
2009-04-07 04:16:38 CDT (-0400)

I think Melanoleuca melaleuca (in a wide sense) is the closest to species you can get for the time being. Other names, like graminicola and stridula, could just as well be synonyms – at least by some interpretations and descriptions that show no difference at all (melaleuca is the oldest name then).

Nothing is final until this complex of species has passed DNA-tests and consensus is reached about what names to use.

Good luck.
By: Dimitar Bojantchev (dimitar)
2009-04-06 23:32:07 CDT (-0400)

Hi Richard,

the taxonomy of Melanoleuca is a mess. That’s true Worldwide, but it
is probably more true out West, as the Genus hasn’t been studied at
all. Yet, in some cases one can obtain an id. There are several
Melanoleucas without cystidia and some with small cystidia for which
you have to look carefully. I suspect that you have the one without
cystidia. Now, how it’s called is a different matter.

M. graminicola is one of those without cystidia. Depending who doews
the description, but melaleuca has also been interpreted by some to be
cystidia-less. According to one source I have, it ahs been renamed to
M. robertiana.

An important test, which you missed (and I used to miss for the first
2 years) is to see how the context discolors when sliced.

Anyway, good luck and sorry for the inconclusive response. I have a
pile of identified Melaleuca, which I will post at some point on my
site. And much more that I’m afraid to look at.

D. www.mushroomhobby.com
Wart spores in Melzer’s
By: Richard Sullivan (enchplant)
2009-04-06 20:45:52 CDT (-0400)

Thank you Gerhard and Irene. I looked at the spores in Melzer’s and yes there are lots of minute warts. I searched many gill edges trying to find the “harpoon like cystidia” that Arora mentions under M melaleuca. in MD p.169. Couldn’t find anything.

The spores are warty alright
By: Irene Andersson (irenea)
2009-04-06 08:26:41 CDT (-0400)

Perhaps the warts are more visible i Melzer’s reagent, but they are clearly seen here in outline – rather prominent actually.

I thought of Melanoleuca too
By: Gerhard Koller (Gerhard)
2009-04-06 05:07:34 CDT (-0400)

but I can’t see if the spores are warted or not …