Observation 22201: Galerina sphagnorum (Pers.) Kühner

When: 2009-06-05

Collection location: Edgewood Blue, Wells Gray region, British Columbia, Canada [Click for map]

Who: Jason Hollinger (jason)

Specimen available

Growing scattered in sphagnum at edge of pond. Pileipellis a cutis of some sort. Couldn’t find any pleurocystidia. Scurfy bits on top of stem suggest caulocystidia. Cap hygrophanous. Clamp connections present. Gills somewhat decurrent. Spore print medium brown. Spores ellipsoid to citriform, smooth, no germ pore, with a knob at point of attachment, about 10 × 6.7 µm (N=8).

Further observation: cheilocystidia abundant (especially near stipe apex), smooth but somewhat capitate. Spores not collapsing in strong KOH. Are they smooth or not? The edge looks perfectly smooth (the photos are bit blurrier than the real deal). There is texturing/mottling inside — is this a sign of faintly textured surface?


spores at 1000x in water
spores in KOH at 1000x
cheilocystidia in KOH at 1000x

Proposed Names

-47% (3)
Based on microscopic features
53% (5)
Recognized by sight
73% (3)
Recognized by sight
Used references
Based on microscopic features

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

Eye3 = Observer’s choice
Eyes3 = Current consensus


Add Comment
Ah, good, more data
By: Douglas Smith (douglas)
2009-06-17 14:17:57 CDT (-0500)

Ok, thanks for the extra data, these are dextrinoid. Interesting that G. allospora is not, who knows, that is just the way it is.

For the caulocystidia, don’t try for a good section. You can take a look at some of my Galerina, and Conocybe obs. where I post caulocystidia photos. I just take a tiny part of the surface of the stipe, and mount it in KOH and then squash it hard. That will separate the cells, and somewhere in the there some of the surface cells will be separated to show the cystidia. You don’t have to use KOH, you could stain with Congo Red perhaps before the KOH, but I want to compare spores in KOH to Meltzer’s to check for the dextrinoid reaction, so I don’t use the Congo Red. But Congo Red will bring out the cell walls for the clear cystidia, but you can find them well enough without.

Thank you for your help, Andrew and Douglas
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2009-06-17 14:04:28 CDT (-0500)

Spores are definitely dextrinoid (I borrowed a few drops of Melzer’s).

Definitely no pleurocystidia (I did several more sections of the lamellae, this time getting a few good ones).

Caulocystidia continue to be questionable. I just can’t figure out how to get a clean radial section of a stipe that tiny…

Galerina sphagnorum looks good to me.
By: Douglas Smith (douglas)
2009-06-17 04:15:08 CDT (-0500)

I agree that these are not G. paludosa, plus that species has roughened spores, and it would be easy to see them as ornamented. The spores don’t look right for G. allospora, which are also more lengthened and narrow.

I’d still like to know if the spores here are dextrinoid. For the most part the species in section Mycenopsis have dextrinoid spores, except when I looked at G. allospora, the spores were not dextrinoid, although in G. paludosa the spores were. I’d be interested in getting more info on this, since this detail doesn’t seem to be recorded for this species.

As for Smith and Singer, I think most of the sections Calyptrata and Mycenopsis are kinda messed up, and I think these sections should be combined. I find the only way to make sense of things there, is to put a red star next to the species where only one or two specimens were studied, and then pretty much ignore them in the id. Then only go back to them if there is some significant feature that doesn’t agree with what you see. This simplifies most of the sections to just a few significant species.

This is one of those species I hope to find now that I am moving to Switzerland. I have to start looking around for places with Sphagnum now, so I can be ready for the fall.

Oh, and btw – the photo of these in Smith and Singer looks very good for this obs., with the nice peaked umbo, and the broken white patches on the stipe. And the drawing of the cystidia for G. sphagnorum in Smith and Singer matches what you show here fairly well.

tentative determination
By: Andreas Gminder (mollisia)
2009-06-17 01:48:37 CDT (-0500)

So my personal conclusion from these determination essay is, that you have Galerina sphagnorum here. The description in Funga Nordica fits pretty well in my eyes:
- spore size (8)9-11,5(12,5) x 5-6(7) µm
- spores amygdaliform to citriform, practically smooth, marbled, with a faint plage (the plage would be to verifiy, but all species in this group have one)
- cheilocystidia lageniform to lageniform-capitate, (22)30-40(68) x 4-9(13) x 3-4 × 3-7(12,5) µm (those measurement mean length x width in basal part x width of the neck x width of the top – to verify …)
- veil evanescent
- cap expanding to convex-umbonate, striate almost to center, ochre to yellow brown at margin, at center more red brown
- common in hemiboreal to boreal zone

That’s why I propose the name Galerina sphagnorum for your collection

determination essay (2)
By: Andreas Gminder (mollisia)
2009-06-17 01:41:21 CDT (-0500)

Using SMITH & SINGER gives the following result. As the spores are not calyptrate and there is no coloured and fibrillous veil we have to decide in couple 4a/4b wether there are pleurocystidia or not. If NO we come to section Mycenopsis (the other section has spores with germ pore), if YES we come to section Pseudotubaria (the other sections are all with ornamented spores). We have to go both ways, as we don’t know the situation about the pleurocystidia.

Section Mycenopsis:
shape of cheilocystidia not tibiiform (that means not with a headlike thickening on a narrow and long neck < 3 µm width) leads to subsection Myceopsidae. First question there is wether growing in Sphagnum or not and as it does this already determines the species as belonging in stirps sphagnorum. There the question is about the veil, which is not well developed, what rules out G. paludosa. Having reached this point in the key, it gets unusable, because the spore dimensions that are asked now are all not in the range of our collection here. But even within the key itself there is a mistake, as the question couple 63a/63b reads “spores 9-12 × 4,5-6 µm” against “spores 8-10 × 4-5 µm”. Clear enough these are all too narrow. But unfortunately, when one goes the direction of the small spored species, later in the key there are keyed out some species with spores 9-12 µm length again! E.g. G. sphagnorum with broad cheilocystidia or G. cainii with narrow cheilocystidia. G. sphagnorum should have spores of appr. 9-12 × 5-6(7) µm, acc. to european authors. So this part of the key in SMITH & SINGER contains contradictory mistakes and is not usable!
Trying the other possibility – with pleurocystidia – we have only two species, which are distinguished by spore width: 4-5 µm width for G. clavus and 5-7(8) µm width for G. fuegiana. I don’t know this later, but have strong doubts about identification of your collections with this species. One should look in the text of SMITH & SINGER whether this species is associated with Sphagnum or not, I’m pretty sure that it is not.
So with SMITH % SINGER we end in the stirps sphagnorum, we we are unable to trace our species because of unclear key characters.

determination essay
By: Andreas Gminder (mollisia)
2009-06-17 01:11:35 CDT (-0500)

using the few data given we can try a determination, e.g. with Funga Nordica. The spores are smooth (or nearly so) and without germ pore, apparantely not calyptrate and appr. 10-11 × 6-7 µm (measured from the screen and as already indicated in description), the cheilocystidia are utriform to slightly clavate. We don’t know whether there are pleurocystidia, but the smooth-spored species with pleuros are all not in Sphagnum therefore this character is not too important in this case. The same is true for the dextrinoidity of the spores. The oil content inside is of no significance, by the way, but sometimes leads the observer to think erroneousely that the spores are ornamented.
First questions in the key are whether the stipe is pruinose on whole length (no), whether the spores are calyptrate (no) and the spore size in av. > 10 µm or < 10 µm. We have to continue with the big spored. Next questions concerns the shape of the cystidia, which is “distinctly lageniform to lageniform-capitate” (they use the term lageniform for what I would call already utriform in some cases). We can rule out G. allospora/luteofulva on account of this one having spores with a band-like thickening near the apex. Next two questions in the key concern the habitat, and as we are at the species which grow with Sphagnum mosses we result in the last couple → Galerina paludosa and Galerina sphagnorum. I know both species quite well and am sure that it is not G. paludosa, which has a well developed veil, resting in girdles along the stipe eben in mature exemplaires. G. sphagnorum is a very good idea macroscopically, the little umbo is quite typical. The cystidia are fairly o.k., but I know them somewhat slender then it looks like in your foto. The spores should have a quite visible plage and should be faintly marbeled, but may be this would be better to see when mounting in Cotton Blue (tender heating or mounting for an hour or so is preferable).
Nevertheless, if I would have found it here in Europe, I would name my specimen Galerina sphagnorum.

By: Andreas Gminder (mollisia)
2009-06-17 00:46:40 CDT (-0500)

yes, it is Sphagnum sp. and it is also written in the description above that it grew in connection with Sphagnum

By: Douglas Smith (douglas)
2009-06-17 00:00:12 CDT (-0500)

So, the spores are fairly smooth, and the cheilocystidia are not strongly capitate. Ok, you are out of Tubariopsis, and into Myceniopsis here. It would be nice to see if the spores are dextrinoid, most of Myceniopsis are (like 95%), where other related genera (like Tubaria) are not dextrinoid. But those are nice regular cheilocystidia, I think these are Galerina. Do you know what kind of moss that was? Is that Sphagnum? Unfortunately I don’t have much experience with Sphagnum, you don’t come across it it California.

By: Andreas Gminder (mollisia)
2009-06-16 17:04:09 CDT (-0500)

I would name them utriform, but not capitate. May be slightly enlarged at the apex, but not really capitate

Thanks Douglas!
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2009-06-16 16:04:50 CDT (-0500)

I’ve added better photo of spores (in strong KOH) and cheilocystidia. (My skill at finding caulocystidia is still a work in progress.) They are capitate. Uniform? Well, I threw a bunch in a montage, you can decide for yourself…

Yeah, he is a little vague about Galerina…
By: Douglas Smith (douglas)
2009-06-16 03:23:00 CDT (-0500)

Well, that ref. is not very good for Galerina is it, fairly vague. I love the list of 5 characters of Galerina. And worse than that, it is just wrong for the all the various species of Galerina that have been described. There are Galerina with smooth spores, there are species ornamented with out a plage, many with a plage, and there are some which are smooth with a plage, just to make it interesting.

And the collapsing spores, there are a few Galerina described as having collapsing spores, and most of the Tubaria I’ve seen don’t have collapsing spores, so don’t get too worked up over that.

So, unfortunately in detail, the answer is that there are probably species out there, where it is still uncertain if you should put it in one or the other. But there are general differences.

For a Tubaria example take a look at obs. 7215. I find that most Tubaria the cheilocystidia are random and irregular, and that the spores are smooth and strictly ellipsoid, and “thin walled”.

What you have here, this does look more like Galerina, and in the section Tubariopsis, which suggests these are fairly similar to Tubaria. Take a look at obs. 7217 as an example. The spores are somewhat thicker walled, they are not strictly ellipsoid. If you look closely at 1000x you can see that the spores are lightly warted, and in this case, they do not have a plage. Carefully check again to see if the spores are smooth or not. They might be smooth, so don’t try to fool yourself.

Take a look at the cheilocystidia, and see if they are capitate, and fariyl regular (about 70% are all the same). It would also be good to see if the caulocystidia near the apex are captiate also.

Nice to see someone else put a Galerina under the scope…

I should clearly stick to lichens…
By: Jason Hollinger (jason)
2009-06-15 18:20:00 CDT (-0500)

But I’m stubborn. Can someone help me out here? I’m having some trouble - looking at the brief macro and micro-descriptions of the two genera in question (Galerina and Tubaria) in How to Identify Mushrooms to Genus, Vol. VI — deciding exactly what the difference is between the two.

The spores of Tubaria are smooth and thin-walled, collapsing in KOH, while Galerina spores are usually textured, strong-walled, with a plage.

That’s about it.

Both can be hygrophanous, both can grow in moss, both have same spore deposit, both can have decurrent gills, both have cheilocystidia, etc. etc.

What is this plage? How concentrated does the KOH need to be to observe this collapsing? Is the striate cap a sure sign of Galerina not Tubaria?

Created: 2009-06-15 17:01:40 CDT (-0500)
Last modified: 2009-06-15 17:01:40 CDT (-0500)
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