Collection location: Albion, Mendocino Co., California, USA [Click for map]
Ok, I had to toss these out there. I found quite a few of these in a couple places. They got to largish size, stipe 10-15 cm long, caps 5-10 cm wide, so they aren’t quite little brown jobs. Some people dismissed them as Inocybe, other people didn’t think so. And in the end they kinda got forgotten. But I wanted to put them out there, since at least for this year they were a rare mushroom, so maybe someone knows them off the cuff.
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These were found as part of a large foray, where we ended up with 140-150 species id’ed. At the time I found a bunch of these in this mixed d. fir and redwood area. But later after the weekend was over, I realized I only had the photo, and no real idea what they were.
But you mention the yellow cystidia. I remember as part of the last mycoblitz at Pt. Reyes, there was a bunch of Inocybes this guy was taking notes on, and I looked into his scope, and the Inocybe there had lots of bright yellow pleurocystidia. So, some Inocybe with bright yellow cystidia has been seen in CA at least.
Also there is John Brown for the past couple years has been collecting Inocybes and taking notes, and putting them in the herbarium at SFSU. I could ask him about others with yellow cystidia if you are interested.
First… please make a voucher collection in the future, note smell, and potential mycorrhizal plant partners. If you had a voucher collection, I. olympiana would be pretty easy to identify due to the numerous bright yellow cystidia on the gills when viewed under a microscope. Occurs with conifers in the Pacific NW; it’s sister species is I. subochracea, which occurs in eastern hardwood or mixed forests. Inocybe olympiana can get rather large for Inocybe, as you observed. Based on my knowledge it’s not well characterized yet from California, but Nishida might have more information.