Observation 30007: Cortinarius subgenus Phlegmacium (Fr.) Fr.

When: 2009-12-09

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

Who: Richard Sullivan (enchplant)

No specimen available

Growing in a garden under a live oak ( quercus agrifolia). Heavy clay soil.


Red marks are from 5% KOH soultion
Spores and basidioles at 1000x
Pileipellis at 400X, mixtocutis
Pileipellis at 400X, mixtocutis
Pileipellis at 400x, mixtocutis
Spores from spore print ( i.e. mature) at 1000x
Spores from spore print ( i.e. mature) at 1000x

Proposed Names

91% (2)
Eye3 Eyes3
Recognized by sight: Olive yellow gills, Yellow cap fades to buff color. Cap slimy when wet. Largest specimen was 11cms across,
Used references: Mushroomhobby.com No good match
Based on microscopic features: Spore shots to follow
Based on chemical features: Vivid reaction with 5% KOH, Cap and context turned rich oxblood red color. Taste was mild , odor not particularly prominent at first but as the cap dried it smelled, to me , like chocolate

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

Eye3 = Observer’s choice
Eyes3 = Current consensus


Add Comment
Well, use your own judgment
By: Dimitar Bojantchev (dimitar)
2009-12-10 17:26:11 CET (+0100)

Conflicting advice and opinions are all over mycology. When presented with such make your own determination and use your own judgment. Evaluate the experience of the people offering advice and match against your own observations.

People’s perception of odor differs, but that’s not an excuse not to be careful about noting it, but without getting overly aggressive with it. Bottom line is this – you make the decisions on your collections and if in doubt state so on the notes, like you did.

Trust me, I struggle with matching my own notes on odor frequently and as Ron mentioned in another observation – they change with the onset od decay, or other factors. Nothing in Nature is made perfectly square to fit our square brains…

Do you know what the Cort spores smell like? Well, I have so many collections that I know by now..

Very best — hey good job Richard — we’re struggling together along the same trajectory…

Conflicting advice.
By: Richard Sullivan (enchplant)
2009-12-10 17:08:25 CET (+0100)

In the past you have admonished me for not noting an odor. Why just yesterday you commented to Alan about an observation having an odor of grapes. I have 5 wax bags here with 5 different corts.
Albofragrans has a lovely fragrance. 3 smell of nothing but leaves and dirt. And this one has a distinctive odor. If I was blindfolded I could pick it out from the other 4. As to whether it is chocolate, well I agree, that is subjective. My wife said it smelled of bread. Oh well. Comments gratefully received. I’m learning a lot and that is what matters.

chocolate smells
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2009-12-10 17:01:01 CET (+0100)

I think that Hebeloma crustiliforme has a chocolate smell, at least to my nose.
And when you are collecting in frozen conditions as we have been in the last couple of days, it takes time for the mushroom to thaw a bit and odor be perceptable. Odors are so individual, and so subject to change, that they are often not a very good indication of anything other than personal bias or olfactory ability. Still, sometimes they are useful. May as well throw that info out there, and let the future reader of the description beware…and that is true for any description by just about anyone. The “old ham” smell for smithiana (again, personal bias and derived from an aging mushroom) is another one that is misused and seems to follow the ID of that common lepidella around like a well, bad smell.

Carried away a bit..
By: Dimitar Bojantchev (dimitar)
2009-12-10 15:53:16 CET (+0100)

Well, Richard, now under pressure to smell things, we can get a bit carried away. Plus the next day it almost doesn’t matter if you didn’t smell anything in the beginning.

Also, be mindful that not mentioning a feature is less destructive than mentioning a feature that is doubtful or not existing. Now nobody will ever match your collection unless it smells like chocolate, which I doubt it ever did. You should skip the chocolate odor, or just make a very tentative remark that on the next day it smelled slightly like it (which you id, I just saw). Or better wait until you can confirm that with another collection…

I will talk more about Cort odors at another time, but a great majority smell like leaves… raw earth. Some smell raphanoid, like Hebeloma. Some are fragrant (this is one case where it is critical to note!).

Odor: Chocolate!
By: Richard Sullivan (enchplant)
2009-12-10 14:49:15 CET (+0100)
Odor: Chocolate!
By: Richard Sullivan (enchplant)
2009-12-10 14:45:41 CET (+0100)

Okay so when I had taken the photos in the field, I sniffed them and found nothing. I cleaned them up a bit to take the KOH tests by rinsing the cap in plain water. Still no scent . I had let them dry a little and put them back in a wax bag. Later I went back to get a cap to do a spore print and noticed the top of the cap smelled clearly of CHOCOLATE!
Now I am as fond as the next guy of chocolate and I wondered if I had put them in the bag where I had my morning treat, but it seems not. I took them out of the bag overnight and they still smell of chocolate. Now if it only tasted like Sharfenberger 70% Cacao we’d be on to something!

Great job.
By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2009-12-10 07:58:44 CET (+0100)
Very nice!
By: Dimitar Bojantchev (dimitar)
2009-12-10 06:12:07 CET (+0100)

Nice observation!! Richard, this is an example of how it should be done. This is a familiar one too that aoppears to form a complex. There are some collections by Ron too. Sometime in February I will put a very large page that shows all of my collections, or material brought to me from thsi Fall.

Richard, just a minor point — to make your life easier, collect the spores on a slide for a few hours and then look at them. No need to show immature spores on the basidia, unless you’re just making an experiment…

nice documentation.
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2009-12-10 04:20:52 CET (+0100)

Created: 2009-12-09 23:21:28 CET (+0100)
Last modified: 2009-12-09 23:21:28 CET (+0100)
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