Collection location: Cabin Cove, Haywood Co., North Carolina, USA [Click for map]
avg-sized mushroom, single, on buried hardwood sticks in moist hardwood debris, mild fungal odor
ST: curved, 45×7-8mm, hollow/stuffed, staining dk reddish-brown near base when cut in half, shiny fibrous striate, tough fibrous but breaking, d white fuzzy at base
CAP: ~50mm, ~plane, somewhat contorted, viscid, pale brown to reddish cast, shiny, weakly appressed dark fine fibrillose, sl umbo
FLESH: to 5mm thick, pale buff, fragile
VEIL: none visible although a fragile fibrous veil would be consistent with the fibrils I see on the stalk
GILL: pale brownish, 4-5mm deep, clean, unbranched, adnate
SPORE: print yellowish brown (not at all dark)
Seems it must be either Cortinarius or Pholiota, due to viscid cap, non-dark brown spores, and veil that doesn’t leave any annulus (seems no veil isn’t even an option). However it’s too indistinctive for Demystified to be of any use. Since it is literally attached to a bit of buried twig, it is surely a Pholiota.
I found A.H.Smith’s monograph of Pholiota on the web (at Illinois, I think), and exhaustively followed every branch that I couldn’t definitely rule out. Thankfully most species are distinctly yellow or yellowish, some are scaly, others aren’t viscid, still more leave rings, and a great deal of the leftovers were known only from one or two places. The end result was I could narrow it down to… a single species: P. lenta, which not only matches my limited observation, but is even common on the east coast as far south as SC. Hey, who knows, it could be… Not tremendously edifying, honestly.
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