Collection location: Albion, Mendocino Co., California, USA [Click for map]
Found in the grass, no moss present. Because they were in grass, I thought that perhaps they were not G. autumnalis, but were in the same group (sensu. Smith and Singer). They have the macroscopic look of G. autumnalis, with the fiberous stipes that darken from the base, a fibrous zone form the veil, the “bell-shaped” cap, which are not umbonate, flat on top, with caps that curl inwards, and have margins that point back towards the stipe when young, and hygrophanous caps that are slightly striate at the margin.
But G. autunmalis should be found on wood, and these are in grass. But when I went through the micro-details, they are just G. autumnalis (even though I tried to make them something else). The grassy area was at the edge of a conifer forest, and near by a fallen log, I would have to assume the ground contained quite a bit of woody debris. G. autumnalis is usually found on well rotten wood, not freshly fallen stuff, and the ground under the grass must have a lot of well rotten stuff.
The first micro-shot is of the cheilocystidia, at 400x in Meltzer’s. The cystidia are the classic autumnalis shape, sub-pointed, and some club-shaped, but not capitate.
The second micro-shot is of a radial section of the cap, displaying the cap surface. There is a gelatin layer on the surface, with the hyphae loosely embedded. The hyphae are hyline, and not thickened. These features really make it G. autumnalis sensu. Smith and Singer. If there was no gelatin layer, it would be in the G. marginata group, and if the hyphae were colored it would be G. unicolor (which for some reason is the only species they described which can or can not display a gelatin layer).
The last micro shot displays the spores trapped in the fibrous veil tissue. The spores are clearly roughened, as others in the autumnalis group, compared to other Galerinas.
Ok, after all that, note on DNA studies. There were studies done a few years ago, that state G. autumnalis, G. marginata, G. unicolor, and others, are all the same species. In the Smith and Singer monograph of NA Galerina, these species are really separated by the qualities of the pileus surface. The spore sizes, roughness, veil features, and cystidia for these species named in the DNA studies are comparable. This suggests that the gelatin layer, and hyphae thickness and color of the pileipellis are just species variations. That study suggests that all these species be named G. marginata, since that is the oldest name.
I’m going with G. autumnalis for now, until I can find more comparible samples which only differ in qualities of the cap surface.
These were dried and placed in the SFSU herbarium for further study in the future.