Observation 7554: Hygrophorus Fr.

When: 2008-04-24

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

Who: Douglas Smith (douglas)

Specimen available

These were found by Herman Brown and sent to me for scope work.

In discussions on the BAMS (www.bayareamushrooms.org) mailing list, there were a number of spring fungi found by Herman Brown from the Greenville, CA area. One of these was a grey fleshy hygrophorus, and there was a discussion about it being either H. marzuolus or H. camarophyllus. I had seen grey guys id’ed from the Yuba pass area in the spring before, and the difference I was told in the id at the time was that H. marzuolus smells like mouse cages, and H. camarophyllus is only fungal smelling.

Dimi went on to point out that H. marzuolus is a European species really, rare in the US, and the lit. from Europe doesn’t mention the mouse cage odor.

So, as a weird guy, I thought I would just add some micro-details and create at least one “good” observation of this thing, to build on here. Herman went back up the hill, and got another one, and dried it and sent it to me, and I put it under the scope.

The ‘shroom is shown in the first two shots, by Herman Brown. It is grey, fleshy, whitish to off-white stipe and gills. The cap is kinda viscid, and he tells me there was no odor of mouse cage, only a shroomy odor. Dried it didn’t smell like anything.

The first micro-shot is of a gill section in Congo Red at 100×. This displays the divergent gill trama which is particular to many species of the Hygrophorus section of the genus Hygrophorus.

The second micro-shot is of the basidia attached to the gill trama at 400x in Congo Red. Here the basidia are shown to be long and thin, along with the divergent trama, this is def. now a Hygrophorus.

The third micro-shot is of the cap surface in radial section at 400x in water. The pileipellis is an ixocutis, with radially aligned hyphae in a gelatin layer. This is a fairly thin layer, on a hypodermium of interwoven hyphae.

The forth micro-shot is of the basidia with some spores attached at 1000x in congo red. Here this shows a 4-spored basidia, with spores attached to long sterigmata.

So, now what to do with this. Using three sources, (1) “Spring Mushrooms of the Sierras” D. Desjardin, (2) “Hygrophorus of CA” D. Largent, and (3) “N. American Hygrophorus” L. R. Hessler and A. H. Smith, I get – nowhere…

Looking at features, noting the sources:

No mousy odor (1): H. camarophyllus
Viscid cap (1,2,3): H. marzuolus
Hypodermium of interwoven “puzzle-like” hyphae (2): H. camarophyllus
Long sterigmata (2): H. marzuolus

Largent actually goes on to say that H. camarophyllus lacks any sterigmata (I’m not sure how a basidia produces spores without this, but I can’t find another species of Hygrophorus that I have a sample of, with the same claim, I was hoping to compare.). Hessler and Smith state that the hypodermium is of radial aligned hyphae, not the “puzzle-like” hyphae that Largent notes.

One thing, is that the whole thing between these species comes from very few samples. Largent bases the whole thing on one each, and A. H. Smith kinda started with whole thing, by finding one in a snow bank in Idaho, and calling that one H. marzuolus, and its gone on from there. H. camarophyllus seems to be a fairly common grey guy from the east, but uncertain how rare from here. Largent makes a note of the odor, and that note I believe has been used over the years for the Spring fungi class.

So, there it is, one found, and here are some observations, and toss a coin, it is 50-50 from features, one or the other. To keep going, it would be good to get someone to observe and post some H. camarophyllus from back east. And anyone that want to add some European sources to compare to this observation feel free.


Copyright © 2008 Herman Brown
Copyright © 2008 Herman Brown

Proposed Names

86% (1)
Based on microscopic features: Hyaline ellipsiod spores, long thin basidia, divergent gill trama.

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

= Observer’s choice
= Current consensus


Add Comment
No one has commented yet.