Observation 8927: Macowanites americanus Singer & A.H. Sm.

When: 2007-10-04

Collection location: Cape Lookout State Park, Tillamook Co., Oregon, USA [Click for map]

Who: Daniel B. Wheeler (Tuberale)

No specimen available

Specimen shown is one reason why this species is so seldom reported: it is often predated on by small animals and slugs. This is among the most common Macowanites species found in the United States, although most people don’t recognize it. It most frequently looks like a tiny button mushroom barely erumpent from a gravel pathway or on the sides of roads or in sandy areas; rarely in humus. This particular species can be identified in part by its aroma: sweet with a hint of metallic aftertaste in the back of the throat. Most often associated with Sitka spruce in my experience. Stipe is tiny and centralized. Gills are complex and grown together in cross-section, very similar in appearance to Martellia vesiculosa, which is frequently found nearby. Martellia has a yellowish gleba with a basal tuft of sterile tissue; Macowanites always has a rudimentary stem. I have been collecting this species at the same location for the past 20 years. It is an old friend, even though this photo would not be descriptive to anyone else I’m afraid. I have often seen ground squirrels, chipmunks, and squirrels either eating on larger specimens, or caching them for later consumption. The aroma is attractive to me, and I am tempted to sample it myself. Macowanites is related to Russula mushrooms. In this photo, an animal has just sampled the tiny mushroom/truffle, exposing the gleba. There is some question among truffle experts whether this is a mushroom becoming a truffle, or a truffle becoming a mushroom. It is rarely found hypogeously because, in part, most people would discard it as a button mushroom.

Species Lists



Proposed Names

86% (1)
Eye3 Eyes3
Recognized by sight
Used references: Positive identification by Dr. James Trappe, scientific advisor for the North American Truffling Society
80% (1)
Used references: Mycotaxon 81: 204 (2002)

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Eye3 = Observer’s choice
Eyes3 = Current consensus


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Created: 2008-08-11 10:31:37 EDT (-0400)
Last modified: 2012-02-01 02:08:48 EST (-0500)
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