These were growing on wood chips in an area dominated by Live Oak.
Caps were up to 3.1 cm across and fragile.
The spores were blackish and quite large, ~ 14.2-17.0(17.9) X 6.9-8.9 microns, oblong to cylindrical, with a Q(ave.) = 1.99.
Cheilocystidia was ~ 50-64.0 X 12-17.5 microns narrowly utriform to almost cylindrical.
With the large spores and scaly caps, I thought there would be easy to track down. So far no luck in perusing the A. H. Smith tome.


Proposed Names

47% (4)
Recognized by sight
30% (2)
Recognized by sight: pink to wine-red tones, looks like the veil broke up strangely, maybe due to dry conditions
30% (2)
Recognized by sight: ditto, but with a different name. I think it also went by P. barleyae at some point

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

= Observer’s choice
= Current consensus


Add Comment
Cyst. shapes…
By: Douglas Smith (douglas)
2012-04-12 13:44:10 MDT (-0600)

Well, first, Ron, not sure how my distain for Congo red makes it hard to answer my questions? Which questions did I ask?

Anyway, looking over the Velinga chart of shapes, well, I would say that the lageniform there are fine, but have rather thin necks. Often cystidia are similar, but many have thicker necks then what is drawn there, I think these are still in the range of lageniform. And looking over many desc. it seems many would agree. Such that a slope-shouldered wine bottle, like for Pinot Noir in California, is also lageniform.

I had for P. bipellis with cystidia that are broadly lageniform. I’ve used broadly as having the whole of the cystidia thicker, the base and neck. In the Velinga chart, there broadly lageniform seems to be only for the base to be thicker. So, my use of broadly lageniform seems to match what she has there for narrowly utriform. Hard to place a line when you’ve crossed from one into the other…

Also, just looked this up:

utriform: Shaped like a leather bottle (wineskin). … Origin: L. Uter, a skin bag, + forma, form …

I’ve always thought of utriform to “fat” cystidia, so for me narrowly utriform doesn’t make that much sense, broadly lageniform sounds better. But maybe I am just wrong, and I should get over that.

But with the fact that you saw some pleurocystidia, I think P. conopilus is out, plus these would be weird P. conopilus… But if you didn’t see lots and lots of pleurocystidia I think P. bipellis is out too… they were really obvious there. Also I think your spore size is on the high side for P. bipellis, which doesn’t help either. Although people seem to find that a “weak” argument depending how each person decide to interpret or measure a spore “range”. (I’ve decided I hate the “range”, where did that start, and why has it stuck around? Siting something that resists interpretation in how it can be used.) But it does seem that spore size has farily important taxonomic significance in Psathyrella.

such an interesting Psath…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2012-04-10 11:29:43 MDT (-0600)

with that weird cap and the fact that the micro is not fitting neatly anywhere, maybe we should just agree that this is probably, at this point, an undescribed species?

Maybe someday some western mycologist will look a bit harder at this group. Save your material, Ron!

Added a couple more micro photos
By: Ron Pastorino (Ronpast)
2012-04-10 11:15:51 MDT (-0600)

of the gill cystidia. Many of them tend to be almost oblong, which seems to further distance themselves from P. conopilus.

Doug, your disdain for Congo red makes it difficult
By: Ron Pastorino (Ronpast)
2012-04-10 10:18:46 MDT (-0600)

for this mortal with average eyesight to completely address your questions.
First of all, we may be calling the shape of the Cystidia by different names. I’m using as a reference Else Vellinga’s excellent Glossary to call my Cystidia “narrowly utriform”. From what I can see on the micro photo of your P. conopilus gill edge, they look pretty similar but you called “lageniform”. Seems like the necks are too broad and short for that term??
I didn’t save all my spore measurements but it looks like my average was about 16 X 8 microns with quite a bit of variation.
I feel fairly confident that these were lacking very numerous pleurocystidia but not so confident of the lack of setae.
I’ll be working on my microscopy hopefully this June at the SFSU Camp.

Well, added some obs. to the discussion.
By: Douglas Smith (douglas)
2012-04-08 21:39:23 MDT (-0600)

Ok, just added some obs. with micro. shots for comparison. There are here:

So, here are my obs. of P. bipellis and P. conopilus for comparison. The pleurocystidia I found to very clear, that they are very, very numerous in P. bipellis, and not there in P. conopilus. The cystidia are larger and more robust in P. bipellis, than in P. conopilus also. And the setae on the cap surface is a nice feature in P. conopilus.

Also, Ron, what are the ave. spore size you find? You have a rather large range here, which doesn’t tell us that much. I didn’t see such a large range in my obs, and the ave. sizes were quite different, with P. conopilus having sig. larger spores.

Anyway, there is some more info to use in comparison. If the pleurocystidia weren’t very obvious here, then not sure these are P. bipellis.

Re: the veil
By: Byrain
2012-04-06 15:53:11 MDT (-0600)

I agree that the veil is variable within a single patch and easily lost due to environmental conditions and/or handling. I think this is why its best to rely on multiple specimens?

In which this case, if this is a veil or not, Ron should easily be able to confirm or deny by seeing if the white patches rub off or not? I concede you certainly could be right that this is not a veil. :)

Based on the dried material,
By: Ron Pastorino (Ronpast)
2012-04-06 15:48:25 MDT (-0600)

I would be inclined to agree with Dimitar. It looks fairly uniform and originally I didn’t really think “veil”.

The veil
By: Dimitar Bojantchev (dimitar)
2012-04-06 15:26:23 MDT (-0600)

On the subject of the veil in Psathyrella — Kits Van Waveren (as well as others) points out that “the veil is unsuitable as a major key character in classifying the species of Psathyrella”. It can be present or absent within the same patch, including underdeveloped basidiomata.

Regardless, the effect that you see on these fruitbodies seems not that of veil, but lacerated, irregularly dried, drawn apart pileipellis with hygrophanous patches, which create the illusion of a veil… Note that intact part on the disk – this is not veil, but the pellis itself. That most commonly occurs in windy or dry places. Anyway, that’s my view from far away…


P. gracilis
By: Byrain
2012-04-06 14:30:53 MDT (-0600)

Is in subgenus Psathyrella and lacks any sort of veil.

By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2012-04-06 14:25:02 MDT (-0600)

Agreed – it’s very common to have a bleaching, slight darkening, or otherwise ‘boring’ reaction.
I write these down in my notes, but I still consider them negative.

Positive reactions are like those in some Agaricus, Hygrophorus pudorinus, some Cortinarius, Hypholoma fasciculare, Phellinus, etc.

By: Dimitar Bojantchev (dimitar)
2012-04-06 14:18:07 MDT (-0600)

Dark grey to brown KOH reaction is considered ‘banal’, thus negative, not interesting. It is worth to compare the reactions of 50 Psathyrella collections to KOH and see if anything non-banal comes out. I doubt it. The KOH reaction test serves to detect substances that give brighter and more distinct colors. Therefore, I wouldn’t even mentioned it in the context of this species.

Have you guys explored the id space of the P. gracilis complex?


P.S. Where the hell is Erin (CureCat), she used to show interest in this group?

By: Byrain
2012-04-06 14:02:45 MDT (-0600)

If pleurocystidia is present, more info info is needed. The key asks for many things which seem like it would be a lot easier to deal with actual specimens in hand. So I suggest you start at number 3 for the Section Pannucia key, page 180 (186 in my pdf).

And again, everything I am reading about Psathyrella indicates the veil is significant, which would make these quite macroscopically different from P. bipellis and P. conopilus.

Some additional microscopic attempts were made
By: Ron Pastorino (Ronpast)
2012-04-06 13:15:04 MDT (-0600)

on the material but I’m not sure if they help.
First of all, I could not see any setae on the pileipellis. Caveat; I’ve never found nor looked for setae on a pileipellis so not finding it is not conclusive.
The Pileipellis structure was cellular.
Secondly, I believe I saw a very few scattered Pleurocystidia on the gill sides that looked similar to the Cheilocystia(narrowly utriform) but a little smaller in size.
Lastly, KOH on the cap surface was negative. According to Kuo, for P. bipellis, it should instantly turn dark gray.

OK, I’ll give it another shot
By: Ron Pastorino (Ronpast)
2012-04-05 20:07:15 MDT (-0600)

and will look for setae….when time and attitude are in alinement.

or simply
By: Danny Newman (myxomop)
2012-04-05 19:56:27 MDT (-0600)

add the presence or absence of setae to the list of noble characteristics.

The shortest path.
By: Dimitar Bojantchev (dimitar)
2012-04-05 19:53:50 MDT (-0600)

All I am suggesting is that the presence of setae is the most definitive character of Psathyrella conopilus – thus, the shortest path to the id. Why not use it when it is available?

By: Douglas Smith (douglas)
2012-04-05 19:40:34 MDT (-0600)

I’ve leave it up to Ron to say if there or aren’t pleurocystidia. We can only go on what we know from the obs., and so far, no pleurocystidia obs.

But presence of pleurocystidia is a rather important feature for the genus, and I’m not sure you can wave your hands on a variability in the species that is now lacking pleurocystidia. Thats a bit of crazy talk, I mean where does that argument end?

An outstanding feature
By: Dimitar Bojantchev (dimitar)
2012-04-05 19:11:36 MDT (-0600)

of Psathyrella conopilus are the setae in the pileipellis. That should settle the id.

By: Byrain
2012-04-05 18:03:54 MDT (-0600)

You’re right, those species all seem to be smaller with smaller spores. As for the smith book, it does give the impression its missing many species and some sections of the key seem outright problematic, at least to me (See subgenus Psathyrella).

P. conopilus also doesn’t seem to be a great match lacking a well developed outerveil which P. bipellis seems to lack as well. The latter I’m not sure is included in the smith book (He considers P. barleyae a separate species) and includes P. odorata from a single collection without any mention of P. bipellis).

As for P. marcescibilis, it is mentioned under the P. fragilissima (Kauffman) A. H. Smith, comb. nov description. “Psathyra fragilissima Lange (1936); Lange’s species is now identified with Psathyrella marcescibilis (Britz.) Singer.” Though I am not entirely sure what that means yet.
And index fungorum is calling it Coprinopsis marcescibilis and synomizes it with P. fragilissima…

Doug, I think Christian is saying..
By: Ron Pastorino (Ronpast)
2012-04-05 17:47:59 MDT (-0600)

don’t bet your mortgage on whether I can reliably find Pleurocystidia.
He could be right in that the Cheilcystidia does match fairly closely with what Dimi and Kho show and the spores are maybe just a little larger on average for my group.

It seems that way…
By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2012-04-05 17:39:33 MDT (-0600)

But I don’t know how many more purple woodchip dwelling Psathyrella with more or less matching micro for an existing species can be realistically lurking about…

Maybe just a weird section? Would a revisitation of the specimen reveal scattered pleurocystidia?
Or maybe this species exhibits more variability than is accounted for in current literature. There are a number of options to consider, I think.

It just doesn’t look ike P. marcescibilis or P. conopilus

Seems that…
By: Douglas Smith (douglas)
2012-04-05 17:16:19 MDT (-0600)

This can’t be P. bipellis if there were no pleurocystidia obs…

By: Douglas Smith (douglas)
2012-04-05 16:43:50 MDT (-0600)

That is where it seems to key out in the Smith book. But looking there, they seem to be small thin, fragile things, nothing 3cm in size there. Some do state pleurocystidia laking.

But like many times, when I look at the Smith book, it looks like I can’t quite make it id to anything, and it has to be a new species… but how can that be true every time?

Outer veil
By: Byrain
2012-04-05 15:51:16 MDT (-0600)

With the well developed outer veil, and lack of an appendiculate margin. This seems to key into subgenus Pannucia sect. Pannucia. From there the large spores and lack and pleurocystidia take you straight to subsect. Flocculosae stirps Typhae which is a short key with few species. Though it may be better if you looked at it yourself. See page 183 in North American Species of Psathyrella (Or page 189 in my pdf).

By: Douglas Smith (douglas)
2012-04-05 15:44:00 MDT (-0600)

Looks like P. conopilus then. At least according to Funga Nordica, spores that large without pleurocystidia, that is where you get. There is also P. marcescibilis, with sp. 10-14um long. The notes here has P. conopilus fading without pink, P. marcescibilis has fading to flesh colored (whatever that is…) to pink. But that is it for laking pleurocystidia.

It has P. bipellis with numerous pleurocystidia, and also says the current name is P. odorata.

I couldn’t find any Pleurocystidia..
By: Ron Pastorino (Ronpast)
2012-04-05 15:22:51 MDT (-0600)

that was obvious in my one try.
Psathyrella conopilus fits as far as spore size is concerned. However, the Cheilocystidia size and shape don’t really mesh and the scales on the cap are hard to explain unless they are the result of some environmental anomaly. That feature was pretty consistent among all the specimens for which there were many more.

weird cap ornamentation…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2012-04-05 12:30:14 MDT (-0600)

but the micro fits Psath bipellis, as well as those obscure, pinkish-purple tones mentioned by Christian.

See Mushroomexpert for some telling micro details:

By: Douglas Smith (douglas)
2012-04-05 12:24:23 MDT (-0600)

Did oyu check if there were pleurocystidia? I think with large spores, and no pleurocystidia, you get dumped into P. conopilus (where the P is Psathyrella or Parasola, depending on who you are at this point?). But I think there the spore size is even larger? But this all off the top of my head… which isn’t too clear on Psathyrella lore…

By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2012-04-05 12:06:45 MDT (-0600)

The obscure pink tones look right for older, faded P. bipellis