COMA Mush U 2015



COMA Mushroom University 2015 – How to be a knowledgeable foray leader in 6 easy lessons……



What can you say about this collection? Come to class to learn how to “engage” these mushrooms…..


Gilled Mushroom ID class – Saturday, April 18th – White-spored Mushroom Genera you should know on sight……

Bring a calendar to class so we can plan for a mushroom walk this summer / fall……….

MUSHROOMS seen on walk about Muscoot Farm woods Saturday April 11th……….About 2 dozen mushrooms seen in an otherwise “barren” woods.


Daldinia “concentrica”

Diatrype stigma

Diatrype sp. (brown pimply crust)

Diatrype-like sp. (with raised bumps)

Lophodermium sp. (on Eastern White Pine needles – by parking lot)

Phaeocalicium polyporaeum (on caps of Trichaptum beforme)


Exidia recisa


Botryobasidium aeureum (orange fuzz on wood)

Peniophora albobadia (Giraffe spots)

Stereum hirsutum

Stereum ostrea

Stereum sp. (maybe S. gausapatum)

Xylobolus frustulatus

various gray and brown crusts


Ganoderma applanatum

Irpex lacteus

Trametes conchifer

Trametes gibbosa

Trametes hirsuta

Trametes versicolor

Trichaptum biforme


Armillaria mellea complex rhizomorphs

Flammulina velutipes (wild Enoki) ?

Panellus stipticus


Lycoperdon pyriforme




Some WHITE-SPORED mushrooms (Part One)

[Names below are primarily those found in the Audubon Guide]

Pleurotus s.l.

Armillaria s.l.


Lepiota s.l.

Cantharellus s.l.



[Note: s.l. = sensu lato = in the broad sense, the traditional sense of a formerly large genus concept

s.s. = sensu stricto = in the narrow sense, the restricted sense of the genus as it is now recognized]

Preliminary KEY to some WHITE-spored GILLED MUSHROOMS

1 On wood, stem absent, lateral or eccentric….PLEUROTUS s.l.

1 Not as above……………………………………………………………………2

2 On the ground; ring on stem or cup at base or both present3

2 No ring or cup present……………………………………………………..5

3 Gills free………………………………………………………………………….4

3 Gills attached to stem; on wood…………………ARMILLARIA s.l.

4 Cup present or as removable warts on cap…………..AMANITA

4 No cup or removable warts on cap………………….LEPIOTA sl.

5 Gills decurrent & forked………………………..CANTHARELLUS s.l.

5 Not as above……………………………………………………………………6

6 Gills attached and latex present…………….………….LACTARIUS

6 Gills attached and brittle; no latex present……………RUSSULA

6 Not as above (see following KEY (next week)  for Clitocybe., Collybia,

Hygrophorus,. Laccaria, Marasmius., Mycena, and Tricholoma)


PLEUROTUS s.l. [Some segregate genera & look-alikes]

The mushroom could be:

1 Pleurotus s.s.….medium to large, stalkless or lateral

e.g., P. ostreatus

2 Hypsizygus….large mushroom with eccentric stem, high up on elm trees

e.g., H. ulmarius

3 Ossicaulis…..medium mushroom, chalk white, eccentric stem, often found inside hollowed out trees

e.g., O. lignatilis

4 Panellus…..small mushroom, stem stub-like, gills brown on P. stipticus; cap greenish yellow on larger, late fall P. serotinus

e.g., P. stipticus, P. serotinus

5 Panus / Lentinus….tough fleshy eccentric-stalked mushroom, often hairy, some with red to purplish tints

e.g., P. rudis (L. strigosus), P. conchatus, L. levis

6 Lentinellus…stem absent, cap hairy, gills serrated, taste bitter

e.g., L. ursinus

7 Hohenbuehelia….cap with gelatinous layer, mostly on wood

e.g., H. mastrucata

8 Resupinatus…..small mushroom, black with black gills

e.g., R. applicatus

9 Phyllotopsis (pinkish spore print)..stalk absent, orange, fetid

e.g., P. nidulans


ARMILLARIA s.l. [excluding A. tabescens, which is ringless]

1 Armillaria mellea complex…single to clustered at base of stumps or on buried wood, cap with blackish hairs in center

2Tricholoma caligatum….(formerly an Armillaria)…smooth cap, ring on stem, under oaks, sometimes fragrant, bitter

3 Pleurotus dryinus…..white; on wood, veil fragments on cap margin and ring zone on upper stem

4 Cystoderma….some species have a partial veil leaving a ring on the stem or legging-like sleeve about lower stem (maybe resembling a small Lepiota but with attached gils)



There are 6 sections of Amanita:

1 Section Vaginata [cap margin striate, ring present or absent, but sack-like cup about base]

e.g., A. caesarea (jacksonii), A. vaginata

2 Section Amanita [cap margin striate, ring present, cup about base appressed or sock-like, not flaring at top]

e.g., A. muscaria, A. gemmata (crenulata)

3 Section Amidella [cap margin smooth, ring absent, cup about base sack-like]

e.g., A. volvata

4 Section Phalloides [cap margin smooth, ring present, cup sack-like]

e.g., A. phalloides, A. virosa (bisporigera)

5 Section Validae [ cap margin smooth, ring present, cup powdery to swollen but not sack-like]

e.g., A. brunnescens, A. citrina, A. flavoconia, A. rubescens

6 Section Lepidella [cap margin smooth, cap white to gray adorned with pyramidal warts, ring present or as remnants about cap margin, stem base with scales left from universal veil]

e.g., A. cinereopannosa, A. cokeri


LEPIOTA s.l. [Lepiota has been divided into several genera]

1 Chlorophyllum (Green-spored)

e.g., C. molybdites [green-spored]

2 Lepiota s.s. (small mushrooms with scaly cap)

e.g., L. .cristata, L. acutesquamosa

3 Leucoagaricus (medium to large, cap smooth to scaly)

e.g., L. naucina (= L. leucothites), L. americana

4 Leucocoprinus (small to medium, often powder-covered)

e.g., L. cepaestipes, L. lutea (birnbaumii)

5 Macrolepiota (tall and slender mushrooms, scaly cap)

e.g., L. procera complex


CANTHARELLUS s.l. (A number of cantharelloid genera)

1 Cantharellus s.s.….small to medium, orange to cinnabar, solid, fragrant, some under oaks, others pine

e.g., C. “cibarus,” C. cinnabarinus, C. minor

2 Craterelllus (in part)…mushroom yellow, hollow stem

e.g., C. tubaeformis

3 Hygrophoropsis (on wood)…at base of conifer stumps

e.g., H. aurantiaca

4 Cantharellula (in moss)….small, gray, in hair-cap moss beds

e.g., C. umbonata

5 Gomphus…..medium to large, vase-shaped, red to orange

e.g., G. floccusus



There are 6 common sections of Lactarius

1Section Deliciosus……latex orange, blue, red

e.g., L. deliciosus, L. indigo

2 Section Volemus…..latex white and abundant, mushrooms orange to yellow-brown

e.g., L. corrugis, L. hygrophoroides, L. volemus

3 Section Lignyotus….latex white but staining flesh pink, cap and stem typically brown

e.g., L. lignyotus, L. gerardii

4 Section Albati…..latex white, mushrooms white

e.g. L. piperatus, L. deceptivus, L. vellereus

5 Section Rufus…..latex white to clear; bitter to mild, often fragrant

e.g., L. rufus, L. camphoratus, L. helvus

6 Section Chrysorheus…..latex white becoming yellow or purple or cap woolly

e.g., L. vinaceorufescens, L. torminosus



There are 4 common sections of Russula

1 Section Compacta…

e.g., R. brevipes, R. compacta, R. nigricans

2 Section Foetens….cap margin striate, smell almond bec. foul

e.g., R. foetens complex, R. laurocerasi, R. fragrantissima

3 Section Mariae…..cap pruinose or opaque, taste mild

e.g.,  R. mariae, R. crustosa, R. xerampelina

4 Section Emetica….cap red, viscid/shiny, flesh hot-acrid

e.g., R. emetica, R. silvicola, R. krombholzii (vinosa)


Practical Taxonomy: GILLED MUSHROOMS

Some WHITE-SPORED mushrooms (Part Two)

[Names below are primarily those found in the Audubon Guide, along with photos & descriptions]










[Note: s.l. = sensu lato = in the broad sense, the traditional sense of a formerly large genus concept.

s.s. = sensu stricto = in the narrow sense, the restricted sense of the genus as it is now recognized.]


Preliminary “KEY” to some WHITE-spored GILLED MUSHROOMS with NO ring on the stem or cup or veil remnants about stem base and gills ATTACHED to the stem. [For Cantharellus s.l., Lactarius, and Russula SEE Part One] –


1 Medium to large mushrooms with cap & stem fleshy, gills decurrent: CLITOCYBE s.l.

2 As above but mostly small mushrooms with attached gills: LACCARIA

3 As above but  with gills attached by a notch: TRICHOLOMA s.l.

4 Small to medium mushrooms with cap and stem fleshy and gills thick-edged and appearing waxy, various attached, some decurrent……HYGROPHORUS s.l.

5 Cap fleshy, flattening out on maturity, but stem cartilaginous: COLLYBIA s.l.

6 Cap fleshy, conical, not flattening out, and stem fragile, mostly on wood: MYCENA s.l.

7 Cap fleshy flattening out, stem flexible, bendable or stiff, hair-like: MARASMIUS s.l.



CLITOCYBE s.l. was traditionally recognized as a medium to large fleshy mushroom with a white spore print and gills that descend or angle down the stem somewhat. The genus has been broken up again and again, so that now we have a large number of genera, each containing a small number of species. Included in our area are:

AMPULLOCLITOCYBE clavipes (the late fall Fat-footed Clitocybe, which used to be called Clitocybe clavipes).

ARMILLARIA tabescens (the Ringless Honey Mushroom, which used to be called Clitocybe monadelpha).

CLITOCYBE s.s. A group of ground-inhabiting decomposers, including:

Clitocybe dealbata complex [the poisonous “sweater” – as in ‘makes you sweat’ mushroom]

Clitocybe gibba (a medium sized tan vase-shaped mushroom with deeply decurrent gills)

Clitocybe odora [the light blue, anise-scented Clitocybe)

Clitocybe robusta....this species or something like it can be parasitized by a small pink-spored gilled mushroom, Volvariella surrecta. (seen in Westchester Cty., fall 2013)

LYOPHYLLUM decastes (the Fried Chicken Mushroom, which used to be called Clitocybe multiceps).

OMPHALOTUS illudens (the Jack O’lantern mushroom, which used to be called Clitocybe illudens, then Omphalotus olearius).


COLLYBIA s.l. was traditionally recognized as a medium to small mushroom with a white spore print and a fleshy cap and cartilaginous stem (snaps like a chicken bone). Only a few species are still recognized in this genus now, while the great majority have been assigned to other genera, including:

COLLYBIA s.s. is a genus that includes just a couple of species, including two in our area that are tiny, white mushrooms that grow out of tuber-like sclerotia that grow out of old, blackened polypores: C. cookei and C. tuberosa.

CRINIPELLIS is a small segregate genus that includes species with caps adorned with hairs in noteable patterns

CYPTOTRAMA asparata (formerly Cyptotrama chrysopeplum and Collybia lacunosa).

FLAMMULINA velutipes (formerly Collybia velutipes)

GYMNOPUS now contains the lion’s share of species formerly assigned to Collybia.

HYMENOPELLIS furfuracea (formerly Xerula, Oudemansiella, and Collybia radicata)

MEGACOLLYBIA rodmani (formerly Tricholomopsis platyphylla and Collybia platyphylla)

MELANOLEUCA alboflavida (formerly a Collybia because of its fleshy cap and cartilaginous stem).

RHODOCOLLYBIA butyracea and R. maculata (formerly species of Collybia) have a cream-pink spore print and dextrinoid spores.


CUPHOPHYLLUS is a segregate genus that includes C. pratensis and C. virgineus.

HUMIDICUTIS is the segregate genus that includes H. marginata

HYGROCYBE is the major segregate genus of brightly colored, mostly small or slender species, including H. conica, H. flavescens, and H. miniata.

HYGROPHORUS s.s. is now restricted to mycorrhizal species, mostly large, fleshy, often dull colored, including H. hypothejus, H. olivaceoalbus, and H. russula.


LACCARIA is a relatively small genus of mycorrhizal species, at one time included in a really broad concept of Clitocybe. The species in our area include: L. amethystina (the small, purple Laccaria), L. laccata complex (which includes several really small orange-brown species), L. ochropurpurea, the largest species in the genus, the one with the white cap and stem and purple gills (looking to some like a Cortinarius wannabe), and L. trullisata, the one that grows along sandy beaches.



MARASMIUS s.s. is a genus of ground or wood-inhabiting decomposers, still a genus of small mushrooms with stems that are flexible, that is, bendable. M. oreades, the Fairy-ring Mushroom of lawns, is one type in the genus, but some occur on wood, have almost hair-thin stems, and tiny caps.

TETRAPYRGOS nigripes used to be Marasmius nigripes, then Marasmiellus nigripes. It’s found every year in our area, and is recognized by its appearance on wood and its blackish stem. Its name comes from its spores, which are 4-sided.

MYCENA s.l. (including species of Omphalia s.l.): all decomposers…

CHROMOSERA cyanophylla used to be Omphalia lilacifolia, then a Mycena.

GERRONEMA strombodes used to be an Omphalia, then a Clitocybe. A slight, slender-stemmed yellow mushroom with deeply decurrent gills.

MYCENA s.s. is still a large genus of mostly small mushrooms that occur on wood, with a few exceptions, that have conical caps and slender, fragile stems.

OMPHALINA epichysium used to be a Clitocybe but is Mycena-like, occurs on wood, is small, pale brown cap and has white decurrent gills.

RICKENELLA fibula (formerly Omphalia fibula, then a Mycena).

XEROMPHALINA campanella (formerly Omphalia campanella).



CLITOCYBE NUDA used to be considered a species of Tricholoma (T. personatum or T. nudum) because the gills are not decurrent, like a Clitocybe, but attached and notched, as is typical of Tricholoma. Species around C. nuda were transferred for a while to the genus Lepista, but DNA sequencing has shown species in the genus Lepista are nicely nested within the Clitocybe clade.

TRICHOLOMA s.s.  A genus restricted now to only mycorrhizal species. This usually fall to late fall genus has species that are white spored mushrooms with fleshy caps and stems and gills that are notched at the stem (that is, not decurrent, but attached to the stem by dipping down towards it, then up to where it attaches to the stem).

Other genera are not found in our area or are uncommon or rare here.



Mushrooms are fungi. Fungi are now recognized as a Kingdom of their own, distinct from the Plant Kingdom where they were "housed" until recently. Darwin, for example, like everyone else in his time, thought there were two groups of plants: the seed plants (Phanerogams) and the spore-bearing plants (Cryptogams), which included the mosses, the ferns, and the fungi. Today, we recognize several distinct groups within the Kingdom of the Fungi. The mushrooms we collect are in the Phylum called Dikarya. [The other phyla contain microscopic fungi, groups we don't knowingly collect.] This group, the Dikarya, contains both the Ascomycetes and the Basidiomycetes. The Ascomycetes, which includes Morels and Truffles, almost all lichens, and a large number of plant and animal pathogens, are those fungi whose spores are developed within microscopic sacs called asci. The Basidiomycetes, which includes the Jelly Fungi, the Chanterelles, Coral and Tooth Fungi, the Crust and Parchment Fungi, the Polypores, the Boletes, the Gilled Mushrooms, and the “Gasteromycetes,” as well as the Rust Fungi and the Smut Fungi, develop their spores on the outside of microscopic club-shaped structures called basidia.The standard classification of the fungi (as well as that of plants and animals) in a set of nesting containers in which the various groups fit, from smallest (the species) to largest (the Kingdom). These seven rankings are called Species, Genus, Family, Order, Class, Phylum, and Kingdom. There are also sub-categories placed here and there between these major rankings. Let’s consider the common cultivated mushrooms, Agaricus bisporus, for example. The Species is Agaricus bisporus (always the binomial is used when referring to a species). The Genus is Agaricus, in which one can find many species of Agaricus. The Family is Agaricaceae (which ends in -ceae). The Order is Agaricales (which ends in -ales). The Class is Agaricomycotina (or Agaricomycetes). The Sub-phylum is Basidomycota and the Kingdom is Fungi. The “ascomycetes” have a similar classification. The Common Yellow Morel (which we’ll call Morchella esculenta – for convenience) is the Species. Morchella is the Genus. Morchellaceae is the Family. Pezizales is the Order. Pezizomycotina (or Pezizomycetes) is the Class. Ascomycota is the Sub-phylum and Fungi is the Kingdom. There are 50,000 or so known species of Ascomycetes and about 30,000 or so known species of Basidomycetes. (The terms “Ascomycetes” and “Basidiomycetes” are used to refer to all the species within each group – which is used for convenience, though not taxonomically correct.) Within the COMA collecting area there are about 1,000 to 1500 species of mushrooms. If you know 100 different mushrooms on sight you are considered a very good taxonomist. If you know more than 500 you are an “expert.” Nobody knows them all. In fact, there are many mushrooms in our woods that nobody knows, mushrooms that we see but nobody has ever identified or described. We don’t need to go to the Amazon or New Guinea to find unusual or unknown species: we are surrounded by them in our own woods, parks, and backyards.

The names below can be found in mushroom field guides, like the Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms, and on websites, like

Class #1 (March 7th) – We examined most of the 35 different mushrooms brought to class today. These included 5 Ascomycetes and 30 Basidiomycetes. The Basidiomycetes included 10 polypores, 10 gilled mushrooms (which we didn’t have time to cover), 5 crust fungi, 3 Gasteromycetes, and 2 jelly fungi. Ascomycetes: Apiosporina morbosa (Black Knot of Cherry), Daldinia “concentrica” (Carbon Balls), Morels!, Nectria sp. (Coral Spot), and Xylaria polymorpha (Dead Man’s Fingers). The Jelly Fungi: Auricularia americana (Wood-ear) and Tremella aurantia (Witch’s Butter). The Gasteromycetes: Calvatia rubroflava, Calvatia cyathiformis, and Cyathus olla. The Crust Fungi: Peniophora albobadia (Giraffe Spots), Stereum ostrea, Sarcodontia setosa (Yellow tooth on wood), Phlebia incarnata (Coral-pink Merulius), and Punctularia strigosozonata (Bacon Strips). The polypores: Piptoporus betulinus (Birch Polypore), Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum), Lenzites betulina (Gilled Polypore), Pycnoporus cinnabarinus (Cinnabar Polypore), Phellinus robiniae (Cracked-cap Polypore), Fomes fomentarius (Tinder Fungus), Trametes versicolor (Turkey-tail), Trichaptum biforme (Purple-edged toothed polypore), etc.

Class #2 (March 14th) – We looked at images of 24 Gasteromycetes that occur in our area. These included 3 giant puffballs, 3 small puffballs, 3 false puffballs, 3 earthstars, 3 stalked puffballs, 3 bird’s nest fungi, and 6 stinkhorns…These are: Calvatia gigantea (Giant Puffball), Calvatia cyathiformis (Amethyst spored Giant Puffball), Calvatia rubroflava (Golden Giant Puffball), Lycoperdon perlatum (Gemmed Puffball), Lycoperdon curtisii (small, bumpy Puffball), Lycoperdon pyriforme (Pear-shaped Puffball on wood), Scleroderma citrinum (Pigskin False Puffball), Scleroderma bovista (Smooth, Pink-tinted False Puffball, Scleroderma polyrhizon (Earthstar False Puffball), Astraeus hygrometricus (Barometer Earthstar), Geastrum saccatum (Smooth Earthstar), Geastrum triplex (Cupped Earthstar), Calostoma cinnabarinum (Stalked Puffball in Aspic), Pisolithus tinctorius (Dyer’s Puffball), Tulostoma sp. (Desert Stalked Puffball), Crucibulum laeve (White-egg Bird’s Nest), Cyathus olla (Smooth, dark-egg Bird’s Nest), Cyathus striatus (Pleated-cup Bird’s Nest), Pseudocolus fusiformis (Stinky Squid), Mutinus caninus (Dog Stinkhorn), Mutinus elegans (Elegant Stinkhorn), Phallus rubicundus (Bright Orange Stinkhorn), Phallus duplicatus (Skirted Stinkhorn), Phallus ravenelii (Ravenell’s Phallus).

The “Gasteromycetes” is an artificial grouping of mushrooms that produce their spores within a stomach-like cavity. As we understand today,using molecular techniques, the Giant Puffballs and the small puffballs are actually related to the gilled mushroom Agaricus. The False Puffballs and the Barometer Earthstar are related to the boletes. Most surprisingly, the stinkhorns are related to Ramaria, a genus of coral-shaped fungi. Regardless of their relationships, however, when we are collecting in the field, it’s most useful to maintain this artificial grouping of the “Gasteromycetes.” The same holds true for the so-called Gilled Mushrooms.The gill, like the pore and the spine or tooth, is an adaptation, a feature unrelated mushrooms have acquired to produce their spores. If you are interested in seeing the evolutionary lineages of our mushrooms, and which field adaptations a given lineage has assumed over time, there is a chart, constructed in a way similar to the one we use for the elements. See, and click on “Mushroom Articles,” then the one by Gary Lincoff and Michael Wood.

After lunch we studied the mushrooms that you were asked to collect during the week. These included 2 Ascomycetes (Hypocrea sulphurea and Scorias spongiosa), one nice jelly (Dacrymyces sp.), a couple of “gilled” mushrooms (Panellus stypticus and Plicaturopsis crispa), 2 species of Stereum (S. complicatum and S. ostrea), some crust fungi, and a number of polypores, including Daedaleopsis confragosa, Irpex lacteus, Trametes conchifer, Tr. gibbosa, Tr. hirsuta, Tr. versicolor, and Trichaptum biforme. And some others, as well.

Class #3 (March 21st)….We will spend part of the time looking at the JELLY FUNGI. There’s more here than meets the eye.

Jelly Fungi……….Heterobasidiomycete Body Plans

See the article “Evolution and Morphology in the Homobasidiomycetes” (see or just “Google” the title). This note is about the various shapes assumed by another distinctive group of Basidiomycetes, those Heterobasidiomycetes known as the Jelly Fungi.

These Jelly Fungi are Basidiomycetes but not otherwise closely related. They have distinctively septate basidia, unlike the fungi of the Homobasidiomycetes. Some bud off spores yeast-like, and the fruiting bodies can appear in a number of vary different shapes, some not jelly-like at all….The Heterobasidiomycetes includes these Jelly Fungi as well as the Rust Fungi and the Smut Fungi. Some of the jellies, after extensive study, have been transferred to the Rust Fungi, but we will only consider the “true” Jelly Fungi here.

The Body Plans of the Jelly Fungi include:

CUP SHAPED………Auricularia americana (auricula), Exidia recisa, Guepiniopsis buccina

BRAIN-SHAPED…..Dacrymyces, Exidia glandulosa, Syzygospora mycetophila, Tremella

CORAL-SHAPED…..Calocera, Tremellodendron, Tremellodendropsis

TOOTH-SHAPED…..Pseudohydnum gelatinosum

CRUST-SHAPED…..Sebacina incrustans, Eichleriella deglubens

PORE-SHAPED…..Protomerulius caryae




See other pages on this website for material on BOLETES (COMA U: BOLETES), GILLED MUSHROOMS (COMA U: Mushroom University 2012), and ASCOMYCETES (Ascomycetes)…..