These are usually found on the ground but are saprophytic (often growing on debris or cones) and belong to the Marasmioid clade unless otherwise specified. This is a pretty big catch-all page for many miscellaneous white spored mushrooms, and will unfortunately require a lot of browsing.
Collybia - When Collybias were found to not be all related to each other and the larger ones were split into Gymnopus and Rhodocollybia, it was unfortunately the atypically small Collybias that got to keep the name, simply because they had the name first, creating confusion. So "collybioid stature" really means big like things Collybia used to be, not small things like Collybia is now. On behalf of mycologists everywhere, I apologize. They are not related to Marasmius and Gymnopus, but to the Tricholomatoid clade. In fact they are very closely related to Clitocybe. (Very. Unfortunately, they may actually be Clitocybes, which doesn't help the confusion any).
These can be recognized by their small size (<1cm),
preference for growing on old rotting
mushrooms (often an old Russula turned into an
unrecognizable black pile of goo), closely spaced gills and by often having sclerotia at the base of
the stem - a tight little pill ball of nutrients. The caps and stems are pale and not tough
so they are most likely to be confused with Strobilurus/
Dendrocollybia racemosa - <1cm, you can't miss the branches all over the stem of this rare little gem, where asexual spores are produced. It has round, black sclerotia and also grows on old rotting Russulas. Sometimes it is capless.
D. pycnoramella n.p. - shorter, denser branches.
Asterophora - growing on decaying
A. parasitica - true gills, not dusty, wider spaced gills than Collybia, which it is most likely to be confused with.
S. trullisatus (kemptonae) (left) - orange two-toned stem. Pale cap perhaps grey or tan. Gills close but not crowded. Doug fir cones. Fall. Thick walled capitate pleurocystidia.
B. myosura (right) - uniform pinkish stem. Crowded gills.
S. albipilatus (lignitilis) - sometimes tan cap but also pale or grey, on various conifer cones or the ground on unrecognizably decayed cones. Often at high elevations. Thin walled capitate pleurocystidia.
Gymnopus/Collybiopsis - the bulk of the genus Collybia were moved into Gymnopus, but then a genetic study showed that they belonged in two genetic groups, Gymnopus and Marasmiellus. Finally, it was discovered that Collybiopsis was an older name for Marasmiellus, so that genus name is being abandoned by some. The two genera only differ microscopically with the kind of cells on the top layer of the cap. The species in Gymnopus section Vestipedes (such as G. confluens, G. luxurians, G. peronatus, G. subpruinosus and G. villosipes) are the ones that have or need to be moved to Collybiopsis.
They typically grow up to 5cm across, unless otherwise specified. They can sometimes be found on wood and can therefore be confused with the mushrooms found here. Some are somewhat hygrophanous. They do have cartilaginous stems and tough fruiting bodies that are not very fleshy and don't rot quickly. They are sometimes confused with Rhodocollybia, which are usually a bit larger and fleshier. They haven't been studied much so we're still learning which species are here.
Collybiopsis peronatus - one of the most common mushrooms of all, recently introduced! Yellowish, hairy stem base. Taste hot (but not always? Sometimes lemony.)
C. confluens - pale (sometimes darker when fresh), finely hairy stem, more crowded gills than C. peronatus.
G. dryophilus - brighter orange, bald stem, usually smaller than R. butyracea.
G. erythropus - two toned stem, a different shade of reddish than C. acervatus. More distant gills. Similar to Marasmius cohaerens.
G. spongiosus grp ('fuscopurpureus') - dark even in the gills, with hairy stem base. KOH turns green!
C. villosipes - similarly dark cap and young gills, umbilicate cap?, entirely pubescent stem, KOH negative.
G. polyphyllus - cap and stem dark or pale, crowded gills, smells strongly of garlic, bigger than Marasmius.
C. 'hasanskyensis' - reddish brown cap fades but stem retains colour. Very distant gills?
C. eneficola almost white, subdistant gills, hairy stem.
Rhodocollybia - usually just a bit bigger and stockier than Gymnopus (whose stems are more cartilaginous), they are best defined by a slight tinge of yellow, orange or pink to the spores, but not at all deep and dark enough to qualify as pink-spored mushrooms. It's too subtle to notice unless you take a spore print, so you may just have to learn to recognize them. Somewhat hygrophanous. Most often with serrated gill edges, and slightly rooting stems.
Collybiopsis luxurians, above, is the size of a Rhodocollybia, but doesn't have the same greasy look that Rhodocollybia often does.
R. butyracea - dark orange brown, stockier than G. dryophilus with serrated gill edges.
R. maculata group - many varieties, whitish to yellow to dark brown, may spot red, may smell like candy!
R. oregonensis - dark two-toned cap, with the longest rooting stem. Also spotting red and definitely smells like marzipan!
R. subsulcatipes - paler brown cap, but darker brown stem. Not staining but sweet odor.
Melanoleuca - They are best recognized by
often having a very elegant Amanita/
Distinctively, they have amyloid warty spores (that turn dark in iodine) and often have cystidia of the "stinging hair" type - narrow and encrusted (except for some in the first box). Some species are still unnamed and not yet mentioned below, as they have never been thoroughly studied in North America.
M. 'melaleuca' - fall, modest dark grey capped species without cystidia.
M. sp. - a relative of M. communis, M. polioleuca and M. friesii that looks the same but does have the stinging cystidia.
M. eccentrica - yellow-brown cap, white to cream gills (unlike M. cognata). Unlike the description, it is actually large (<=12cm), with a central stem, and a few unencrusted cystidia.
M. exscissa - small dull brown species, with especially small encrusted cystidia, in lawns, spring and fall. Pale-ish stem and stem flesh.
M. verrucipes - This confused us a while ago when it was first introduced from Europe. White, with black scabered stem.
Lyophyllum - part of a separate family in the Tricholomatoid clade, these miscellaneous mushrooms can be tricky to identify, as they mostly have non-viscid greasy looking grey-brown caps and no partial veil without anything very distinctive, but they will either grow in large clusters or blacken slowly in age or where handled.
Lyophyllum sp. "pale spring" - almost white capped spring clustered species. Very easily confused with the fall species Leucocybe connata (='Clitocybe dilatata').
Lyophyllum semitale grp - commonly smell farinaceous and eventually turn black wherever handled. May or may not cluster, come in all sizes. There are up to 17 species in this group!
Calocybe - known as the colourful Lyophyllums. Their pretty colours make them distinctive. Not usually hygrophanous. Usually <5cm. Attempts to move some species into Rugosomyces are unnecessary, as they all properly belong in Calocybe.
Tephrocybe, etc. - difficult to ID small (usually <2.5cm) mushrooms also related to Lyophyllum. The caps are hygrophanous. They are sometimes parasitic with mosses and may have spiny spores and may or may not have strong farinaceous-like odors. They can be mistaken for Mycena, Rhodocybe or a host of other things.
Sphagnurus paluster - parasitic on moss, gills variably attached but possibly decurrent, farinaceous.
Sagaranella tylicolor - notched, on the ground, rotting flesh or feces. Mushroom without strong odor.
Other miscellaneous collybioid mushrooms:
Marasmius oreades - found in grass in the spring. <5cm. Tough but not wiry stem. Often wavy cap, sometimes uplifted margin. Famous for sometimes growing in fairy rings.
Callistosporium graminicolor ('luteoolivaceum') - <5cm. Greasy olive-yellow cap and stem. Usually growing from wood, but sometimes buried. Tricholomatineae. Turns red in KOH! Not hygrophanous.
Macrocystidia cucumis group - <5cm.
I call this the sushi mushroom, because it actually smells like
fish and cucumber, with a hint of rice. OK, I'm joking about the rice.
The spores are pinkish, so you might look for it in pink spored
Entoloma, but it is in the Tricholomatineae. Hygrophanous. In gardens.
|Omphaliaster asterosporus is a similar darker grey-brown mushroom found in moss, resembling the more common Arrhenia. They have a hygrophanous, striate, umbilicate cap without waviness and short decurrent gills. However, Omphaliaster is farinaceous and it is most confidently identified by its startlingly nodulose spores. It is also a member of the Tricholomatoid clade.|
Some Mycenas can be unusually large or not conical. Make sure you don't have one of those.
M. pura - quite large (M), cap flattens in age, purple fading to grey, smells of radish. I've seen blue and albino versions.
M. pearsoniana - very similar.
M. maculata etc. - on wood, developing reddish spotting. Other large brownish-grey species exist too.
Collybia, Gymnopus and Rhodocollybia are covered online at