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Laccaria

Related to the dark spored mushrooms, these probably represent another group of mushrooms that lost their spore colour. They are recognized by their white spores and waxy-looking, well spaced gills that make you think of the waxy caps. The caps are dry, somewhat hygrophanous and minutely scaly which might make you think of Lepiota, but the gills are attached. The tough, rough fibrous stems help identify them. They are also distinguished by spiny spores under the microscope. Usually <5cm across, but some grow larger.

They are mycorrhizal with various trees.

L. laccata - orange, striate or not, <7cm.

L. proxima - never striate, may be larger (<8cm)

L. montana/pumila - striate or not, mid to high elevations only, <3cm.

L. tortilis - orange, the most strongly pleated, small (<2.5cm).

L. amethysteo-occidentalis ("a-o") - purple, award winning number of syllables. Fades to resemble L. bicolor, but gills will still be brighter.

L. bicolor - orange, often with a hint of purple in the mycelium at the base (shown here) or gills. Otherwise mistaken for L. laccata grp. Faded L. a-o has brighter gills.

L. nobilis - larger and scalier, same purple tinges, otherwise much like L. proxima. High elevations.

Laccaria specialized literature would make for a very short book, but there is a wonderful illustrated website found at http://archive.fieldmuseum.org/research_collections/botany/botany_sites/fungi/index.html which might help you learn to tell the orange ones apart, or try the PNW Key Council key.

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