return to Pictorial Key

Oddball Mushrooms

The most obvious odd type of mushroom is the oyster mushroom type. They grow on wood and either have no stem or a stem that does not grow under the centre of the cap but instead eccentrically off to one side or out of one side of the cap.

Other mushrooms have subtle signs that sometimes indicate a gilled mushroom is not actually related to other gilled mushrooms, which I consider odd.

Choose a spore colour: White spores Pink Spores Brown Spores

White Spores

 

Pleurotus - the classic oyster mushroom from which all mushrooms on wood with eccentric stems are now labeled as having "oyster" stature. Recognized by the fairly large fruitbodies (up to 10cm or more) mostly on hardwood, short eccentric stem and smooth gill edges.

P. populinus/pulmonarius/ostreatus - greyish-brown to whitish capped, else white. Found on hardwoods.

P. dryinus - much tougher, scaly capped and mostly white. Rarely yellow. Has a partial veil visible when young. Hardwoods.

Panus conchatus - large, brown cap, young gills purple (fading), young cap and stem felty, like Tapinella atrotomentosa. Hardwood. Actually in the polypore clade below.

For a smooth-capped large bright yellow "oyster" that grows on the ground, see Cantharocybe.
Hypsizygus and Ossicaulis sometimes have an eccentric stem, but do not have strongly decurrent gills.

Hohenbuehelia species can often be recognized by a layer of gelatinous flesh in the caps.

Hohenbuehelia petaloides (geogenia) - a related darker brown, smaller (5cm) shoehorn shaped mushroom, on the ground from buried wood.

H. mastructata - stemless, strongly felty, on hardwood. Southern.

Other Hohenbuehelia species are much smaller and found below.

Other smaller unrelated white spored oyster mushrooms with either no stem or an eccentric stem, some easily confused with the smaller Hohenbuehelia species. The exact taxonomic placement of some of these mushrooms is uncertain, but most fall in one of two places - distantly related to the waxy caps (Hygrophoroid clade) or distantly related to Marasmius (Marasmioid clade). They come in various colours, but they all have white spores, something that is not going to be immediately obvious. Usually small (<5cm) but some medium sized species can reach 10cm, and the smaller ones are <2.5cm. Panellus, Sarcomyxa and Pleurotopsis have amyloid spores (darkening in iodine).

Pleurocybella porrigens - angel wings, medium, shoehorn shape, without any stem.

Sarcomyxa serotina - medium, late oyster. A beautiful greenish, sometimes tinged violet, with an orange punctate stem. Early winter. Hardwood preference.

Panellus stipticus - tough and fuzzy and slowly bitter, short stem. Veins connect the gills which sometimes glow weakly in the dark. Hardwoods.

Scytinotus longinquus - viscid, white to tan to pink. Short stem. <4cm. Hardwood. Hygrophanous.

Cheimonophyllum candidissimum - <2 cm, short or absent stem on hardwood. Dry, white chalky cap, not peelable.

'Panellus' mitis - Smaller than P. longinqua, white, not viscid, peelable cap cuticle and gill edge. Short stem. <2.5cm

Scytinotus ringens - Also <2.5cm, rose-grey cap, not viscid, not peelable. Shortest stem. Hardwood. Hygrophanous?

Tectella patellaris - a smaller brown oyster with a veil! A tiny stem may come out of the cap! ~1cm. Hardwood.

Phyllotopsis nidulans - fuzzy, rotten smell and taste. Medium. Resembles Tapinella panuoides.

Resupinatus applicatus/Hohenbuehelia cyphelliformis/H. nigra - teensy (~3 mm) circular grey to black stemless specs on wood. A bit gelatinous.

'Tetrapyrgos' subdendrophora - veined pseudo-gills, eccentric blackish stem on Rubus canes. ~1cm. Gills may look somewhat normal, resembling Marasmiellus candidus. There is an unnamed sister species too.

The latest taxonomy suggests that 1, 2 and 9 are related to the true oysters. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10 and 11 are in the large Marasmioid clade. 8 is unknown (or distinct) for now.

 

Polypores - most of these "oysters" are more closely related to the polypores (although in different sections of that family tree) and have independently evolved gills, but they still retain some of the toughness of the polypores due to their dimitic hyphae. (Pleurotus dryinus can be mistaken for one of these). The stems are often missing or slightly eccentric as well, but this can be subtle.

If your stemless gilled mushroom is actually as tough as wood, you will probably find in on the polypore page.

This first group is easiest to recognize because they lack a stem, are attached to wood, and look and feel for all the world like a polypore, except for the gills underneath. They have the consistency of leather (Schizophyllum) or wood. Other species have odd looking pores that can somewhat resemble gills as well, so if you find something that looks like it has gills but seems like a polypore, look for it on that page.

Schizophyllum commune - "split gill", in the Agaricales (a gilled mushroom relative that evolved to be tough instead of a tough polypore evolving gills). Each gill is split in half lengthwise. White fuzzy cap on hardwoods. <5cm.

Trametes (Lenzites) betulina - on birch, pale, concentric, thinner too. Susceptible to algae. <10cm. Representing a tough polypore that evolved gills, the opposite of Schizophyllum.

Gloeophyllum sepiarium - red or orange brown hairy cap. Distant gills. <10cm. In the Gloeophyllales with Neolentinus.

G. trabeum - smooth cap, crowded gills.

Trichaptum laricinum - purple gills underside when young, resembles T. biforme. On conifers.

These look very much like regular gilled mushrooms growing on wood. Panus has smooth gill edges (the hardest one to identify as "odd"), Neolentinus has serrated gills. Some of them are tough. The gills are usually decurrent. They are all rarely encountered, with N. lepideus, N. ponderosus and P. conchatus possibly being the least uncommon. The sizes range from small (5cm) medium (10cm) to large (15cm), while Neolentinus ponderosus may be 50cm across!

Panus conchatus - large, brown cap, young gills purple (fading), young cap and stem felty, like one Tapinella. Hardwood.

Lentinus neostrigosus (strigosus) ('Panus rudis') - large, hairy capped, also purple when fresh. Hardwood.

Neolentinus lepideus - serrated gills, medium, partial veil, scaly cap. In the Gloeophyllales.

Neolentinus ponderosus - serrated gills, possibly huge, scaly cap. One of our largest mushrooms! No veil.

Neolentinus kauffmanii - serrated gills, small. Pinkish-tan. Easily mistaken for Lentinellus or Clitocybe, as is N. adhaerens. Peppery.

Neolentinus adhaerens - serrated gills, small, covered in red-brown resin. Bitter.

Other tough gilled mushrooms to consider that are not related to the polypores are Leucopaxillus.

 

Lentinellus - also with serrated (usually decurrent) gills, but these mushrooms are soft and related to Russula and Lactarius, which makes them not actually gilled mushrooms in the strict sense. The stems are either absent, eccentric or fused together. The stems are never thicker than 5mm (unlike Neolentinus.. They are generally smaller (<5cm) but some are larger. All are uncommon. Their spores also have amyloid warts (darkening in iodine).

L. 'flabelliformis'/occidentalis/subargillaceus - small species (<3cm) with no stem or a short, lateral, stubby stem.

L. micheneri - with a stem, bitter. Small. Cap usually hygrophanous and more depressed than Neolentinus kauffmanii.

L. montanus - a large fuzzy capped stemless species growing at high elevations in the spring near snow on conifers.

L. ursinus/castoreus - similar large stemless fall species on hardwoods.

L. 'vulpinus' - large (~10cm across) species possibly with short stems clustered together? Hardwoods.

L. 'cochleatus' - smaller (<5cm) clustered species on hardwoods with cleft caps.

 

Moss dwellers: tiny (1cm or so) stem-less mushrooms found on the ground on moss, sometimes with poorly formed gills that might be mistaken for a tiny cup Ascomycota fungus. Most may be distantly related to the waxy caps, except for one oddball possibly related to some polypores! All are uncommon. Other Arrhenias are found on the Omphalinoid page.

Arrhenia acerosa - brownish grey, real gills, eccentric stem

A. lobata - only wrinkled/veined, no stem, translucent in very wet places.

A. auriscalpium - wrinkled/veined, long lateral stem

Arrhenia retiruga - white to pale grey, almost smooth underneath, stemless. Finely felty cap.

Rimbachia bryophila - very similar but purer white with better developed rudimentary gills.

Rimbachia arachnoidea/neckerae - completely smooth underneath (also white, stemless and felty capped).

Muscinupta laevis (Cyphellostereum laeve) - bright white, almost a stem, unlike A. retiruga. May be related to the Hymenochaetales.

 

Pink Spores - Also found on the Entoloma page, these species are repeated here for convenience. Not hygrophanous.

Claudopus - pink spored mushrooms found on wood or other mushrooms, sometimes with tiny eccentric or absent stems.

Claudopus byssisedus (avellaneus) - fibrillose, brown. Farinaceous. 2.5cm or so. Tufts of rhizomorphs at the base.

Clitopilus hobsonii is a similar rare "oyster", whiter.

Claudopus parasiticus - parasitic on chanterelles! Fibrillose, grey. <1cm. Tiny stem. 

 

Brown Spores - Most mushrooms in this section have regular brown spores. Some species of Melanotus have dark purple-brown spores. Mostly not hygrophanous.

Most brown spored oysters belong to Crepidotus, a common stemless group in the same family as many of the LBMs and closely related to Simocybe. Typically <5cm across, but some are even smaller (<2.5cm). Most often found on hardwoods.

C. calolepis group ('mollis') - Gelatinous cuticle, hairy cap that can be peeled off.

C. crocophyllus - Beautiful yellow gills, brown to golden fuzzy cap.

C. applanatus - white, aging to tan. Larger and hygrophanous, unlike the other nondescript white species. (<4cm). Round spores.

C. lundellii ('amygdalosporus') - also white, aging to tan, but smaller (<2cm). Usually on hardwood. Elliptical spores.

C. fusisporus/subverrucisporus/variabilis - similar but much rarer.

C. epibryus (herbarum) - very similar as well (<2cm), but a lighter brown spore print than the others and sometimes more circular. Spindle shaped spores.

C. fimbriatus - yellow-brown cap underneath the fuzz, even when fresh.

Also consider Tapinella.

Tapinella panuoides - very much like Crepidotus. <10cm, odd gills that get wavy towards the point of attachment, or fork, or have interconnected veins. On conifer logs with no stem. Possibly fibrillose. A gilled bolete.

Tapinella atrotomentosa - Growing on conifer logs, with a beautiful velvety stem. Less tough than Panus conchatus. Also a gilled bolete.

Finally, an odd brown spored mushroom - Melanotus, pale to dark brown, with a small eccentric stem, found on wood or sometimes on carpets and fabric! It may have regular brown or dark purple-brown spores. It is related to (and probably actually is) Deconica (Psilocybe) in the Strophariaceae family, although it does not really resemble it from a human point of view. When I find it, the stem, although small, often looks normal and not eccentric so you might look for it elsewhere. Dryer cap than Pholiota. Something close to adnate gills, but attachment varies. Tiny mushrooms are hard to get a spore print from, so you may even look for it on the white spored marasmioid page. Very small (<2.5cm)

Deconica (Melanotus) horizontalis (textilis) - pale to dark brown, sometimes furry cap and stem. Purple-brown spores. <2cm.

M. phillipsii/caricicola - paler, pale brown spores, not furry, on grasses and plants. <1cm.

Specimens I found today on an old kitchen scrubbie I left in the wash basin.

Very similar to Simocybe, which usually has a longer stem and a fuzzier base.

 

Since the mushrooms I have decided to group together on this page are not all related to each other, but represent at least a half a dozen separate lineages of the mushroom family tree, there is no good specialized literature for this group.

return to Pictorial Key