These are all saprophytic. This page
describes those mushrooms obviously belonging to the Stropharia family (rather
dark brown spores or with a purple tint), others
like Pholiota and
Agrocybe with more "regular" brown spores are covered separately.
|A tiny "LBM" on fabric (or sometimes wood) with a very dark spore print might be Melanotus.|
Key to Strophariaceae:
Stropharia - usually viscid cap, not hygrophanous, usually found on the ground, dung or in grass (and rarely on wood). They all have a partial veil, sometimes leaving a ring and sometimes just leaving a ring zone. Usually medium to large size (bigger than Deconica). The smaller species that could be confused with Deconica have a hemispherical yellow cap, and similar Hypholomas are not usually viscid.
S. ambigua - bright yellow cap, white fluffy veil material everywhere (washes off) not present on the similar, smaller Leratiomyces percevalii. No real ring, big, <15cm.
S. albivelata - warm brown spore print, might be sought on that page. <8cm. Red brown, ring.
These small, hemispherical yellow Stropharias with long viscid stems in grass and dung are unrelated and have been moved, or will be moved, to a new genus, Protostropharia. They are all <5cm, but Psilocybe and Deconica do not have round yellow caps. Hypholoma is very similar, but not usually viscid.
P. semiglobata grp (incl. P. dorispora) - in dung. Long viscid stem. Similar to Agrocybe pediades. <5cm.
P. umbonatescens - pointy umbonate cap, resembling Psilocybe but yellower.
Leratiomyces - another group recently separated from Stropharia, containing several yellow to orange-red species. They are not usually viscid.
L. percevalii (riparius) - dull yellow, <9cm, smaller than S. ambigua, no fluffy veil material, weak veil, smooth stem.
L. magnivelaris - stronger ring? Probably the same species.
Hemistropharia - red-orange to dark brown with scaly cap and stem. Brown spores like Pholiota. Probably actually in the Inocybaceae clade.
Hypholoma - (formerly known as
Naematoloma) - non-viscid caps separate these from all the others
H. fasciculare - yellow-green young gills, bitter, clustered on logs.
H. lateritium - brick red caps clustered on logs.
H. tuberosum - sclerotium (nutrient ball) at the base of the stem, as in the paler spored Agrocybe arvalis. But with a cobweb veil and without white mycelium. A single nursery in Sydney shipped peat around the world, spreading this Australian native everywhere.
I'm afraid these next species (and others not included here) are very nondescript and difficult to identify as Hypholoma, never mind to differentiate macroscopically, but let's have a go.
H. elongatum (elongatipes) - found in Sphagnum moss, a little more yellowish cap than the others? Somewhat hygrophanous.
Psilocybe - viscid capped mushrooms mostly with a peelable cap cuticle, which can separate them from Hypholoma, and hygrophanous, which can separate them from Stropharia. Small mushrooms (usually <5cm but sometimes bigger) that grow on the ground, grass, gardens or dung but mostly in wood chips unless noted. They have a veil that is often cobwebby like the cortina of Cortinarius that may or may not leave a ring on the stem. They often smell farinaceous. The larger ones can be mistaken for Stropharia but the colour and shape is usually different. They are infamous for parts that can stain blue-green due to the presence of psilocybin and psilocin, the hallucinogenic substances that give these their nickname "magic mushrooms". Psilocybin may also be found in some Pluteus, Conocybe, Inocybe, Gymnopilus and Panaeolus but by far most of the hallucinogenic species are found in Psilocybe. The non-active species are called Psilocybe by some authors, but DNA evidence has shown them not to be that closely related, so they are getting their own genus, Deconica. Unfortunately, you may have to admire these from a distance because possession of anything that contains these substances in the U.S. is a federal offense. People have died accidentally eating deadly poisonous lookalikes like Galerina and Conocybe. They are very difficult to tell apart.
P. semilanceata - conehead, mostly in grass, <2.5cm. Similar to Stropharia umbonatescens.
Deconica - very much like Psilocybe, and once considered Psilocybe, but they do not stain blue anywhere because they do not contain psilocybin, so they have been (or will be) moved into Deconica. Viscid capped, hygrophanous mushrooms mostly with a peelable cap cuticle, which can separate them from Hypholoma and Stropharia. Small mushrooms (usually <2.5cm unless noted) that grow on the ground, wood chips, grass, gardens or dung. They have a veil that is often cobwebby like the cortina of Cortinarius that may or may not leave a ring on the stem. They are very difficult to tell apart, so which species are here and how common they are is not well understood.
D. angustispora (Psilocybe angustispora) - very similar, on dung, much smaller <1cm. Not yet officially moved to Deconica.