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Danny’s DNA Discoveries – Cyphellaceae s.l. of the PNW (Marasmiineae)
by Danny Miller

Click here for my Pictorial Key to the pleurotoid and mycenoid statures, where many of these species are found.


The Cyphellaceae s.l. include some more primitive shaped crust and cup mushrooms growing on wood (usually cups are ascos, not basidios), as well as many gilled mushrooms of pleurotoid (eccentric stems on wood) and mycenoid (conical on the ground or wood) stature (as well as a few collybioids).

Many other genera in many other families meet this family's identification criteria as well. Unfortunately, there's not much rhyme nor reason to identifying the vast multitude of miscellaneous white spored mushrooms to family, as many mushrooms in different families and even sub-orders lack distinctive traits, so they have to be learned individually.

Although an ITS tree might show these genera intermingling with the Porotheleaceae, an LSU tree in a 2022 study shows the two families as separate. They are at least close sister families to each other, and I don't think we've heard the final word on if they should be kept separate or combined into one big family.

abundant common uncommon rare - colour codes match my Pictorial Key and are my opinions and probably reflect my bias of living in W WA. Rare species may be locally common in certain places at certain times.

Summary of Interesting Results

Here are some of the newest, most interesting results of the study:

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Crust and Cups (Chondrostereum, Calyptella, Cyphella, Henningsomyces, Rectipilus) - click to expand

Crust - Chondrostereum has a reflexed cap and a purple underside.

Cup - Calyptella - tiny white cups (several mm across) with a short stem on wood. 'Hemimycena 3' is closely related.

            Cyphella - tiny white stemless cups on wood, perhaps with a hairy margin.

            Henningsomyces is a cluster of minute (<1 mm across) white tubes growing on wood. A few Henningsomyces sequences show up in a different family, so it's possible that this genus needs to be split, but it looks like our species are true Henningsomyces and will not be affected. See also Rectipilus, next.

            Rectipilus are similar, little known minute white tube/cups with hairs that are easier to see. This is another controversial genus. Sequences that may be of the type species of Rectipilus and sequences that may be our local species, Rectipilus idahoensis, mix in with Henningsomyces sequences, so Rectipilus may not deserve its own genus and those species may be moved to Henningsomyces. Other species of Rectipilus, though, may need moving to a new genus, like other species of Henningsomyces. This still needs to be sorted out with type sequences. See this paper.

Most cups are Ascomycota. The only other Basidiomycota cups are found in the Niaceae.

Species mentioned: Chondrostereum purpureum. Henningsomyces candidus, puber. Calyptella capula. Rectipilus idahoensis. Cyphella marginata.


Pleurotoid (Cheimonophyllum and Scytinotus) - click to expand

These are the pleurotoid species in the family, on hardwoods with a short, stubby lateral stem.

Cheimonophyllum is a tiny, dry, chalky white oyster with hyphoid cheilocystidia.

Scytinotus (formerly in Pleurotopsis and Panellus) are small, sometimes pinkish oysters that may be viscid, with amyloid spores, not readily told apart from Panellus.

Species mentioned: Cheimonophyllum candidissimum, haedinum. Scytinotus longinquus, ringens. Pleurotopsis longinqua. Panellus ringens.

Atheniella - click to expand

Atheniella and the very difficult to differentiate Phloeomana, below, were both separated from Mycena on the basis of having inamyloid spores (and simple cystidia). Atheniella have long been thought of as colourful, but the all white former 'Hemimycena' delectabilis is here now too, with well developed cheilocystidia and no pigment, so we now know they don't all have simple cystidia nor are they all colourful. Conversely, the colourful inamyloid 'Mycena' acicula seems like it should belong here, but it is closer to the currently all-white genus Hemimycena. Hemimycena and its segregate genera are going to be difficult to differentiate as well.

Species mentioned: Atheniella adonis, amabilissima, fusipes, flavoalba, aurantiidisca. Hemimycena delectabilis.

Hemimycena s.l. - click to expand

Very small mycenoids (after all, the name does mean "half of a Mycena") with inamyloid spores, supposedly all white. These do not include some all white mushrooms that are real Mycenas, which have either a basal disc at the base of the stem or a thorny/hairy/sugary appearance (and amyloid spores). This genus needs to be split and all of the genera will be difficult to distinguish from the other genera that were split from Mycena for having inamyloid spores, including Atheniella and Phloeomana.

'Mycena' acicula, one of the smallest colourful Mycenas with inamyloid spores, belongs near the true Hemimycena and is treated here, although it is not yet certain if it will get its own genus or end up in Hemimycena.

'Hemimycena' delectabilis was moved to Atheniella.

Other 'Hemimycena' need moving to either new genera and/or perhaps an expanded Phloeomana and/or Calyptella. Many others are still unknown.

Mycenella needs moving into Hemimycena s.s. to avoid splitting Hemimycena. It is covered below.

Species mentioned: Hemimycena albicolor, albidula, cyphelloides, delectabilis, gracilis (Helotium immaculata, Omphalia papillata), hirsuta, lactea (delicatella), leucophaea, mauretanica, nebulophila, pseudocrispula, subimmaculata (albissima, macmurphyi), substellata, tortuosa. Atheniella delectabilis.

Phloeomana, Mycena oregonensis and Mycenella - click to expand

Phloeomana was also separated from Mycena on the basis of inamyloid spores and simple cystidia, just like Atheniella, but are genetically different. (The various Hemimycena genera are difficult to distinguish as well). Our species is recognized by a pale grey pleated cap, a few decurrent gills and hairs at the base of a stem that may have a hint of yellow.

Hemimycena2, Hemimycena4 are near Phloeomana, and may be included in an expanded definition of Phloeomana.

'Mycena' oregonensis is also near Phloeomana, and may be included in an expanded definition of Phloeomana. It is entirely orange with orange marginate gills.

'Mycenella' has warty inamyloid spores (like Gamundia), and is hoary/pruinose over the entire fruitbody. Our species has a rooting stem and red staining gills. It is inside Hemimycena, so either that needs to be split (probably not) or Mycenella will be moved into an expanded definition of Hemimycena.

Species mentioned: Phloeomana speirea, alba, hiemalis. Mycena oregonensis. Mycenella nodulosa.

Mycopan - click to expand

Hard to separate from Mycena, also possessing amyloid spores. Hydropus, which was split from Mycena for often possessing a different cap cuticle, was split again when some species turned out to belong in this family instead of with the other Hydropus. 'Hydropus' pseudotenax (similar to Mycopan scabripes) and 'Mycena' quinialtensis (a dark, viscid 'Mycena') belong here. Note that Leucoinocybe is also hard to distinguish from Hydropus and Mycopan.

Species mentioned: Mycopan scabripes. Hydropus pseudotenax. Mycena quinialtensis.

Baeospora - click to expand

Small crowded gilled collybioids. One small species grows on conifer cones like Strobilurus but has a uniform pink stem (and more crowded gills). The second not-so-small species is a lilac-tan mushroom on wood.

Species mentioned: Baeospora myosura, myriadophylla.

Pleurella - click to expand

Pointy cap and rooting stem like the brown spored Phaeocollybia. Rhodocollybia and Paraxerula are also white spored and have long rooting stems but perhaps not as pointy a cap.

Species mentioned: Caulorhiza umbonata, hygrophoroides. Pleurella microspora.


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