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Danny’s DNA Discoveries – Hygrophoraceae (Waxy Caps) of the PNW
by Danny Miller

Click here for my Pictorial Key to the Hygrophoraceae

Introduction - click to expand

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 - click to expand

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

Summary of Results from South Sound Mushroom Club Collections - click to expand

Steve Ness, Lauren Ré, Luca Hickey and Eric Chandler are leading a study of waxy caps with the South Sound Mycological Society and lots of the information we know about this family is coming from the collections they have been making and sequencing.

 

Cuphophyllus - click to expand

Formerly Camarophyllus, this genus is defined by interwoven gill hyphae, but without a microscope, you may recognize them by dry stems, pastel colours and decurrent gills that are widely spaced apart. Some caps are <5cm across, but others can grow up to 10cm. Other genera in the family may also have these characters, so it's best to browse this section first before moving on to find your mushroom elsewhere.

Species mentioned: Cuphophyllus borealis, virgineus, niveus, burgdorfensis, russocoriaceus, lawrencei, lacmus, subviolaceus, rainierensis, nordmanensis, cinereus, cinerellus, colemannianus, recurvatus, subradiatus, pratensis, graveolens, cremicolor

Hygrophorus - click to expand

All of these species have divergent gill hyphae. Most have a viscid cap unless noted. A viscid stem will be noted. The stems are often less colourful than the caps, but if they have a colourful stem they will usually be larger than a Hygrocybe s.l. Some have a partial veil (that never happens in the other two groups).

Species mentioned: Hygrophorus caeruleus, subalpinus, albiflavus, sordidus, penarius, siccipes, hypothejus, boyeri, purpurascens, velatus, olivaceoalbus, olivaceoalbus var. gracilis, fuscoalboides, whitei, fuscoalbus,  inocybiformis, agathosmus, agathosmoides, albofloccosus, odoratus, bakerensis, variicolor, secretanii, monticola, vinicolor, erubescens, erubescens var. gracilis, persicolor, capreolarius, amarus, russula,  piceae, eburneus, cossus, chrysaspis, glutinosus, gliocyclus, flavodiscus, melizeus forma minor, karstenii forma minor, sordidus, penarius, chrysodon, ellenae, pusillus, subpungens, goetzii, saxatilis, karstenii, pudorinus, fragrans, speciosus, speciosus var. kauffmanii, pacificus, vernalis, discoideus, occidentalis, tephroleucus, pustulatus, pustulatoides, morrisii, marzuolus, camarophyllus, calophyllus, megasporus, avellaneifolius. Clitocybe odora.

Hygrocybe s.l.

Hygrocybe s.l. have parallel gill hyphae, and both the smaller and the larger species have bright colours on the stems. They never have a partial veil. It has been decided to split this genus up into a number of other genera (including Chromosera, Gliophorus, Gloioxanthomyces and Humidicutis as well as Hygrocybe), although they are all closely related so you could argue that the split didn't need to happen. This becomes especially true because the individual genera are hard to characterize and recognize, which is less than ideal for a genus.

Hygrocybe s.l. - Chromosera - click to expand

Chromosera are viscid all over with decurrent gills. To distinguish between similar Gliophorus, Gloioxanthomyces and Hygrocybe you are looking for gills at least as brightly coloured as the stem and cap, only yellow or lilac colouration, and a stem that is not long and thin. One species grows on wood (the only species on this page that does).

Species mentioned: Chromosera cyanophylla, citrinopallida. Mycena lilacifolia.

Hygrocybe s.l. - Gloioxanthomyces - click to expand

We have one rare species in this genus here, and it is viscid and bright yellow everywhere, including in the gills, with an indented cap, decurrent gills and a very long, thin stem.

Species mentioned: Gloioxanthomyces nitidus

Hygrocybe s.l. - Humidicutis - click to expand

A rare, entirely orange (with olive colours when fresh) species with a dry cap. The gills are especially bright orange and stay orange, at least on the margins, long after the colour has faded elsewhere.

Species mentioned: Humidicutis marginata var. marginata and var. olivacea

Hygrocybe s.l. - Gliophorus s.l. - click to expand

Gliophorus species are slimy-viscid all over, sometimes with decurrent gills. To distinguish those with decurrent gills from similar Chromosera, Gloioxanthomyces and Hygrocybe, these have gills with duller colours than the cap and stem, and are never red like Hygrocybe can be (they probably lack the ability to produce betalain pigments). A famous green mushroom is found here. Gliophorus does not appear to be monophyletic, so perhaps some of the three groups will be split into additional genera.

This section also includes the mysterious 'Gliophorus' flavifolia (white with bright yellow gills) from CA whose DNA is too distant from anything else to properly place it. It could be in Gliophorus, or elsewhere, or deserve a new genus. If it is to be found in southern OR, as suspected, then we will have to worry about it and figure it out.

Species mentioned: Gliophorus psittacinus, laetus, sciophanus, irrigatus, unguinosus, flavifolius. Hygrophorus subaromaticus. Hygrocybe hondurensis, flavifolia.

Hygrocybe s.s. - click to expand

The rest of the species are still properly in Hygrocybe itself.

Species mentioned: Hygrocybe virescens, miniata, constans, squamulosa, substrangulata, phaeococcinea, reidii, cantharellus, turunda, turunda var. sphagnophila, coccineocrenata, singeri, conica, californica, persistens, cuspidata, acutoconica, acutoconica var. microspora, flavescens, chlorophana, ceracea, subceracea, coccinea, marchii, aurantiosplendens, laetissima, punicea, mucronella, reae, parvula, minutula, subminiata, fenestrata, glutinipes, constrictospora, americana, luteo-omphaloides, atro-olivacea. Gliophorus minutulus, fenestratus. Omphalina occidentalis. Hygrophorus albicarneus.

One study showed that the DNA of the following Hygrocybe species were found inside seeds in either Washington or Oregon, far away from their normal range, and never known to have fruited (so the mushrooms may never be found here).

H. chloochlora, H. nigrescens, H. occidentalis, H. papillata, H. caespitosa, H. glutinipes, H. noninquinans

Summary of Future Studies Needed

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