© Noah Siegel

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Danny’s DNA Discoveries – gilled Rickenellaceae of the PNW (Hymenochaetales)
by Danny Miller

Click here for my Pictorial Key to the Rickenellaceae.


This is a family of gilled mushrooms (shown here) and clubs/fan corals (shown separately) in an order whose macrofungi are mostly polypores. These are brightly coloured (orange, purple or pink) omphalinoid moss/liverwort dwelling gilled mushrooms. It certainly was a surprise to learn that this group of gilled mushrooms are most closely related to the "other" order of polypores, the Hymenochaetales. It represents yet another example of convergent evolution.

Rickenella - small, slender, fragile, long-stemmed orange or purple moss dwelling omphalinoids covered in cystidia on the cap and stem.

Loreleia - very similar orange omphalinoids perhaps with paler stems on liverworts, but lacking cystidia.

Contumyces - a pinkish moss dwelling omphalinoid.

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.

Click here to download the FASTA data of all my DNA sequences


Rickenella fibula EU - somewhat bright orange. EU sequences may vary by 1/2 %, and some eastern NA sequences by up to 1%, but almost a dozen local sequences are within 1/2 % of most EU sequences.

Rickenella mellea EU - not known from the PNW before sequencing, paler orange, less prominent cystidia and perhaps larger spores. Our one WA sequence is only a couple bp from three EU sequences and some ENA sequences.

Rickenella schwartzii EU - purple! (Either all purple or sometimes also with orange. I don't know why purple and orange seem to go together as in Laccaria). CA and WA sequences match a half dozen EU and ENA sequences quite well.

Rickenella fibula © Jacob Kalichman,     R. mellea © Luca Hickey,     R. swartzii © Noah Siegel


Loreleia cf postii EU - orange, pale stem, somewhat larger than Rickenella fibula, on liverworts with less prominent cystidia. The similar Hygrocybe cantharellus has a scaly cap. We need sequences of this. The only purported collection that was sequenced was an LSU sequence and it was inside the genus Omphalina. Since this is the type species of the genus, we need sequences to anchor it with the other species.

Loreleia marchantiae EU - much like Rickenella fibula but on liverworts with less prominent cystidia.  Our one WA collection matches an EU type area sequence, and perhaps an ENA sequence, so this species appears to be widespread.

possible Loreleia postii © Andrew Parker,     L. marchantiae © Regina Johnson and Autumn Anglin (2 images)


Contumyces rosellus EU group - pinkish omphalinoids on moss. Contumyces seems to have been erroneously moved to Loreleia, as the genetics seem to bear out that it belongs in its own genus, so that is how I am treating it.

PNW01 - We don't have EU sequences but a California and Australian sequence match, along with a short WA sequence

PNW02 - two WA sequences match an east coast sequence, not the above. We need EU type area sequences to see which species is the real one, and probably a new name for the other.

Contumyces 'rosellus PNW01' and 'rosellus PNW02' © Danny Miller and Yi-Min Wang


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