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Danny’s DNA Discoveries – Deconica of the PNW
by Danny Miller

Click here for my Pictorial Key to Deconica


Deconica - this portion of the large Hymenogastraceae family (or perhaps it should be called a super-family) are usually small LBMs, have dark purple-brown spores, a viscid, hygrophanous cap, and unlike the very similar Psilocybe, do not turn blue when injured (lacking the hallucinogen psilocybin). They are usually smaller and more drab coloured than the similar Stropharia (brown or olive brown instead of yellow brown) which are not hygrophanous. See the Psilocybe page for more details of the nomenclature.

Melanotus -  somewhat of an oyster style mushroom, with a small, somewhat eccentric stem, found on wood or sometimes on carpets and textiles! Pale to dark brown. It has a dry cap, and may have regular brown instead of dark purple-brown spores, so it was a real surprise to find that it clades inside of Deconica. Strict rules on monophyly say that it can't therefore keep its own genus, but it is still useful to think of these very different species as their own genus, like Leucocoprinus inside of Leucoagaricus.

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

Summary of Interesting Results

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

  • TBD


Deconica (Melanotus) horizontalis EU - dark brown cap cuticle not peeling, spore print brownish. Found both on textiles and wood. Two OR sequences match an EU sequence, but we should sequence both textile and wild sequences as well as more EU type area sequences to make sure.

Deconica (Melanotus) phillipsii UK - pale grey cap cuticle not peeling, spore print purple-brown. Found on grasses and sedges. I have no sequences of this yet.

Deconica (Melanotus) caricicola UK - brown cap cuticle is peelable, spore print purple-brown. Found on grasses and sedges. We have one sequence perhaps from Eastern Canada that could be this species, but we need both EU and local sequences.

Deconica horizontalis © Paul Kroeger and Danny Miller


Deconica montana EU - Our most common species is found on moss and does not have a peelable cap cuticle. Many EU sequences match WA and OR sequences.

Deconica aff. montana - One OR collection sequences 2% different and may be a sister species.

Deconica sp. - the only other sequenced collections we have are this, but I don't know what the species is because I don't have a lot of reliable Deconica sequences to compare to. It is probably one of the dung species below.

Deconica montana © Steve Trudell


Deconica inqulina EU - a species in rotting grass long reported from the PNW and now finally verified from WA by DNA to match 18 or so EU sequences.

Deconica inquilina © Yi-Min Wang


Other Dung species - we need sequences from the type areas and locally to figure out what they are and which are found here. They are best distinguished microscopically.

Deconica angustispora WA -

Deconica argentina Argentina -

Deconica coprophila EU -

Deconica merdaria EU -

Deconica moelleri OR -

Deconica subcoprophila EU -


Other Non-dung species - some are still in Psilocybe and because they haven't been noticed bluing, we hypothesize they belong in Deconica but we need sequences to prove it. Also best distinguished microscopically.

Deconica crobula EU - this is either a close relative of, or the same as, Deconica inquilina.

Deconica phyllogena NY (=rhombispora EU) - we have a few ENA sequences of this

Psilocybe apelliculosa UK -

Psilocybe laticystis OR -

Psilocybe sabulosa KS -

Psilocybe subborealis ID -


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