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Danny’s DNA Discoveries – Laccaria and Hydnangium of the PNW
by Danny Miller

Click here for my Pictorial Key to Laccaria

Introduction - click to expand

Laccaria have white spores (they lost their spore pigment and are actually inside the brown spored sub-order Agaricineae). They have somewhat waxy-looking, well spaced gills that make you think of the waxy caps. The caps are dry, somewhat hygrophanous and scaly which might make you think of Lepiota, but the gills are always attached. It's hard to describe, but you will soon be able to easily identify them by the fact that they are always orange or purple (or orange and purple) with tough, rough fibrous stems. They are also distinguished by spiny spores under the microscope. They are usually <5cm across, but some grow larger. All of the species that can possibly have purple tones appear to be related in a clade together. They are mycorrhizal, usually with conifers in the pine family and often with hardwoods like birch and willow as well.

Summary of Interesting Results

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

  • We appear to have additional unnamed species to discover (DNA of 6 distinct unknown species have been recorded).
  • We still need reliable sequences of Laccaria montana, both from the EU and here. I would also like to sequence local collections of Laccaria tortilis.
  • Laccaria laccata is not as common here as once thought; Laccaria bicolor is more abundant.

Species with purple - click to expand

The purple tones may be restricted to the mycelium at the base of the stem, and only when fresh.

Species mentioned: Laccaria amethysteo-occidentalis, nobilis, bicolor

Species without purple - click to expand

Species mentioned: Laccaria proxima, tortilis, laccata, montana, pumilla


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