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

Click here for my Pictorial Key to the Squamanitaceae


These white spored mushrooms, with attached gills, resemble the free gilled 'Lepiota', and were once thought to be closely related to them (having re-evolved attached gills), but now they appear to be further away in their own family in the dark spored Agaricineae, meaning there could have been an additional event where spore pigment was lost in that sub-order (along with the events where the 'Lepiotas' and Laccaria lost their spore pigment).

Like Lepiota and allies, these usually have scales on the cap that can't be removed. All species seem to have some sort of obvious partial veil. Most are saprophytic. These genera may be difficult to differentiate from other scaly genera, like Tricholoma (which more often has specifically notched gills and usually lacks a partial veil).

Cystodermella may be off by itself and not inside this family. To complicate things further, one genus re-evolved coloured spores (or never completely lost all their pigments) - Phaeolepiota (pale yellow or orange brown spores).

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:

  • Cystoderma jasonis occurs in the PNW and has always been mistaken for C. amianthinum.
  • Cystodermella adnatifolia occurs in the PNW and has always been mistaken for C. granulosa.
  • Some species are actually species groups and some are sister species to their European counterparts that may need new names.

Cystoderma and Cystodermella - click to expand
  • small (usually <5cm), covered in granular scales on both the caps and stems, and found on the ground.
  • Most are orange to red, although white forms exist for several species. Common.

Cystoderma usually have amyloid spore walls (turning black in iodine) and Cystodermella don't. They look very much the same, but are not as closely related as you might expect. Cystodermella is not in the same family as the other "attached gilled" genera, and may be in its own family.

Species mentioned: Cystoderma amianthinum, Cystoderma jasonis, Cystoderma carcharias, Cystoderma fallax, Cystodermella granulosum, Cystodermella cinnabarina (terryi), Cystodermella adnatifolia

Phaeolepiota - click to expand
  • Notable for pale yellow to orange brown spores. This will make it difficult to place it in this family. Uncommon.
  • large size (up to 20cm or more) and orange leather-like veil that is extremely thick.

Species mentioned: Phaeolepiota aurea

Floccularia - click to expand
  • larger, stockier mushrooms than Cystoderma/Cystodermella, scaly cap and stem, found on the ground, usually with bright yellow colours.
  • the Lepiotoid genus most easily confused with Tricholoma, but uncommon.

Species mentioned: Floccularia albolanaripes, luteovirens

Leucopholiota - click to expand
  • small orange mushroom, scaly all over, with amyloid spores like Cystoderma but growing on decayed wood instead of on the ground. Rare.

Species mentioned: Leucopholiota decorosa, lignicola

Squamanita/Dissoderma - click to expand

Squamanita has now been split into Squamanita and Dissoderma, which the larger species that have purple tones being moved into Dissoderma. If they were not split, Leucopholiota would have to move into Squamanita. They are very rare, very cool parasites on other mushrooms that seem to turn the mushroom into a hybrid, with the attacked mushroom on the bottom half and the purple-grey Dissoderma on the top. We do not have any known Squamanita in the PNW, only Dissoderma.

Species mentioned: Dissoderma paradoxum, contortipes, pearsonii, odoratum


Summary of Future Studies Needed

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