© Kit Scates Barnhart

Back to Main Menu

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

Click here for my Pictorial Key to Lyophyllum, etc.


Unfortunately evolution did not make any uniting feature of this family easy to recognize. The one thing that unites many of them is siderophilous granules in the basidia, which means if you heat a section of gill in acetocarmine, parts of the basidia turn black under a microscope. Needless to say, this is not easy to detect, so no key is going to be able to lead you reliably to this page, and the effect is not even found in every species.

A great paper on how this family is arranged, by Bellanger et. al., can be found here.

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:

  • we have a sense of how many species of "fried chicken" Lyophyllum and blackening Lyophyllum species are common in the PNW now, if not what all of their names are.
  • species in new genera have been discovered: unnamed species of Gerhardtia, Tephroderma as well as the fact that one of our species resembling Clitocybe subditopoda may need a novel genus name of its own.
  • Clitocybe albirhiza belongs in Rhizocybe, and a new species, Rhizocybe rhizoides has shown up in the last few years.
  • Clitocybe salmonilamella needs to be moved to Leucocybe.
  • Several species belong to new genera that haven't been named yet.

Lyophyllum - click to expand

Greasy capped, white spored, boring greyish-brown mushrooms in two distinct subgenera - either usually large clustered mushrooms or with flesh blackening in age.

Species mentioned: Lyophyllum decastes, shimeji, loricatum, semitale

Rhizocybe - click to expand

Spring fruiting, usually funnel shaped "Clitocybes" (strongly decurrent gills and indented caps) with abundant rhizomorphs at the base of the stem.

Species mentioned: Rhizocybe vermicularis subsp. americanus, Rhizocybe rhizoides, Clitocybe albirhiza, Rhizocybe pruinosa

Calocybe - click to expand

Colourful Lyophyllums (purple, orange and pink). Most others in the family are boring grey-brown. Attempts to split into Rugosomyces are unnecessary, all these species are related and belong properly in Calocybe.

Species mentioned: Calocybe onychina, fallax, naucoria, carnea, persicolor

Asterophora - click to expand

Small parasitic agarics on Russula and Lactarius, either with no gills (very rudimentary) or with more widely spaced gills than the similar 'Collybia'. They may have powdery caps full of asexual spores.

Species mentioned: Asterophora lycoperdoides, parasitica

Hypsizygus and Ossicaulis - click to expand

Large, wood inhabiting species.

Species mentioned: Hypsizygus tessulatus, Hypsizygus marmoreus, Ossicaulis lignatilis

Atractosporocybe/Tephroderma/etc. - click to expand

Greyish-white clitocybes, difficult to otherwise characterize. Clitocybe sclerotoidea, microscopically similar with large, chalky greyish-white mushrooms and clumps of sclerotia growing parasitically on Helvella probably belongs in Atractosporcybe.

Species mentioned: Atractosporocybe inornata subsp. occidentalis, Tephroderma fuscopallens, Clitocybe subditopoda, Clitocybe sclerotoidea

Gerhardtia - click to expand

Our one known unnamed species has a greasy, medium brown cap and white stem, and could be mistaken for Rhodocollybia butyracea, but the gills are very crowded and not at all serrated.

Leucocybe - click to expand

Some white Clitocybes turned out to be more closely related to Lyophyllum and were moved , but which ones? Unfortunately, there's no good morphological way to tell them apart. You just have to learn them. Some are chalky white with a removable bloom.

Species mentioned: Leucocybe candicans, Clitocybe tenuissima, Leucocybe connata, Clitocybe dilatata, Leucocybe salmonilamella

Tephrocybe/Sphagnurus/Sagaranella - click to expand

Small hard to identify white spored mushrooms.

Species mentioned: Tephrocybe rancida, Sphagnurus paluster, Tephrocybe palustris, Sagaranella tylicolor

More New Genera - click to expand

These are going to be hard to recognize as the genus probably does not have a name yet in all cases.

Species mentioned: Lyophyllum turcicum, Clitocybe thujana


Back to Main Menu