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Danny’s DNA Discoveries – Marasmiaceae of the PNW (Marasmiineae)
by Danny Miller

Click here for my Pictorial Key to the Marasmioids, where most Marasmiaceae are found.


Those species currently officially in the Marasmiaceae contain, not surprisingly, mostly species of marasmioid stature, but also a few of pleurotoid (oyster) stature. The Omphalotaceae family (which should probably be considered part of this family) contains most of the other marasmioid stature mushrooms, so most marasmioid mushrooms do fall in an expanded definition of the Marasmiaceae, which genetically, should probably include the Omphalotaceae. Especially since Campanella appears to be outside what is currently defined as the Marasmiaceae s.s. and closer to the Omphalotaceae. It appears that it might be best if the Marasmiaceae and the Omphalotaceae are considered one big Marasmiaceae family.

Unfortunately, there's not much rhyme nor reason to identifying the vast multitude of miscellaneous white spored mushrooms to family, as many mushrooms in different families and even sub-orders lack distinctive traits, so they have to be learned individually. Marasmiaceae mushrooms may have a tough, cartilaginous stem and quite distant gills. Marasmius itself is especially noteworthy for its ability to dry out and revive again when wet. A protective substance seems to keep the cells from being damaged when the mushroom is desiccated, so when it re-moistens, it can revive back to a healthy state.

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

Marasmius - click to expand

Capable of drying out and reviving, typically with widely spaced gills and tough stems. Note that this describes other genera in other families in this sub-order as well.

Species mentioned: Marasmius cohaerens, limosus, oreades, plicatulus, tremulae.
Species no longer found in Marasmius: M. caricis, caricicola, epidryas, undatus, epiphyllus (see Physalacriaceae)

Crinipellis - click to expand

Crinipellis have matted hairs on the cap and a tough, thin dark stem. I should note that my ITS only tree shows that Crinipellis may be inside of Marasmius with 78% probability, but I believe other more robust studies may show it does indeed deserve its own genus. I await a more robust multi-gene study.

Species mentioned: Crinipellis piceae, scabella, setipes.

Campanella/Tetrapyrgos - click to expand

Typically thought of as pleurotoid on stems with rudimentary cross-veined folds, but also contains the former Marasmiellus candidus, also found on stems. Genetically, you could think of all of these as Campanella, although some may split them into several genera. As noted in the introduction, this genus may not belong in this family.

Species mentioned: Marasmiellus candidus, Tetrapyrgos subdendrophora.


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