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Danny’s DNA Discoveries – Psathyrella s.l. of the PNW
by Danny Miller

Click here for my Pictorial Key to Psathyrella s.l.

Lacrymaria - click to expand

These species are often more sturdy and less fragile, with a well developed veil, rough spores and cap hairs/scales that don't rub off (like the smooth spored and not quite as stocky Cystoagaricus). Often, water drops form on the gills edges (Lacrymaria means "tears"). It is necessary to separate this from Psathyrella, or the entire family would be one genus, inky caps and non-inky caps together.

Species mentioned: Lactrymaria lacrymabunda, velutina, echiniceps, subcinnamomea, rigidipes

Homophron - click to expand

These species never have any veils (neither a partial veil nor a universal veil leaving material on the cap or stem), the spore colour is pale for the family (never black) and the cystidia are metuloids (thick walled with crystals, like many Inocybe). Our common local species is a large, stocky, clustered species growing on wood. Species of Psathyrella grow in clusters too, but are either found on the ground, or if on wood, have darker spore prints and a veil. It is necessary to separate Homophron from Psathyrella, or the entire family would be one genus, inky caps and non-inky caps together.

Species mentioned: Homophron spadiceum (Psathyrella spadicea), Psathyrella variata, Psathyrella sublateritia, Homophron camptopodum (Psathyrella camptopoda, Psathyrella camptopus), Homophron naucoria (Psathyrella naucoria), Homophron naucorioides (Psathyrella naucoriodes)

Non-inky Inky Caps - click to expand

As we've already seen, the inky caps are not all one clade in this family, and the ability to deliquesce has flipped on and off several times, requiring both the non-inking genus Psathyrella and the inking genus Coprinus to be split up. But even within the inky genera Parasola and Coprinopsis, some species have lost their ability to deliquesce and individual species will not ink. Here they are, because you will probably look for them in Psathyrella. They mostly have large spores. The sturdy Coprinopsis species are easy to recognize because usually, only the much smaller and more delicate true Psathyrella species have spores that big.

Genera mentioned: Coprinopsis, Parasola
Species mentioned: Psathyrella longipes, Psathyrella fragilissima, Psathyrella elwhaensis, Coprinopsis uliginicola (Psathyrella uliginicola), Coprinopsis canoceps (Psathyrella canoceps), Parasola conopilea (Psathyrella conopilea)

Psathyrella s.s. - click to expand

Here is a list of the species we have type (or other reliable) sequences of, know what genetic section they belong to, and are probably true distinct species.

Little known Psathyrellas - click to expand

Species nobody knows anything about, but have been reported by Smith and/or others from the PNW (in alphabetical order). The ones that aren't rare have been coloured in, and should be studied first.

Candolleomyces - click to expand

No pleurocystidia, although pleurocystidia in Psathyrella may be very hard to find. Learn the species, as the genus is hard to describe. The common one is honey coloured, a bit brighter than the usual greys, and can be identified by colour alone. This genus and the following ones were separated to avoid paraphyly if Coprinellus s.l. is removed. You could be forgiven for still thinking of them as a kind of Psathyrella.

Species mentioned: Candolleomyces candolleanus (Psathyrella candolleana), Psathyrella hymenocephala, Psathyrella roguiana, Candolleomyces typhae (Psathyrella typhae), Psathyrella singeri, Psathyrella incerta

Britzelmayria - click to expand

Growing in large clusters on the ground, not wood, with rooting stems that often fuse. It has large spores and very little veil material (probably never visible) unlike the similar clustered but wood inhabiting Psathyrella piluliformis.

Species mentioned: Britzelmayria multipedata (Psathyrella multipedata)

Typrhrasa and Kauffmania - click to expand

The definitions of these genera are pretty obscure - in Typhrasa the cystidia have large refractive globules, and in Kauffmania the spores are rather pale without a discernable germ pore. Our one species in each genus are hard to differentiate from our many Psathyrellas.

Species mentioned: Typhrasa gossypina (Psathyrella gossypina), Psathyrella delineata, Psathyrella canadensis, Kauffmania larga (Psathyrella larga)

Cystoagaricus - click to expand

Large, wood inhabiting species with a hairy/scaly cap and odd-shaped spores. Like Lacrymaria, the scales are not removable. Lacrymaria usually has warty spores, while these have smooth spores. Also, Lacrymaria is not wood inhabiting and is usually stockier, from what I can tell.

Species mentioned: Cystoagaricus hirtosquamulosus (Psathyrella hirtosquamulosus), Psathyrella lepidotoides, Cystoagaricus weberi (Psathyrella weberi)


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