© Sharon Godkin

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

Click here for my Pictorial Key to Lentinellus


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

There is an impressive amount of morphologic diversity in this family - some gilled mushrooms, a toothed toothpick fungus and some coral.

Lentinellus - click to expand

This family has a genus of gilled mushrooms, less common than Russula and Lactarius in the core Russulaceae family of the Russulales. They are most easily mistaken for Neolentinus, in an order of polypores, which have central, thick-fleshed stems.

  • grow on wood
  • white spore print
  • gills have serrated edges
  • stems absent or eccentric or fused together, otherwise thin and cartilaginous. Never more than 5 mm thick (unlike Neolentinus).
  • Always a boring shade of brown.

The species are told apart by size (caps usually <3 cm vs ~10 cm), whether or not there is a stem and if those stems all fuse together.


Auriscalpium aff vulgare

This common little toothpick fungus is a tough, woody toothed mushroom with a long stem that comes out of the side of the cap. It grows on conifer cones. Two WA sequences, an OR sequence and an ID sequence all match each other but are 3% different than the numerous sequences made in Europe, so our species likely needs a new name.


Auriscalpium aff vulgare © Steve Trudell


Artomyces are club and coral fungi found on conifer logs that have "crown" tips. By crown tips, I mean around the perimeter of the top of each branch, a half dozen or fewer teeth or star-like points might arise (see the detail in the photos). Corals appear in several other orders, but with different branch tips. The exception is Clavicorona taxiphila, which is more singularly club-like than any Artomyces, with somewhat similar tips (more wavy around the perimeter than pointy) found on the ground or small twigs that is unrelated to the Russulales but in the basal Clavariaceae family of the Agaricales.


Artomyces piperatus

This is a rare coral. Described from Washington. The DNA we have is from BC and Alaska, probably representing this species. It is supposedly only on conifers in the PNW, so the California species on hardwood may be different.

Artomyces cf piperatus on CA oak © Alan Rockefeller


Artomyces cristatus

This is a rare club that sometimes has a few branches like coral, but isn't nearly as branched as Artomyces piperatus. Described from Oregon but we have DNA from California that probably represents this species. It is also on conifers.

probable Artomyces cristatus © iNaturalist user lstrandjord


Artomyces divaricatus

This is a coral that is probably incorrectly placed in Artomyces, as the tips are not crowned and the microscopy is too different. The current consensus is that it is a species of Lentaria. We need collections to find out.

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