Danny’s DNA Discoveries – Auriscalpiaceae of the PNW
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.
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.
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.
Lentinellus occidentalis/subargillaceus/cf flabelliformis
These uncommon small species (<3 cm across) either have no stem or a very short, stubby lateral stem. They are not sister species and differ microscopically.
Lentinellus occidentalis is described from WA, and we have the type sequence, so we know what it is. Its ITS DNA is somewhat similar to other species from different parts of the world - L. cystidiatus and L. novae-zealandiae.
Lentinellus subargillaceus is described from OR. We have a CA sequence of a mushroom that looks like it could be it, but we need more reliable data than that or a type sequence.
Lentinellus flabelliformis is described from Europe, and there's no consensus on what sequence represents the real thing. We have no local sequences to compare to Europe so we really don't know if we have this species here or not. We need collections and better ways to tell these three apart.
Lentinellus flabelliformis 'group' © A and O Ceska
A small species (<5 cm across) with a fully formed central to off-centre stem that is thin and cartilaginous, unlike species of Neolentinus which have thicker, fleshy stems. Bitter/peppery tasting.
This uncommon eastern NA species is found out here and in Europe as well, as the DNA appears to match everywhere.
Lentinellus micheneri © Michael Beug
Lentinellus aff cochleatus
This rare small species (<5 cm across) grows in clusters with the long, thin stems fused together. The caps may be cleft (cochleate). Reportedly only on hardwoods.
It is a European mushroom where several sisters species are going by that name, and some more sister species are back east. We don't have a local sequence, but when we do, I doubt ours will just happen to be whichever one is declared the "real thing". There is an available east coast name, Lentinellus umbilicatus, described by Peck from NY, for one of their species. We just need to see which (if any) species our local one is.
Lentinellus aff cochleatus © Jens Petersen www.mycokey.com
Lentinellus cf 'vulpinus'
This uncommon large species (~10 cm across) has eccentric stems that are fused together. It grows on hardwoods.
It is a European species and our sequences do not at all match the few European sequences that purport to be it. Our species that looks like L. vulpinus probably needs a new name.
Lentinellus cf 'vulpinus' © Kit Scates Barnhart
This uncommon large species (~10 cm across) is stemless and grows at high elevations in the spring near snowmelt on conifers.
It was described from Idaho and is more common inland, there and in Montana. We don't have a type sequence, but we have reliable sequences from OK Miller, the original collector and describer. Interestingly, it is more closely related to the smaller species than it is to its lookalike, L. ursinus. It is monomitic, like the smaller species, which means it's not as tough fleshed as the other large species. These microscopic textural differences are more important phylogenetically than size.
Lentinellus montanus © Steve Trudell
Lentinellus ursinus/cf castoreus
These very similar uncommon large (~10 cm across) species are also usually stemless but usually grows in fall on hardwoods. They differ a bit by shape, taste and microscopically.
Lentinellus ursinus is a European species with lots of sequences that all match very well to our own sequences, so it does occur here.
Lentinellus castoreus is another European species with a couple of sequences to compare to, but no local sequences yet to determine if we really have this species or not. California sequences are 2% different than Europe, so it's a fair bet that the PNW has an unnamed sister species, if it is found here. We need local collections.
Lentinellus ursinus © Kit Scates Barnhart
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.
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
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
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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