© Steve Trudell

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

Click here for my Pictorial Key to Hericium


Laxitextum and Dentipellis need to have their generic limits sorted out. Laxitextum bicolor and Dentipellis fragilis are the respective type species of the genera, and those are the species reported from the PNW, but many species currently called Dentipellis mingle with species of Laxitextum, so some name changes will be required. I don't know if that will affect the two type species.

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.

Hericium - click to expand

Hericium are easy to recognize as a large bundle of "icicles" attached to wood and hanging down.

Species mentioned: Hericium abietis, americanum, coralloides, erinaceus, alpestre


Dentipellis cf fragilis EU - This is a crust fungus with teeth sticking straight up. Although numerous crust fungi have teeth, in families all over the genetic tree, Dentipellis has the longest teeth, usually sticking up at least 1 cm. Rarely reported, but probably not that rare.

We need a local sequence to determine if our species is the same as the European species.

Dentipellis cf fragilis © Kim Traverse


Laxitextum 'coffeatum' NA? (aff. bicolor EU) - This is a surprising relative, as it is not dentoid at all, but remember that many families in the fungal tree of life have crusts in them. It is rare, but fairly easy to identify, usually having a dark brown, slightly hairy cap with a pale rim, and a smooth to bumpy white underside. It is often softer than most, but still tough, being monomitic (without the skeletal hyphae of the tougher dimitic polypores and crusts).

Long assumed to be Laxitextum bicolor, our one OR sequence is 7 bp and 1 indel different than most EU sequences of that EU species. Our sequence matches one other sequence that may be from eastern North America. If so, this implies that the NA species could be unique. Stereum coffeatum was described from North America but synonymized with Laxitextum bicolor. If indeed our species is unique, the name Laxitextum coffeatum is available for it.

'Laxitextum' 'coffeatum' © Bruce Newhouse

Summary of Future Studies Needed - click to expand

  • We need local sequences of Dentipellis fragilis and Laxitextum bicolor to see if ours are the real European species.
  • It would be nice to get more samples of Hericium aff coralloides to see if all of our specimens are the same species in this complex.

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