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

Click here for my Pictorial Key to Xeromphalina.


Xeromphalina is currently thought to be in an unknown family in the Marasmiineae sub-order, which probably means it needs its own family designation as it has not yet been shown to be close enough to any other existing family. They are usually omphalinoid in stature (small and slender with often indented caps and decurrent gills) with orange-brown caps and the dark, almost black stems characteristic of many other Marasmiineae genera. Except for one non-omphalinoid species without decurrent gills and without an indented cap, sometimes separated into its own genus, Heimiomyces, they are easy to learn to recognize as a genus.

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.

Xeromphalina (Heimiomyces)

Xeromphalina campanella EU - clustered on conifer logs. Mild taste. Said to be the more cold weather species.

Xeromphalina enigmatica EU - practically identical, and only discovered through DNA. Said to be the more temperate weather species. Different collections from different parts of the world have different ITS sequence (almost 1%) but it's all being considered one species as biological mating studies shows they could mostly mate with each other and not with other species and no ecological and morphological differences were found.

Xeromphalina 'enigmatica PNW05' - that being said, a couple sequences are 2% different from the type, and seem to clade separately, and do not appear umbilicate but do have a darker disc. With so few samples, this should be taken with a grain of salt, as the real species is not always umbilicate. Perhaps they are a separate species.

Xeromphalina campanella © Kitty Lundeen,     X. enigmatica © Danny Miller,     X. 'enigmatica PNW05' © Steve Ness


Xeromphalina brunneola ID - disagreeable tasting, but not bitter. Also clustered on conifer logs, but often darker than X. campanella/enigmatica. We have the ID type sequence, but no modern sequences or verified photos.

Xeromphalina cirris BC - mild taste, on conifer needles, sometimes in moss. Subalpine and low elevations forms are slightly different, let's get both sequenced. We have the BC type sequence and a couple modern WA sequences at least two of which are from high elevation. The more recently described Xeromphalina setulipes from Spain has a very similar ITS sequence. I'm not sure why they described it as different, perhaps there are some ecological or morphological differences, or perhaps they didn't know about X. cirris.

Xeromphalina campanelloides BC - bitter taste on conifer wood. We have the BC holotype and some paratype WA and PQ sequences. It turns out the PQ paratype has different DNA, matching other collections labelled X. parvibulbosa MI, even though they are described differently. We also have recent BC, WA and OR sequences.

possible Xeromphalina brunneola © Joy Spurr,     X. cirris © Buck McAdoo,     X. campanelloides © Richard Morrison


The following group is confusing, because some mycologists have pointed out that the following three are often confused with each other and some may be synonyms. So I don't know which of the following are actually present in the PNW nor how many distinct species they represent. It's also possible that a more local name that is currently synonymized with the EU species X. cauticinalis may turn out to not be a synonym and perhaps we should be using the local name instead. This all needs to be sorted out with local collections and type sequences.

Xeromphalina cornui EU - described similarly to X. cirris (mild on conifer needles or sphagnum moss) but perhaps with more deeply decurrent gills?

Xercomphalina cauticinalis EU (var. acida CO, var. pubescentipes AL, Marasmius tomentosipes ID  are available varietals) - bitter taste on conifer litter, very similar to X. campanelloides.

Xeromphalina parvibulbosa MI - mild or bitter taste on conifer debris, meaning it has been confused with both of the above two species. We have east coast sequences that might be this, and the PQ paratype of the newer X. campanelloides matches them in ITS, but the west coast holotypes and paratypes do represent X. campanelloides.


What do we know so far?

Xeromphalina 'cauticinalis PNW01' - We have a WA sequence that is 8 bp (1%) different in ITS from a couple of sequences labeled X. cauticinalis from the EU, but no idea what it really is or how to tell it apart from X. campanelloides.

Xeromphalina 'cauticinalis PNW04' - One OR sequence is 8 bp (1%) different in ITS from PNW01 and the other clade. It's possible it's all one species, but until more genes are sequenced and morphological and ecological studies are done, I'm considering them potentially distinct.

Xeromphalina 'cornui PNW02' - we have a Victoria and a WA sequence that resembled this species, but with ITS DNA quite different from purported EU sequences. A couple of EU sequences imply that X. cornui is close to X. campanelloides, but this species is close to X. cirris.

Xeromphalina 'cornui PNW03' - another WA collection that resembles X. cornui is in a unique position in the tree, far from any other species.

Xeromphalina cornui EU - one short WA sequence might match the real species best, we need a longer sequence.

Xeromphalina 'cauticinalis PNW01' © Richard Morrison,     X. 'cauticinalis PNW04' © Jonathan Frank,     X. 'cornui PNW02' © Richard Morrison,     X. cornui © Matthew Koons


Xeromphalina fulvipes OR (=Heimiomyces fulvipes) - adnate gills and cap not depressed. This stands out morphologically but also genetically, being sister to all the others, so some splitters have given it its own genus, Heimiomyces, although it isn't necessary to think of it that way. We have OR, WA and BC sequences that must be this species.

Xeromphalina fulvipes © Steve Ness


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