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Conocybe siennophylla

[ Basidiomycetes > Agaricales > Bolbitiaceae > Conocybe . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

The illustrated collection was made in central Illinois, in an oak-hickory forest. It keys convincingly to Conocybe siennophylla in European treatments of the genus Conocybe (Watling, 1982; Hansen & Knudsen, 1992; Breitenbach & Kränzlin, 1995) . . . but I have no idea whether Conocybe siennophylla is "supposed" to occur in North America or not, since there is no North American treatment of the genus, and since I find no records of the species in North American herbaria.

Defining features for Conocybe siennophylla include the yellowish-brownish cap, spore dimensions (see below), and the anatomy of the cystidia on the stem surface, which are not shaped like bowling pins (the cystidia on the gills' edges, however, are shaped like bowling pins). If painstaking microscopy does not interest you, I will certainly not blame you if you call anything that looks remotely like the mushrooms in the photos "Conocybe tenera," as many field guides do.


Ecology: Saprobic; growing alone, scattered, or gregariously in woods or in grassy areas; often found in disturbed ground; summer; North American distribution undocumented (originally described from Ceylon; fairly common in Europe).

Cap: .5-2.5 cm; conical to bell-shaped when young, becoming broadly bell-shaped or convex; dry; finely lined when young; brownish yellow to brownish orange, fading markedly to dull yellowish.

Gills: Attached to the stem or nearly free from it; close or crowded; pale yellowish at first but soon cinnamon brown or pinkish brown.

Stem: 4-8 cm long; 1-2 mm thick; extremely fragile; becoming hollow; more or less equal; whitish at first, becoming brownish from the base up; smooth or finely powdery.

Flesh: Insubstantial.

Odor and Taste: Not distinctive.

Spore Print: Cinnamon brown or reddish brown.

Chemical Reactions: KOH on cap surface dull red.

Microscopic Features: Spores 8-12 x 4.5-6.5 µ; elliptical, with a slightly truncated end; smooth; with a small pore. Pleurocystidia absent. Cheilocystidia shaped like bowling pins; to about 25 x 13 µ, with the head 2-5 µ across. Basidia 4-spored. Cuticle hymeniform/cellular. Caulocystidia variously shaped (cylindric, clavate, lageniform) but not lecythiform, interspersed with occasional hair-like cells.

Conocybe ochracea (in the sense of some authors) is a synonym. "Conocybe sienophylla" (with one n) is the spelling preferred by some authors.

REFERENCES: (Berkeley & Broome, 1871) Singer, 1955. (Saccardo, 1887; Phillips, 1981; Watling, 1982; Hansen & Knudsen, 1992; Breitenbach & Kränzlin, 1995.) Herb. Kuo 05100701.

Conocybe moseri, Conocybe kuehneriana, and Conocybe fuscimarginata (at a minimum) are very similar species that also lack bowling-pin-shaped caulocystidia. This area of the genus represents a species cluster in dire need of revision based on morphological and molecular study of many new collections.

Further Online Information:

Conocybe ochracea at Roger's Mushrooms


Conocybe siennophylla

Conocybe siennophylla

Conocybe siennophylla

Conocybe siennophylla

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Kuo, M. (2007, December). Conocybe siennophylla. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: