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Cortinarius phoeniceus var. occidentalis
by Michael Kuo
Among the species of Cortinarius with deep red gills and finely silky, dry cap surfaces, Cortinarius phoeniceus is easily separated on the basis of its red cap and its contrasting yellowish stem. The "true" Cortinarius phoeniceus, variety phoeniceus, has a reddish brown or reddish cinnamon cap, and grows under pines. It is recorded from Tennessee and Michigan, but is apparently quite rare on our continent. Frequently encountered in northwestern North America is variety occidentalis, featured here. It grows under conifers (not just pines) and has a maroon to blood-red cap. One unnamed form of Cortinarius phoeniceus var. occidentalis (are you sick of this yet?) has fairly prominent reddish fibers on its stem and is apparently found only in northern California and Oregon.
Ecology: Mycorrhizal with conifers; growing gregariously or in clusters; fall and winter (at higher elevations it is sometimes found in late summer); northern California to Alaska.
Cap: 3-8 cm; broadly convex, becoming broadly bell-shaped or nearly flat; dry; silky; deep red to maroon; the margin usually somewhat inrolled.
Gills: Attached to the stem; distant or nearly so; dark red to purplish red, becoming rusty red; covered by a cortina when young.
Stem: 4-7 cm long; up to about 1 cm thick; more or less equal; dry or sticky; silky with yellowish or reddish fibers; yellowish, or discoloring reddish with age.
Flesh: Yellowish to olive or brownish.
Odor: Not distinctive.
Chemical Reactions: KOH on cap surface purple-black.
Spore Print: Rusty brown.
Microscopic Features: Spores 6-8 x 4-4.5 µ; ellipsoid; moderately roughened. Cheilo- and pleurocystidia absent. Pileipellis a cutis. Contextual and lamellar elements pinkish purple to purplish in KOH.
Dermocybe phoenicea is a synonym.
Cite this page as:
Kuo, M. (2011, November). Cortinarius phoeniceus var. occidentalis. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/cortinarius_phoeniceus_occidentalis.html