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Cudonia circinans

[ Ascomycota > Rhytismatales > Cudoniaceae > Cudonia ... ]

by Michael Kuo

The first time I found Cudonia circinans, I was already making up names for the new Helvella species I had discovered (Helvella kuoii was at the top of the list) when I figured I'd better take a look at my find under the microscope. Oops. The long, needle-like spores were like no spores I had seen before, and they were certainly not the elliptical spores of a Helvella species.

Cudonia is one of several remote ascomycete genera with needly spores, and my find fit the description of Cudonia circinans, which grows under conifers and has a pale yellow to brownish cap, with a somewhat darker brown stem. Cudonia lutea, by contrast, is brighter yellow, grows under hardwoods, and has a stem colored like the cap. The definitive feature separating the two species, however, is spore size (over 50 µ long for Cudonia lutea and under 40 µ long for Cudonia circinans).


Ecology: Presumably saprobic; growing scattered to gregariously or in clusters on the duff of spruces and other conifers, and occasionally on well-rotted wood; late summer and fall; widely distributed in northern and montane North America. The illustrated and described collections are from Michigan and Colorado.

Cap: 10-20 mm across; cushion-shaped to irregularly convex, with the margin curled under; upper surface bald, sometimes a little wrinkled; dry; creamy to pale pinkish tan; undersurface similar to upper surface.

Stem: 15-30 mm long; 2-5 mm thick; dry; bald or very finely fuzzy near the base; often with longitudinal grooves or ridges which may extend onto the undersurface of the cap; brown to purplish tan; attached to copious underground, sulphur yellow mycelium.

Flesh: Thin; insubstantial; not gelatinous.

Odor: Not distinctive.

Chemical Reactions: KOH negative on cap surface.

Microscopic Features: Spores 35-40 x 1.5-2.5 µ; cylindric with one aciculate end and one end merely rounded; often a little curved; smooth; hyaline and multiguttulate in KOH. Asci 75-125 x 8-11 µ; fusiform, with subacute apices; hyaline in KOH. Paraphyses 75-150 x 2-3 µ; filiform; often exceeding the asci and curving or looping; apices varying from subacute to subclavate or merely rounded; smooth; hyaline in KOH.

REFERENCES: (Persoon, 1797) Fries, 1849. (Fries, 1822; Saccardo, 1889; Mains, 1956; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1981; Breitenbach & Kränzlin, 1984; Arora, 1986; Barron, 1999; McNeil, 2006; Miller & Miller, 2006; Trudell & Ammirati, 2009; Beug, Bessette & Bessette, 2014; Evenson, 2016; Siegel & Schwarz, 2016.) Herb. Kuo 09130409, 08201202, 08131503.

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Cudonia circinans

Cudonia circinans

Cudonia circinans

Cudonia circinans

Cudonia circinans

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Kuo, M. (2016, August). Cudonia circinans. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: