Major Groups > Gilled Mushrooms > Dark-Spored

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Key to Dark-Spored, Gilled Mushrooms  


by Michael Kuo



1.Without a stem, or with a poorly developed, lateral stem.
2

1.With a well developed, more or less central stem.
3


2.Gills forked and cross-veined (especially near the base), or poorly formed and "corrugated."

2.Gills not typically forked and cross-veined, not separable in a layer.


3.Growing on wood.
4

3.Growing terrestrially.
12


4.Gills running deeply down the stem.

4.Gills not running down the stem, or doing so only slightly.
5


5.Spore print black or blackish brown; gills often liquefying by maturity--or if not with liquefying gills, then growing in dense clusters.

5.Not as above (spore print not blackish; gills not liquefying; growing in dense clusters or not).
6


6.Growing in wood chips or woody debris; cap buff (rarely brownish), with a smooth or cracked surface but without scales; stem base with white mycelial strands.

6.Not as above.
7


7.Cap brown to yellow brown or cinnamon brown, without scales; spore print rusty brown; partial veil forming a thin ring or a ring zone on the upper stem; stem less than 1 cm thick; often found in colder weather (spring or fall in temperate areas, winter in warmer climates).

7.Not as above.
8


8.Stem long and slender, typically fragile and snapping in two easily (Bob Zordani calls this genus "Snapyrella"); cap often fragile and splitting with age; spore print dark brown.

8.Not as above.
9


9.Spore print brown to cinnamon or rusty brown but usually not bright orange-brown (Gymnopilus) or blackish to purplish brown (Hypholoma); spores smooth. The most commonly collected and wondered about species are large, showy mushrooms with scaly and/or slimy caps.

9.Not as above.
10


10.Mature cap smaller than 3 cm across.

10.Mature cap more than 3 cm across.
11


11.Spore print dark brown or purplish brown.

11.Spore print bright orange-brown to bright rusty brown (sometimes nearly orange).


12.Growing in grass, on mulch or compost, on manure, and so on.
13

12.Growing on the ground in woods.
21


13.Spore print black; gills usually liquefying at maturity; smaller species short-lived and fragile; caps of larger species often shaggy or scaly, rounded-cylindrical when young and broadly bell-shaped in maturity.

13.Not as above.
14


14.Cap medium sized to large, usually whitish or brownish (rarely yellowish or orange), convex or flat; gills pale at first, then chocolate brown (sometimes after passing through a pink stage); spore print chocolate brown; partial veil present, usually leaving a ring or ring zone on the stem; some species bruising yellow or reddish on the cap margin and/or stem base when rubbed; many species reminiscent of the common Button Mushroom found in grocery stores.

14.Not as above.
15


15.Spore print yellow brown, rusty brown, or medium brown (not dark brown).
16

15.Spore print darker (dark brown, blackish brown, purple brown, and so on).
18


16.Mushroom small to medium sized; cap dry, convex or flat (never conical), whitish or brownish (rarely orangish), with an unlined margin; gills brown at maturity, not decaying rapidly; spore print brown or yellowish brown.

16.Not as above.
17


17.Cap slimy when fresh and young, convex or conical, conspicuously lined on the margin when mature; mushroom rapidly decaying (especially the gills, in wet weather); without a partial veil.

17.Cap usually dry, conical or bell-shaped, margin smooth or only faintly lined; mushroom not rapidly decaying; with or without a partial veil.


18.Gills with a mottled appearance at maturity (see illustration on the page for L. velutina).
19

18.Gills not mottled at maturity.
20


19.Cap 5-10 cm across, yellow brown, densely hairy, margin hung with partial veil remnants.

19.Not with all of the above features.


20.Stem long and slender, typically fragile and snapping in two easily (Bob Zordani calls this genus "Snapyrella"); cap never brightly colored, often fragile and splitting with age; stem never bruising blue or green; rarely with a sturdy ring; spore print typically dark brown but sometimes darker.

20.Not as above; stem not usually snapping easily; cap brightly colored or not, sturdy or fragile and splitting in age; stem bruising blue or green in some species; with a sturdy ring or not; spore print typically deep purple-brown, purplish black, or black but sometimes dark brown.


21.Gills running down the stem.
22

21.Gills not running down the stem.
26


22.Spore print brown or yellowish brown.
23

22.Spore print blackish, grayish, or olive.
25


23.Gills only slightly running down the stem; partial veil leaving a thin and fragile ring on the stem.

23.Not as above (gills running down the stem deeply; partial veil absent).
24


24.Gills close or crowded, often forked and cross-veined, not bruising blue or green; gill layer easily separable from the cap.

24.Gills well spaced, not forked or cross-veined in most species, sometimes bruising blue or green; gill layer not easily separable.


25.Flesh and young gills white.

25.Flesh and young gills yellow, buff, orangish, pinkish, or reddish.


26.Cap medium sized to large, usually whitish or brownish (rarely yellowish or orange), convex, squarish, or flat; gills pale at first, then usually pinkish and finally chocolate brown; spore print chocolate brown; partial veil present, usually leaving a ring or ring zone on the stem; some species bruising yellow or reddish on the cap margin and/or stem base when rubbed.

26.Not as above.
27


27.Spore print black; gills usually liquefying at maturity; smaller species short-lived and fragile; caps of larger species often shaggy or scaly, rounded-cylindrical when young and broadly bell-shaped in maturity.

27.Not as above.
28


28.Stem with a long "root" extending into the ground; partial veil absent.
Phaeocollybia

28.Stem without a "root"; partial veil absent or present.
29


29.Cap densely covered with granules; stem with a lower "sheath" that is granular like the cap.
Phaeolepiota

29.Not as above.
30


30.Mature cap 5-10 cm across or more.
31

30.Mature cap less than 5-10 cm across.
41


31.Fresh cap thickly slimy.
32

31.Fresh cap dry or merely moist.
34


32.Spore print plain brown (not purple-brown or rusty brown); cap dull brown to buff; mature gills often with a pale edge that contrasts with the darker faces; some common species with a radishlike odor.

32.Not as above.
33


33.Spore print rusty brown; button-stage specimens with a cortina.

33.Spore print purple-brown or blackish; cortina absent (though a fibrous partial veil may be present).


34.Stem long and slender, typically fragile and snapping in two easily (Bob Zordani calls this genus "Snapyrella"); cap never brightly colored, often fragile and splitting with age; rarely with a sturdy ring.

34.Not as above; stem not usually snapping easily; cap brightly colored or not, sturdy or fragile and splitting in age; with a sturdy ring or not.
35


35.Spore print purple-brown to black.

35.Spore print lighter (brown, rusty brown, yellow brown, and so on).
36


36.Fresh cap with purple or lilac shades.
37

36.Cap without purple or lilac shades.
38


37.Cap conical or bell-shaped (rarely convex), fragile, often with a splitting margin at maturity, cap surface often finely hairy or fibrous (at least when young); odor sometimes spermatic.

37.Cap convex or flat, not typically fragile, the margin not typically splitting at maturity, cap surface smooth or finely roughened; odor various but not typically spermatic.


38.Mature gills with concolorous edges and faces.
39

38.Mature gills with pale edges that contrast with the darker faces.
40


39.Spore print rusty brown or cinnamon brown; specimens in button stage with a cortina that often leaves a ring zone or fibers on the stem at maturity.

39.Not as above (spore print brown or yellow-brown, but not rusty brown or cinnamon brown; cortina absent or present, but if present usually not leaving a ring zone or fibers on the stem at maturity).
40


40.Cap convex or flat, typically brownish, usually fairly sturdy, measuring 8 cm or more, often slimy when fresh, the margin not typically splitting in age, the surface usually fairly smooth; some commonly encountered species with a radishlike odor.

40.Cap conical or bell-shaped, brownish or whitish, usually fairly fragile, measuring 8 cm or less, dry, the margin often splitting in age, the surface usually hairy or fibrous (at least in youth); many commonly encountered species with distinctive odors (spermatic, fishy, sweet, and so on--but never radishlike).


41.Mushroom identifier meeting one or more of the following descriptors:

  • Easily frustrated
  • Without a microscope
  • Without access to technical mycological literature
  • Just wanted to find a good edible mushroom
  • Employed full-time outside of mycology

41.Mushroom identifier meeting none of the above descriptors.
42


42.Mushroom growing in clusters; cap surface usually scaly, at least in youth; stem usually with a fragile ring or ring zone, scaly below; spores 4-7 x 3.5-4.5 µ; chrysocystidia present.

42.Not as above.
43


43.Pileipellis hymeniform to cellular. (What, you thought I was kidding?)
44

43.Pileipellis filamentous.
47


44.Cap convex, broadly convex, or flat.
45

44.Cap conical, bell-shaped, or broadly bell-shaped.
46


45.Stem fairly pliant (not snapping easily); spore print brown to dull brown, not particularly dark; spores not fading or discoloring in concentrated sulfuric acid.

45.Stem fragile, usually snapping easily; spore print usually fairly dark brown; spores fading or discoloring in concentrated sulfuric acid.


46.Spore print rusty brown to cinnamon brown or yellow brown; spores not fading or discoloring in concentrated sulfuric acid.

46.Spore print darker than above; spores fading or discoloring in concentrated sulfuric acid.


47.Spore print purple-brown, blackish brown, black, or blackish.
48

47.Spore print lighter than above.
50


48.Chrysocystidia absent.
Psilocybe

48.Chrysocystidia present.
49


49.Ring absent; subpellis cellular.

49.Ring usually present; subpellis not cellular.


50.Cap very tiny, conical, often with a lined margin; growing in moss; spore print rusty brown to cinnamon brown.

50.Not as above.
51


51.Gills blood red, cinnabar red, or scarlet; KOH on cap surface producing a purple or pink reaction.

51.Not as above. Now, honestly . . . Do you have a family? Friends?




Wood-Rotting LBMs



Terrestrial LBMs




Cite this page as:

Kuo, M. (2014, February). Key to dark-spored, gilled mushrooms. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/gilled_dark.html

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