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Gymnopilus junonius ("Gymnopilus spectabilis")
by Michael Kuo
This impressive mushroom is found growing in dense clusters on stumps and logs of both hardwoods and conifers--and a number of associated species names are found growing in a dense cluster, as well. These species (if they are truly distinct), are all fairly large mushrooms that have orange to orangish brown spore prints, bitter taste, and stems that feature rings or ring zones. The central species name is Gymnopilus junonius, which is the correct name for "Gymnopilus spectabilis," according to the most recent taxonomists.
The "true" Gymnopilus junonius grows on the wood of hardwoods or conifers, and has a stem that is usually about 1 or 2 cm thick and is not often swollen in the middle. It is widely distributed in North America. Gymnopilus ventricosus, from the Pacific Northwest, grows only on conifer wood and can reach astounding sizes (caps to 40 cm); it has a very thick stem that is often swollen in the middle and can reach a width of 10 cm. Both Gymnopilus junonius and Gymnopilus ventricosus are probably featured in the photos to the right. The yellowish, comparatively slender Gymnopilus luteus is found in eastern North America.
Ecology: Saprobic on the rotting wood of hardwoods and conifers; growing in clusters (or, rarely, alone); summer and fall (fall through spring on the West Coast); widely distributed in North America.
Cap: 5-40 cm, convex, becoming broadly convex or flat; dry; silky, or with tiny appressed fibers or scales; orange to brownish orange; the margin inrolled when young, sometimes adorned with partial veil remnants.
Gills: Attached to the stem or beginning to run down it; close; yellowish at first, eventually orangish to orange-brown.
Stem: 3-20 cm long; 1-6 cm thick; more or less equal, or swollen in the middle; silky near the apex; with an orangish to brownish ring zone or with a fairly sturdy ring (especially when young) that folds outward at the top and collects orange spores; covered with appressed fibers below the ring (and sometimes decidedly shaggy when young), but often almost smooth by maturity; rusty orange or yellowish.
Flesh: Thick and firm; yellowish.
Odor and Taste: Taste very bitter; odor mild or fragrant.
Spore Print: Bright rusty orange.
Chemical Reactions: KOH red, then promptly black on cap surface.
Microscopic Features: Spores 7-10 x 4.5-6 µ; roughened with very tiny warts; more or less elliptical; dextrinoid. Pleurocystidia present but inconspicuous; ventricose; 21-33 x 6-7 µ. Cheilocystidia present; more or less typical for the genus. Caulocystidia present (and often quite large) in G. junonius; not recorded for G. ventricosus.
REFERENCES: (Fries, 1821) Orton, 1960. (Saccardo, 1887; Smith, 1949; Hesler, 1969; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1979; Weber & Smith, 1985; Arora, 1986; States, 1990; Phillips, 1991/2005; Lincoff, 1992; Metzler & Metzler, 1992; Barron, 1999; Miller & Miller, 2006.) Herb. Kuo 01130502.
Further Online Information:
Cite this page as:
Kuo, M. (2007, February). Gymnopilus junonius ("Gymnopilus spectabilis"). Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/gymnopilus_junonius.html