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Lacrymaria velutina

[ Basidiomycetes > Agaricales > Psathyrellaceae > Lacrymaria . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

This lawn and garden dweller, formerly known as Psathyrella velutina, is widely distributed on the continent, and easily recognized by its dark, mottled gills, its nearly black spore print, its hairy ("fibrillose," in Mycologese) cap, and the ring zone on its stem. It was always rather un-Psathyrella-ish, and mycologists over the years have debated where to place it. Recent DNA studies (see Padamsee and collaborators, 2008; Larsson & Örstadius, 2008) have confirmed that, while it is closely related to species of Psathyrella, it belongs outside that genus.

Lacrymaria velutina is a big thrill for mushroom geeks like me; like Pluteus cervinus, it is one of those species with fascinating microscopic features that are not predicted by its drab macrofeatures. The spores are roughened or finely warty, and have little snouts--while the gill faces have cystidia that typically cluster together in groups of three or four. How much more action-packed could a mushroom be?


Ecology: Saprobic; growing alone, gregariously, or in clusters on lawns, in pastures, along roads and in gravelly soil, usually near recently dead hardwood trees; sometimes in woods; summer through fall; widely distributed in North America.

Cap: 3-12 cm; convex when young, expanding to broadly convex, flat, or very broadly bell-shaped; dry; densely hairy but sometimes becoming more or less smooth in age; often becoming radially wrinkled; the margin usually hung with whitish partial veil remnants, at least when young; yellow-brown to cinnamon brown or orangish brown.

Gills: Attached to the stem or free from it; crowded; pale at first, later dark brown and mottled; with whitish edges.

Stem: 5-15 cm long; 0.5-1.5 cm thick; equal, or with a swollen base; hairy; with a fragile ring or a ring zone that is darkened by spores; white above, pale brownish below; hollow; basal mycelium white.

Flesh: Thick; brownish.

Odor and Taste: Pleasant; not distinctive.

Chemical Reactions: KOH on cap surface negative to brownish.

Spore Print: Dark brown to nearly black.

Microscopic Features: Spores 8-12 x 5-8 µ; ellipsoid with a snout-like end; warty; dark brown in KOH. Pleurocystidia 48-62 x 9-14 µ, clavate to utriform or subcylindric, often clustered in threes or fours. Cheilocystidia abundant; to about 90 x 12 µ; hyaline in KOH; flexuous; subcylindric, with subcapitate to capitate apices. Pileipellis a hymeniform layer of widely clavate elements interspersed with cylindric elements 9-13 µ wide, with roughened walls.

REFERENCES: (Persoon, 1801) Konrad & Maublanc, 1925. (Smith, 1972; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1979; Arora, 1986; Phillips, 1991/2005; Lincoff, 1992; Horn, Kay & Abel, 1993; Barron, 1999; Roody, 2003; McNeil, 2006; Miller & Miller, 2006; Larsson & Örstadius, 2008; Padamsee et al., 2008.) Herb. Kuo 09229601, 07250301, 05211002.

Psathyrella velutina is a former name. Psathyrella/Lacrymaria lacrymabunda is seen as a synonym by some authors, but is separated by others on the basis of its smoother spores. A recent molecular study (Padamsee and collaborators, 2008) found specimens labeled "Lacrymaria velutina" to be genetically separated, suggesting that species concepts in Lacrymaria may need to be modified.

Further Online Information:

Lacrymaria velutina at Roger's Mushrooms


Lacrymaria velutina

Lacrymaria velutina

Psathyrella velutina

Lacrymaria velutina
Mottled Mature Gills

Lacrymaria velutina
Fibrillose Cap

Lacrymaria velutina

Lacrymaria velutina

Lacrymaria velutina

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Cite this page as:

Kuo, M. (2011, February). Lacrymaria velutina. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: