|Major Groups > Gilled Mushrooms > Dark-Spored > Psathyrella > Psathyrella pseudovernalis|
by Michael Kuo
One of several springtime species of Psathyrella, Psathyrella pseudovernalis appears in hardwood forests, often at about the same time as yellow morels. It is a fragile, brown mushroom with little wisps of veil material along the cap margin, a dark brown spore print, and a snap-able white stem. Microscopic features must be consulted to separate Psathyrella pseudovernalis from other species of Psathyrella; it features fusoid-ventricose (rather than utriform) hymenial cystidia, and gill edges bearing few cheilocystidia but many sphaeropedunculate elements.
Ecology: Saprobic; growing scattered to gregariously or in small clusters in hardwood forests, often near woody debris; spring; apparently widely distributed in North America.
Cap: 2-4.5 cm; convex, broadly conical, broadly bell-shaped, or nearly flat at maturity; bald; the margin finely lined; medium yellow-brown, fading markedly as it dries out to brownish buff; when young with wisps of veil tissue, especially along the margin.
Gills: Attached to the stem; close or nearly distant; whitish to pale brownish at first, becoming dark brown.
Stem: 3-10 cm long; up to 5 mm thick; equal; fragile; white but often discoloring dirty yellowish to brownish in the middle with maturity; bald or very finely silky; without a ring.
Flesh: Thin; fragile; brownish.
Odor and Taste: Not distinctive.
Chemical Reactions: KOH on cap surface at first negative but turning purplish after 60-90 seconds.
Spore Print: Dark brown.
Microscopic Features: Spores 7.5-9.5 x 4-5.5 µ; ellipsoid; with a pore; smooth; dark brown in KOH. Pleurocystidia fusoid-ventricose; thin-walled; to about 70 x 15 µ. Cheilocystidia subfusiform; infrequent; thin-walled. Sphaeropedunculate elements on gill edge abundant; subglobose, without apical necks. Pileipellis hymeniform/cellular.
The name "Psathyrella vernalis," as it is applied by Moser (1955, 1983) and by Hansen & Knudsen (1992), probably represents the same mushroom. Smith separated his North American species, Psathyrella pseudovernalis, for a single, very dubious reason: "P. vernalis, a European species, apparently has paler spores." However, use of the name Psathyrella vernalis is complicated by the fact that it is illegitimate (it represents a homonym for a different species named by Velenovsky) and by the fact that Kits van Waveren (1985) reduced the species to a mere "form" of Psathyrella spadiceogrisea (along with Orton  and Hansen & Knudsen  I disagree on this point).
Cite this page as:
Kuo, M. (2011, January). Psathyrella pseudovernalis. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/psathyrella_pseudovernalis.html