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Xeromphalina cauticinalis

[ Basidiomycota > Agaricales > Mycenaceae > Xeromphalina . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

Xeromphalina cauticinalis grows in troops on the debris of conifers, primarily in western North America, although it is occasional in northeastern conifer forests. It has a small, orangish brown to yellowish brown cap, yellow gills that begin to run down the stem, and a tough little stem with a densely fuzzy, orangish base. A drop of KOH on the cap surface produces a bright red reaction. Under the microscope its defining features include irregular and contorted caulocystidia, hyphae that are red in KOH, and ellipsoid spores that are at least faintly amyloid.


Ecology: Saprobic on the debris (including needle duff and well decayed wood) of conifers; growing gregariously in troops, or occasionally scattered or even alone, usually on the ground; summer and fall; widely distributed and common in western North America, and occasional in northeastern North America. The illustrated and described collections are from Colorado.

Cap: 7-17 mm across; convex to broadly convex or flat, often with a shallow central depression; bald; tacky to dry; sometimes becoming widely lined on the margin; orange-brown to reddish brown or yellow-brown, often with a darker center.

Gills: Broadly attached to the stem or just beginning to run down it; close or nearly distant; with many cross-veins; pale yellow; short-gills frequent.

Stem: 1-3 cm long; 1-2 mm thick; more or less equal above a slightly swollen base; yellowish above, reddish brown to dark brown below; finely hairy or nearly bald above; base covered with orangish to rusty hairs.

Flesh: Insubstantial.

Odor and Taste: Not distinctive.

Chemical Reactions: KOH bright red on cap surface.

Spore Print: White.

Microscopic Features: Spores 5-8 x 3-4 µ; elliptical; smooth; faintly to moderately amyloid, especially when just produced or when still attached to sterigmata. Pleuro- and cheilocystidia fusiform to narrowly clavate. Caulocystidia irregular and contorted; thin- or thick-walled. Clamp connections present.

REFERENCES: (Withering) Kühner & Maire, 1934. (Miller, 1968; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1979; Arora, 1986; Evenson, 1997; Barron, 1999; Miller & Miller, 2006.) Herb. Kuo 08051002, 08071002.

Xeromphalina cauticinalis var. acida is nearly identical but features slowly to instantly bitter flesh.

Further Online Information:

Xeromphalina cauticinalis in Miller, 1968


Xeromphalina cauticinalis

Xeromphalina cauticinalis

Xeromphalina cauticinalis

Xeromphalina cauticinalis
KOH on cap surface

Xeromphalina cauticinalis

Xeromphalina cauticinalis

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Kuo, M. (2014, November). Xeromphalina cauticinalis. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: