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Ampulloclitocybe (Clitocybe) clavipes

[Basidiomycetes > Agaricales > Tricholomataceae > Ampulloclitocybe...]

by Michael Kuo

Among the clitocyboid mushrooms, Ampulloclitocybe clavipes is distinguished by its brownish cap, its white spore print, its frequently bulbous stem, its (usual) preference for conifers, and microscopic features (including its smooth spores and the presence of clamp connections)--which means that the species is not very easy to identify with certainty without the use of a microscope, since many clitocyboid mushrooms look similar to the naked eye.

The bulbous stem is what gives the species its name (clavipes), but it is not always as bulbous as it is in field guide photos. Many authors attempt to illustrate the swollen stem base, since it is one of the defining features of the mushroom, but I sometimes wonder how many non-swollen mushrooms were discarded in the search for "typical" specimens to photograph.

Clitocybe clavipes is a well known synonym. The relatively recent genus Ampulloclitocybe was established to reflect the fact that DNA studies have placed this mushroom and closely related species far from the bulk of the Clitocybe species. See Redhead and collaborators (2002) for further information.


Ecology: Saprobic; growing alone, scattered, or gregariously (rarely in clusters); primarily under conifers, but sometimes reported under hardwoods; widely distributed in North America; late summer and fall (winter in coastal California).

Cap: 2-9 cm; at first flat with a slightly underturned margin, becoming centrally depressed or vase-shaped, with an uplifted margin; smooth, or somewhat rugged or hairy over the center; moist or dry; brown to grayish brown or olive brown, usually darker over the center and lighter towards the margin by maturity.

Gills: Running down the stem; close or nearly distant; whitish or creamy.

Stem: 3.5-6 cm long; up to 3.5 cm thick at the base; often bulbous at the bottom, but sometimes more or less equal; minutely hairy; buff or pale brownish.

Flesh: Whitish.

Odor and Taste: Taste mild; odor usually fragrant and fruity.

Spore Print: White.

Chemical Reactions: KOH on cap surface negative.

Microscopic Details: Spores 6-8.5 x 3.5-5 µ; egg-shaped, or irregularly elliptical; smooth (but finely sculpted with an electron microscope, in case you have one in your basement); inamyloid. Cystidia absent. Pileipellis a cutis of elements 3-9 µ wide, with brownish contents and/or brownish encrustation. Clamp connections present.

REFERENCES: (Persoon, 1801) Redhead, Lutzoni, Moncalvo & Vilgalys, 2002. (Fries, 1821; Saccardo, 1887; Kauffman, 1918; Cochran & Cochran, 1978; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1979; Bigelow, 1982; Weber & Smith, 1985; Arora, 1986; Phillips, 1991/2005; Lincoff, 1992; Kuyper, 1995; Barron, 1999; Redhead et al., 2002; Roody, 2003; McNeil, 2006; Miller & Miller, 2006.) Herb. Kuo 09130405, 09220406.

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Clitocybe clavipes

Clitocybe clavipes

Clitocybe clavipes

Clitocybe clavipes

Clitocybe clavipes

Clitocybe clavipes
Very old specimens

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Kuo, M. (2008, April). Ampulloclitocybe (Clitocybe) clavipes. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: