Major Groups > Gilled Mushrooms > Pale-Spored > Clitocyboid Mushrooms


Clitocyboid Mushrooms

[ Basidiomycetes > Agaricales > ?-aceae (polyphyletic) . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

Traditionally, "Clitocybe" is a genus of gilled mushrooms that lack partial veils and feature white, yellowish, or pinkish spore prints, as well as gills that are broadly attached to the stem or run down it. Some mycologists separated "Lepista," featuring clitocyboid mushrooms with spiny spores and pinkish spore prints, as a separate genus, while others viewed the lepistas as a section within the genus Clitocybe.

If you noticed the quotation marks I placed around "Clitocybe" and you are now waiting for me to pull the taxonomic rug out from under your feet, I congratulate you on having a much better sense of punctuation than my freshmen, who appear to believe we should use "quote marks" for "anything" we "want" . . . and yes, the writing is on the wall: while a comprehensive DNA study of the mushrooms traditionally placed in Clitocybe has not yet been done (to my knowledge), enough work has been done to determine that the mushrooms in question are not all closely related. Some, in fact, are only distantly related, and much of the genus will have to be split up among several existing (and several new) genera.

Identification of clitocyboid mushrooms, beyond a handful of easily recognized "field guide species," often depends on microscopic analysis--and Clitocybe literature for North America is hard to find and hard to work with. H. E. Bigelow's two-part monograph (1982, 1985) of the North American Species of Clitocybe is selling online for about $150 these days. If you are in California, Denise Gregory's San Francisco State University masters thesis on Clitocybe in California is essential. Further Clitocybe literature is listed below.

As far as pronouncing Clitocybe, make it rhyme with "I toss a bee." While my usual response to the question of how to "correctly" pronounce scientific names is, "Who cares?" (see this page for details), the case of Clitocybe may be an exception if you want to avoid the strange looks you will get from mushroom folks when you pronounce it as though it were an English word. It is one thing to be received as a bumpkin who doesn't know how to pronounce scientific names, but it is another thing entirely to be received as a perverted bumpkin who doesn't know how to pronounce scientific names. Also note that the late Gary Lincoff, when forced by his editors for the Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms (1992) to create "common" names for our continent's mushrooms, used "trich" for species of Tricholoma ("soapy trich" for Tricholoma saponaceum, and so on) but did not employ a similar strategy for species of Clitocybe.

Species Pages

Ampulloclitocybe avellaneialba
Ampulloclitocybe clavipes
Clitocybe californiensis
Clitocybe compressipes
Clitocybe eccentrica
Clitocybe flavidella
Clitocybe gigantea (Leucopaxillus giganteus)
Clitocybe cf. glutiniceps
Clitocybe hygrophoroides
Clitocybe inversa
Clitocybe maxima
Clitocybe nebularis
Clitocybe nuda
Clitocybe odora
Clitocybe robusta
Clitocybe sclerotoidea
Clitocybe subconnexa
Infundibulicybe gibba
Infundibulicybe squamulosa
Omphalotus illudens
Omphalotus olearius


Clitocybe odora

Clitocybe nuda

Clitocybe clavipes

Clitocybe squamulosa

Clitocybe glutiniceps


Ammirati, J. F., A. D. Parker & P. B. Matheny (2007). Cleistocybe, a new genus of Agaricales. Mycoscience 48: 282-289.

Barrasa, J. M, F. Esteve-Raventos & R. M. Dahncke (2006). Clitocybula canariensis (Tricholomataceae), a new brown-rot fungus from the Canary Islands (Spain). Fungal Diversity 22: 1-11.

Bigelow, H. E. & A. H. Smith (1969). The status of Lepista--A new section of Clitocybe. Brittonia 21: 144-177.

Bigelow, H. E. & Smith, A. H. (1970). A new Clitocybe from Michigan. The Michigan Botanist 9: 30-33.

Bigelow. H. E. & A. H. Smith (1973). Cantharocybe, a new genus of Agaricales. Mycologia 65: 485-488.

Bigelow, H. E. (1973). The genus Clitocybula. Mycologia 65: 1101-1116.

Bigelow, H. E., O. K. Miller, Jr. & H. D. Thiers (1976). A new species of Omphalotus. Mycotaxon 3: 363-372.

Bigelow, H. E. (1977). A new Clitocybe from Texas. Mycologia 69: 1047-1049.

Bigelow, H. E. (1977). New taxa of Clitocybe. Mycotaxon 6: 181-185.

Bigelow, H. E. (1981). Spore ornamentation in the Tricholomataceae I. Mycologia 73: 128-140.

Bigelow, H. E. (1982). Species described in Clitocybe by C. H. Peck and W. A. Murrill. Sydowia 35: 37-74.

Bigelow, H. E. (1982a). North American species of Clitocybe. Part I. Germany: Cramer. 280 pp.

Bigelow, H. E. (1982b). Species described in Clitocybe by C. H. Peck and W. A. Murrill. Sydowia 35: 37-74.

Bigelow, H. E. (1983). Some clampless species of Clitocybe. Cryptogamie, Mycologie 4: 93-98.

Bigelow, H. E. (1985). North American species of Clitocybe. Part II. Germany: Cramer. 191 pp.

Cochran, K. W. & Cochran, M. W. (1978). Clitocybe clavipes: Antabuse-like reaction to alcohol. Mycologia 70: 1124-1126.

Gregory, D. C. (2007). The genus Clitocybe of California. Masters thesis, San Francisco State University.

Gregory, D. C. (2007). Key to the species of Clitocybe, Ampulloclitocybe, and Infundibulicybe from the genus Clitocybe of California. Retrieved from the MykoWeb Web site:

Gulden, G. (1983). Studies in Lepista (Fr.) W. G. Smith section Lepista (Basidiomycotina, Agaricales). Sydowia 36: 59–74.

Harmaja, H. (1969). The genus Clitocybe (Agaricales) in Fennoscandia. Karstenia 10: 5-121.

Harmaja, H. (1970). Type studies on Agaricales described as Clitocybe and Omphalina. Karstenia 11: 35-40.

Harmaja, H. (1974). Singerella n. gen., a separate genus for Clitocybe hydrogramma. Karstenia 14: 113-115.

Harmaja, H. (1974). Pseudoclitocybe atra (Vel.) n. comb. Karstenia 14: 126-128.

Harmaja, H. (1974). Three new taxa of Lepista: L. fasciculata n. sp., L. singeri n. sp., and Lepista subgenus Laevispora n. subg. Karstenia 14: 129-132.

Harmaja, H. (1976). A further revision of the generic limit between Lepista and Clitocybe. Karstenia 15: 13-15.

Harmaja, H. (1976). Type studies in Clitocybe. 2. Karstenia 15: 16-18.

Harmaja, H. (1978). New species and new combinations in the pale-spored Agaricales. Karstenia 18: 29-30.

Harmaja, H. (1979). Type studies in Clitocybe. 3. Karstenia 19: 22-24.

Harmaja, H. (1979). Type studies in Clitocybe 4. Karstenia 19: 50-51.

Harmaja, H. (2003). Notes on Clitocybe s. lato (Agaricales). Annales Botanici Fennici 40: 213-218.

Kauffman, C. H. 1927. The genus Clitocybe in the United States, with a critical study of all the north temperate species. Papers of the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters 8: 153-214.

Kirchmair, M., R. Pöder, C. G. Huber & O. K. Miller, Jr. (2002). Chemotaxonomical and morphological observations in the genus Omphalotus (Omphalotaceae). Persoonia 17: 583-600.

Kirchmair, M. & R. Pöder (2002). Why Omphalotus illudens (Schwein.) Bresinsky et Besl is an independent species. Revista Catalana de Micologia 24: 215-223.

Kirchmair, M., S. Morandell, D. Stolz, R. Pöder & C. Sturmbauer (2004). Phylogeny of the genus Omphalotus based on nuclear ribosomal DNA-sequences. Mycologia 96: 1253-1260.

Kuyper, T. W. (1995). Clitocybe. In Bas, C., Th. W. Kuyper, M. E. Noordeloos & E. C. Vellinga. Flora Agaricina Neerlandica. Vol. 3. Netherlands: A. A. Balkema. 42-62.

Kuyper, T. W. (1995). Lepista. In Bas, C., Th. W. Kuyper, M. E. Noordeloos & E. C. Vellinga. Flora Agaricina Neerlandica. Vol. 3. Netherlands: A. A. Balkema. 67-75.

Laursen, G. A., O. K. Miller, Jr. & H. E. Bigelow (1976). A new Clitocybe from the Alaskan arctic. Canadian Journal of Botany 54: 976-980.

Murrill, W. A. (1915). The genus Clitocybe in North America. Mycologia 7: 256-283.

Redhead, S. A., J.-M. Moncalvo, R. Vilgalys & F. Lutzoni (2002). Phylogeny of agarics: Partial systematics solutions for bryophilous omphalinoid agarics outside of the Agaricales (Euagarics). Mycotaxon 82: 151-168.

Redhead, S. A., F. Lutzoni, J.-M. Moncalvo & R. Vilgalys (2002). Phylogeny of Agarics: Partial systematics solutions for core omphalinoid genera in the Agaricales (Euagarics). Mycotaxon 83: 19-57.

Singer, R. (1979). Keys for the identification of the species of Agaricales II. Sydowia 31: 193-237.

Stott, K., C. Desmerger & P. Holford (2005). Relationship among Lepista species determined by CAPS and RAPD. Mycological Research 109: 205-211.

Trappe, J. M. (1972). Parasitism of Helvella lacunosa by Clitocybe sclerotoidea. Mycologia 64: 1337-1340.

This site contains no information about the edibility or toxicity of mushrooms.

Cite this page as:

Kuo, M. (2008, April). Clitocyboid mushrooms. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site:

© MushroomExpert.Com