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Vermonter

Forest Clitocybe Ring?

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I'm trying to ID these photos I took in Vermont last Sept. 21, and I'm pretty sure they are a species of Clitocybe.  C. dealbata and C. rivulosa look pretty close, but they are both described as grassland species, while these were growing in a large ring on the forest floorfairly open, mixed deciduous and conifer.  Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

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Most of what I call Clitocybe rivulosa (aka. C. dealbata, C. sudorifica) I have found is open --usually grassy-- areas. On my own 4 acre property --on  lawns, on mowed paths, near an unpaved gravel driveway-- I find what seems like a variety of small white funnel mushrooms. It's not unlikely they all represent the same species, C. rivulosa. Here's an example of one such observation that looks like yours, Vermonter  https://mushroomobserver.org/220622?q=iqBx 

There are other species of small white Clitocybe mushrooms, and confidently IDing to species can be difficult. Looks like the ones seen here are occurring in a hardwood-dominated forest. One species name to consider is Clitocybe candicans. I notice the stipe has some white hairs/fuzziness. This is a trait Tim Baroni reports for C. candicans. C. dealbata/rivulosa has a smooth stipe.

Another small white Clitocybe is C. compressipes. Mushrooms representing this species exhibit a longitudinal compression running down the stipe. Both C. compressipes and C. candicans have spores a bit longer and with larger l/w ratio than C. dealbata/rivulosa. 

I assume that you have observed a white spore print for these. But if not, then a similar-looking species with a pink spore print is Clitocella mundula (aka. Clitocella popinalis, Rhodocybe mundula). Mushrooms representing this species are typically much larger than any of the small white Clitocybe types mentioned. 

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Thank you, Dave W!  I hadn't encountered Clitocybe candicans--that seems promising.

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Thank you for your suggestion, DufferinShroomer.  I was not familiar with Leucopaxillus albissimus, so I am pleased to become acquainted with another possibility.  However, I see some characteristics that don't seem to fit with my find.  The stipes of L. albissimus look thicker than those in my photos, and the caps are dry, while those I found seemed slightly moist and translucent.  Also Michael Kuo says they favor conifer litter, and I agree with Dave W's assessment that the forest in my photos is hardwood-dominant. 

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Leucopaxillus albissimus is a good suggestion. Here are the main differences.

1. L. albissimus mushrooms are almost always larger and with thicker stipes than either C. rivulosa or C. candicans.

2. L. albissimus mushrooms have a lot of white mycelium extending from the stipe bases, and this mycelium tends to form an underground mat to which many mushrooms in a single group are connected. Sometimes it's possible to pull an entire cluster of L. albissimus out of the ground by extracting a piece of this mat of mycelium.

3. A L. albissimus mushroom has a layer of gills that is easily separated from the rest of the context that comprises the cap.

Mushroom Expert  reports a species similar to L. albissimus --Leucopaxillus laterarius-- that is found on the forest floor in hardwood litter. The difference separating L. laterarius form the small white Clitiocybe species are the same three as cited above., Distinguishing L. albissimus from some of the Clitocybe species that produce large fruit bodies is trickier. 

 

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Thank you for elucidating those differences, Dave W.

I feel I should admit, with apologies, that I only have photos of these mushroomsI got neither spore print nor measurements.  Photographing them was a bit of an afterthought while harvesting some beautiful Pleurotus pulmonarius nearby.  So I'm not sure about the size, however, by drawing on memory and comparing them to nearby leaves in the photos, I would guess that the larger caps were in the neighborhood of 8 cm.  If what I've read about C. rivulosa is true, that is about twice the diameter they grow to.

I can't rule out Clitocella mundula by spore print, but in the photos I've found identified as C. mundula, I've seen gills that are significantly more decurrent than those of the specimens I photographedI don't know how variable that trait is.  Also, Michael Kuo puts their cap size at 2-5 cm, which again, is smaller than I believe those in my photos were.

I have found little about Clitocybe candicans, but I have found reference to two species of Clitocybe with caps up to 10 cm: C. phyllophila and C. parasitica.

Perhaps I will have the opportunity to collect additional data this year.

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This is a pic of the first Leucopaxillus I ever encountered. It was in a stand of pure spruce. The ring was sort of spectacular. It was too big to get the whole of it clearly in one photo but it did make a complete circle. I dont often see many species form a well defined ring and I wonder if a tendency to fruit in a well defined ring can be used as an identification point with any sort of reliability.

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I have seen L. albissimus forming large rings like this. But I have also seen other types of mushrooms in this growth pattern. Saprobic fungal species --like Clitocybe or Leucopaxillus-- sometimes consume nutrients in the substrate in arc/circle patterns that radiate over time. 

The size of the caps reported --up to 8 cm diameter-- eliminates both C. rivulosa and C. candicans (each with smaller caps).

Leucopaxillus --maybe not L. albissimus-- looks like a possibility. Clitocybe phyllophila also looks like a viable possibility. 

Bottom line... need more info. 

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This circle was very large as well.  I thought it was a line at first, but as my eyes followed it, I realized it was arcing around.

I just stumbled across a facebook group called "Clitocybe and Clitocyboid ID and Discussion" and have been looking at photos posted there.  

Thank you both for your input.  I'm definitely going to look for these this summer.

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