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'Elk Turd' mushrooms! Unidentified. MT, USA.

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Found these today!  I thought I'd spotted a pile of elk droppings and behold!  Mushrooms I've never seen before!  I'm so curious that I brought a few home and have set them up hopefully for a spore print.  Any ideas on identity?  They seriously looked just like a big pile of elk droppings.  It was the oldest, lightest-brown capped shroom that made me realize they were mushrooms.

Growing along a cold, wet rotten granite gravel roadside, downhill from melting snow and ice

5,000~ ft elevation, temp is currently 50's during the day and 30's at night. This is a partially sheltered stretch of road but they were in the sunniest spot in this microclimate

Growing in clusters that closely resembled elk droppings, total patch about 5'' long and 1' wide with mushroom clusters scattered therein.  Didn't find any others in the immediate area.

Caps dark cacao brown, with a few lighter "milk chocolate" caps (probably older caps?) on the largest of them.  Caps all different shapes and sizes, many with pointed tops and a few with little bumps/'buttons' OR dimples in the middle of the cap (forget the terminology for that).  Caps apparently flaring outward with age

No slime or moisture on the caps, but they're shiny and smooth.

Caps not delicate or brittle.

Stipes grey/brown, thick and durable and not easily broken.  Textured and fibrous, but not hairy or scaled.

No noticeable staining when stipe is crushed

No noticeable ring or veils

Smallest of the mushrooms was maybe 1/4" tall, with the largest about 1 1/2" tall.

Otherwise the mushrooms are very dense/heavy for their little size and are not the least bit fragile or brittle.


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I think these are a species of "Snowbank Clitocybe". Species names used for these are C. glacialis https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clitocybe_glacialis   and C. albirhiza. Melanoleuca angelesiana is another montane snowbank mushroom http://www.mushroomexpert.com/melanoleuca_angelesiana.html . 

C. glacialis used to be housed in genus Lyophyllum. You may also want to check a few species of Lyophyllum; some are similar in appearance to the ones seen in this thread. 

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