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Leucopaxillus or Clitocybe?


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Found a group of these mushrooms among decomposing oak leaves in Northern New Jersey. Younger mushrooms have decurrent gills. Stems becone narrower toward the base. Odor is not distinctive, and is rather pleasant. Spore print is white. I was looking at Leucopaxillus laterarius,  but a few things don't match, like cap color and stem shape. (I have not tried to separate the gill layer yet, will do it later tonight).

Any help is greatly appreciated. 

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Interesting suggestion; thanks Dave! Visually the closest match is Hygrophorus sordidus - based on this photo https://www.mushroomexpert.com/images/kuo4/hygrophorus_sordidus_01.jpg and most of its description. The biggest non-matching trait - there is nothing slimy about any part of mushrooms that I found, though maybe the reason for that is dry weather for several days in a row. Also, the gill layer can be easily separated.
One more observation - stems look similar in shape and feel to Chanterelles.

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No white chanterelles are known to occur in NY. Separable hymenium does suggest Leucopaxillus; but the gills don't look right for this genus, too well separated and looking kinda thick and waxy which is why I thought maybe Hygrophorus. You correctly point out that most of the late fall Hygrophorus species feature slimy caps (and often slimy everything). But some types dry out and the slime/viscidity disappears. 

Leucopaxillus have amyloid spores (need Melzer's reagent to determine). Most Clitocybe have small/narrow spores that look different from Hygrophorus spores. If you're really interested and you can collect a decent sample of spores from a spore drop, then I think I could determine genus. If you'd like to mail me a spore sample, then please contact me via personal message.

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That's great Dave, thank you for the offer. Since I kept collected mushrooms in a fridge, I was able to pick two for spore prints on a foil; should be ready tomorrow. I was not suggesting that these mushrooms are white chanterelles (though it would be nice). Really curious to find out what genus they belong to.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I opened the letter today that had the aluminum foil with the spore deposits. Scraped some of the white spores into a tiny pile on a microscope slide and added a small drop of Melzer's reagent. Much to my surprise, the spores appeared to darken, which would indicate an amyloid reaction. Of the genera discussed, only Leucopaxillus has amyloid spores. But, the mushrooms seen here do not appear to be growing from a "mycelial mat", forest litter bound together by white mycelium and forming a mat adhered to bases of the stalks. Also, the gills are widely-spaced for Leucopaxillus. The spores mounted in Melzer's did show up under the scope. But they did not appear to be particularly dark. When a drop of Congo red was added to the mount to stain the spores, they showed up better. The shapes seen in profile were ellipsoid with a prominent apiculus; approximate dimensions 6-7.5 x 4-5 microns. Assessing fine ornamentation with my scopes --maximum 400x magnification-- is not dependable. I didn't notice any obvious ornamentation. 

The spores --if truly amyloid-- match fairly well with Leucopaxillus giganteus. As the species name suggests, mushrooms of this species tend to be large, cap diameters over 10 cm. The spores of L. laterarius are significantly smaller than the spores I scoped. The stems and the gills don't seem like a real good match for Leucopaxillus. 

The shapes of the spores seen could fit either Clitocybe or Hygrophorus, although mushrooms representing these genera do not have amyloid spores (with perhaps very few exceptions none of which I know). 

I wonder if something scrapes off the surface of the aluminum foil that causes an amyloid reaction? I don't think so. 

The photos added below show a small pile of spores slightly darkened in a drop of Melzer's, the spores mounted in Melzer's and viewed at 400x, and the spores mounted in Congo red viewed at 400x. There are small globose (round) things mixed in with the spores. Some of these may be spores aligned for view from a pole, air bubbles, or something else. I don't think there were spores of two different types of mushrooms. I think the mushrooms seen all represent the same species.

To me, these mushrooms still seem like somewhat of a mystery.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I believe I may now have an explanation for the "darkening" of the spores in Melzer's reagent. The spores I received from Dmitriy had become compressed inside folded foil. The spores were scraped onto a slide where they formed a little pile. When mounted in the Melzer's the combination created a shadow. Probably the pigmentation added by the Melzer's contributed to the effect. 

Last week I made a collection of Hygrophorus mushrooms (probably H. bpeyeri, aka. H. hypothyjus). This is a species that has non-amyloid white-spores. I collected a substantial print on a piece of foil and folded the foil. I placed the folded foil beneath a flat weight for a few days. Eventually scraped spores onto a slide and added a small drop of Melzer's The result is seen below... dark areas. Also, the word "SPECIMEN" on the slide is seen to cast a shadow onto the white background. 

Hygrophorus boyeri spores mounted in Melzer's.  The spores themselves are seen mounted beneath a slip. There does in fact appear to be a slight darkening, likely just the pigment in the Melzer's getting absorbed into the spores. 1819192199_HygrophorusboyeriSquirrelRk12-119Mlzrs.thumb.JPG.66d313951c444148f9aee06baafeaed5.JPG927324034_HygrophorusboyeriSquirrelRk12-1110.thumb.JPG.38fde0c16a4025a9a57d211c87a3372c.JPG

Melzer's applied to a print taken directly onto a slide --so that the spores merely coated the slide-- would likely not produce a noticeable darkening. The spores seen in the photo through the scope are not darkened to the point of suggesting "amyloid". 

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  • 3 months later...

There are a total of four Hygrophorus penarius observations on Mushroom Observer, all originating in Europe. Wiki says this species occurs in North America, but my guess is that it is either uncommon or not present in North America. However, this proposal echoes my suggestion that these white mushrooms represent some species of Hygrophorus. There are several similar species of white Hygrophorus that are found in NA. 

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