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Callistosporium luteo-olivaceum

[ Basidiomycetes > Agaricales > Tricholomataceae > Callistosporium . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

This little mushroom is a decomposer of deadwood--primarily the wood of conifers. It has an olive to yellow cap, yellow gills, and a white spore print. Ho-hum. Truth be told, Callistosporium luteo-olivaceum is pretty boring, though it becomes slightly more interesting with the application of KOH (its cap turns purplish red) or under the microscope (its spores turn purplish in KOH).


Ecology: Saprobic on well decayed wood of conifers and perhaps on the wood of hardwoods; growing alone or gregariously; occasionally on wood so far decayed that the mushrooms appear terrestrial, and sometimes on buried wood; summer, fall, and winter; widely distributed in North America. In my area (central Illinois) it appears from July to October in plantations of red pine.

Cap: Usually 1.5-3 cm, but sometimes as large as 6 cm; convex, becoming planoconvex or flat; at first very finely dusted, but soon bald; somewhat moist when fresh; dark olive to olive yellow, changing color markedly as it dries out, eventually becoming yellowish or cinnamon.

Gills: Attached to the stem, sometimes by means of a notch; close; yellow or golden yellow.

Stem: 3-6 cm long; up to about 5 mm thick (occasionally larger); when young finely dusted overall, becoming bald over the upper half with age; hollowing; often grooved or flattened; colored like the cap; basal mycelium white.

Flesh: Thin; insubstantial; colored like the cap or paler.

Odor and Taste: Odor pungent, fruity, or not distinctive; taste mild or a little bitter.

Chemical Reactions: KOH on cap surface purplish red.

Spore Print: White.

Microscopic Features: Spores 5-6.5 x 3-4.5 µ; broadly elliptical; smooth; with an apiculus; inamyloid, turning purple in a KOH mount. Pleurocystidia absent; cheilocystidia inconspicuous, about the length of the basidia, clavate to contorted or branched. Pileipellis a cutis of elements 2-4 µ wide, with clavate cystidia (especially in young specimens).

Callistosporium graminicolor, separated by Lennox (1979) on the basis of its loner spores, may be a synonym.

REFERENCES: (Berkeley & Curtis, 1859) Singer, 1946. (Lennox, 1979; Redhead, 1982; Arora, 1986; Miller & Miller, 2006; Trudell & Ammirati, 2009.) Herb. Kuo 08290202, 07250401, 10010501.


Callistosporium luteo-olivaceum

Callistosporium luteo-olivaceum

Callistosporium luteo-olivaceum

Callistosporium luteo-olivaceum
Spore print

Callistosporium luteo-olivaceum

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Kuo, M. (2006, November). Callistosporium luteo-olivaceum. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: