|Major Groups > Oddballs & Misfits / Saddles > Cudonia circinans|
[ Ascomycetes > Helotiales > Cudoniaceae > Cudonia ... ]
by Michael Kuo
I was already making up names for the new Helvella species I had discovered (Helvella kuoii was at the top of the list) when I figured I'd better take a look at my find under the microscope. Oops. The long, needle-like spores were like no spores I had seen before, and they were certainly not the elliptical spores of Helvella.
Cudonia is one of several remote Ascomycete genera with needly spores, and my find fit the description of Cudonia circinans, which grows under conifers and has a pale yellow to brownish cap, with a somewhat darker stem. Cudonia lutea, by contrast, is brighter yellow, grows under hardwoods, and has a stem colored like the cap. The definitive feature separating the two species, however, is spore size (over 50 µ long for Cudonia lutea and under 40 µ long for Cudonia circinans).
Truth be told, my Cudonia had spores 40-50 µ long (right in the gap between the two species), grew under conifers and hardwoods, had a medium yellow (rather than pale yellow or bright yellow) cap, and a stem that was only slightly darker than the cap. But sometimes you just have to put a name on a collection and move on with your life--especially after such a major let-down as seeing Helvella kuoii appear and disappear, right before your eyes.
Ecology: Presumably saprobic; growing scattered to gregariously or in clusters on conifer duff (rarely from rotting wood); late summer and fall; widely distributed in northern and montane North America.
Cap: Cushion-shaped to irregularly convex; sometimes with a shallow central depression; up to 2 cm across; with the margin curled under; smooth or somewhat wrinkled; dry; creamy, pale yellow, or brown.
Stem: 2-6 cm long; up to .5 cm wide; dry; finely fuzzy or smooth; often with ridges (which may extend onto the undersurface of the cap); brownish.
Flesh: Thin; insubstantial; not gelatinous (compare with Leotia lubrica).
Microscopic Features: Spores 30-40 x 2 µ; needle-shaped; smooth; often septate.
REFERENCES: Fries, 1849. (Mains, 1956; Breitenbach & Kränzlin, 1984; Lincoff, 1991; Evenson, 1997; Barron, 1999.) Herb. Kuo 09130409.
Cite this page as:
Kuo, M. (2004, October). Cudonia circinans. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/cudonia_circinans.html