[ Basidiomycota > Agaricales > Hygrophoraceae > Gliophorus . . . ]
by Michael Kuo
This small-ish waxy cap can be recognized by a combination of features. The color of the cap is usually pinkish orange (not bright orange), and its surface is slimy. The gills begin to run down the stem, and their edges are formed by a thin, slimy zone (look very closely, perhaps with a hand lens). The stem, too, has a slimy surface. Often (but not always) Gliophorus laetus features a distinctive, somewhat fishy odor. Finally, under the microscope, the slimy zone on the edges of the gills is revealed as a sterile strip of filamentous cheilocystidia set in a gelatinous matrix.
As it is currently defined Gliophorus laetus demonstrates substantial variability in its colors and habitats. The West-Coast, redwood-associated version, for example, can be green, blue, or purple when young, and features no distinctive odor (Siegel & Schwarz 2016). Collections from Europe, Central America, eastern North America, and western North America in a recent study (Lodge et al. 2013) demonstrated potential phylogenetic differences, indicating that "Gliophorus laetus" may represent a species group.
Hygrophorus laetus and Hygrocybe laeta are synonyms.
Ecology: Precise ecological role uncertain (see Lodge et al. 2013); growing scattered to gregariously in woods (especially in boggy, wet areas) or, in Europe, in grasslands and heaths; summer and fall, or over winter in warmer climates. Originally described from France; common in Europe; widely distributed in North America; also known from Central America. The illustrated and described collections are from Michigan and Ohio.
Cap: 1.5–3.5 cm across; convex at first, expanding to broadly convex or nearly flat, with a shallow central depression; bald; slimy; medium brownish orange over the center, but paler pinkish orange elsewhere; the margin becoming translucently lined with age.
Gills: Running down the stem, or beginning to do so; distant; edges with a thin gelatinous band; creamy; short-gills present.
Stem: 3–4 cm long; 2–3 mm thick; equal; bald; slimy; pale orange; hollow.
Flesh: Insubstantial; whitish.
Odor and Taste: Odd and fishy or soaplike—or not distinctive.
Chemical Reactions: KOH pink on cap surface.
Spore Print: White.
Microscopic Features: Spores 6–9 x 3.5–4.5 µm; ellipsoid to sublacrymoid; smooth; hyaline in KOH; inamyloid. Basidia 35–40 x 3–5 µm; cylindric to subclavate; 4-sterigmate. Pleurocystidia not found. Ixocheilocystidia forming a sterile band; 30–50 x 1–2 µm; filamentous; apices rounded or subacute; smooth; hyaline in KOH; partially gelatinizing. Pileipellis an ixocutis; elements 2.5–5 µm wide, smooth, hyaline in KOH.
REFERENCES: (Persoon, 1800) J. Herink, 1958. (Fries, 1821; Kauffman, 1918; Hesler and Smith, 1963; Bird & Grund, 1979; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1979; Phillips, 1981; Largent, 1985; Arnolds, 1990; Breitenbach & Kränzlin, 1991; Phillips, 1991/2005; Candusso, 1997; Barron, 1999; Boertmann, 2000; Roody, 2003; McNeil, 2006; Miller & Miller, 2006; Boertmann, 2008; Trudell & Ammirati, 2009; Bessette et al., 2012; Buczacki et al., 2012; Lodge et al., 2013; Siegel & Schwarz, 2016; Baroni, 2017; Sturgeon, 2018; Læssøe & Petersen, 2019.) Herb. Kuo 07181502, 08112012.
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