|Major Groups > Chanterelles and Trumpets > Gomphoid Mushrooms|
by Michael Kuo
Gomphoid mushrooms are generally sturdy, fleshy, and vase-shaped, with wrinkled outer surfaces. They are more common in northern and montane forests, and most species are mycorrhizal partners with trees. Preliminary research (Giachini, 2004) has indicated a potential relationship between the appearance of Gomphus fruiting bodies and the volume of woody debris present.
The traditional distinction between gomphoid mushrooms and the chanterelles is that the former have large, coarse scales on the cap
Identification of gomphoid mushrooms is not difficult, and can generally be accomplished without microscopic analysis. In fact, this is one area where DNA studies over the last decade or so have made things easier for would-be identifiers, rather than more difficult; a substantial number of species traditionally separated from Turbinellus floccosus (née Gomphus floccosus) on the basis of minor differences in colors and spore sizes have been reduced to synonymy with Turbinellus floccosus on the basis of molecular results.
If you are wondering what happened to the Gomphus described in your field guides, research by Admir Giachini (2004, 2010, 2011) has made several important findings. First, DNA suggests that the genus Gomphus should be limited to three species centered around Gomphus clavatus (which is the only one of the three occurring in North America). Second, the species traditionally centered around "Gomphus floccosus" should be treated in a separate genus; Giachini proposes an older genus name, Turbinellus. Third, as noted above, many of the floccosus-like "species" are so genetically similar that they probably do not deserve separate species status. Fourth, the floccosus-like and clavatus-like groups are distant enough, genetically, that several species of Ramaria (see Clubs and Corals) are grouped between them, indicating a clear separation. Last (for our purposes here, anyway), some species traditionally treated in Gomphus are even more distantly related, and belong in the little-known genus Gloeocantharellus.
Key to 3 Gomphoid Mushrooms in North America
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Kuo, M. (2021, August). Gomphoid mushrooms. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/gomphoid.html