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Gomphus clavatus

[ Basidiomycetes > Phallales > Gomphus . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

Sometimes called "Pig's Ears," Gomphus clavatus is an odd mushroom. Two or more irregularly shaped caps usually arise from a common stem, and the mushroom's underside is wrinkled and purplish. It is a mycorrhizal partner with northern and montane conifers--especially spruces and firs.

Recent DNA research (Giachini, 2004; link below) has more or less upheld the traditional concept of Gomphus clavatus--which is now apparently the only North American species of Gomphus, since other former Gomphus species on our continent have been transferred to other genera. See the page on the genus Gomphus for details.


Ecology: Mycorrhizal with conifers (especially spruces and firs); growing alone, scattered, or gregariously in northern and montane North America; summer and fall (winter and spring on the West Coast).

Fruiting Body: By maturity with two or more irregularly shaped caps arising from a shared stem and often fusing together at their edges; up to 17 cm high and 20 or more cm across; individual caps with wavy and irregular margins; usually somewhat centrally depressed by maturity.

Upper Surface: Pale brown to light or dark lilac; often fading to creamy tan or paler; smooth or with very tiny, scattered scales.

Undersurface: Wrinkled; dark lilac or purple when young but often fading to pale lilac; running down the stem.

Stem: 1-3 cm wide; whitish below; lilac near the undersurface; sometimes bruising reddish brown; fairly smooth above, but with a somewhat velvety base.

Flesh: Whitish to pinkish or pale lilac.

Odor and Taste: Mild.

Spore Print: Brownish.

Microscopic Features: Spore 10-15 x 4-7.5 µ; wrinkled or warted; more or less elliptical.

According to Giachini, Gomphus brevipes and Gomphus truncatus are genetically identical to Gomphus clavatus, and should be treated as synonyms.

REFERENCES: (Persoon, 1796) Gray, 1821. (Corner, 1966; Smith, 1968; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1981; Thiers, 1985; Arora, 1986; Phillips, 1991/2005; Lincoff, 1992; Persson, 1997; Barron, 1999; Pilz et al., 2003; Roody, 2003; Giachini, 2004; McNeil, 2006; Miller & Miller, 2006; Kuo, 2007.)

Further Online Information:

Gomphus clavatus at MykoWeb
Gomphus clavatus at Roger's Mushrooms


Gomphus clavatus

Gomphus clavatus

Gomphus clavatus

Gomphus clavatus

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Cite this page as:

Kuo, M. (2006, February). Gomphus clavatus. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: