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Gymnopilus liquiritiae

[ Basidiomycetes > Agaricales > Cortinariaceae > Gymnopilus . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

Gymnopilus liquiritiae is a widely distributed wood rotting mushroom with a smooth, orange cap and a very bitter taste. Its job in the northern and western regions of the continent appears to be to assist conifer wood in the process of decay--but in southern regions it is more partial to dead hardwoods. It is not the easiest of mushrooms to identify, but the complete absence of a partial veil helps to narrow things down a bit. Microscopic features (see below) separate Gymnopilus liquiritiae from similar species.


Ecology: Saprobic on the rotting wood of fallen hardwoods (especially in the south) and conifers (especially in the north and west); growing alone or gregariously; widely distributed; summer and fall.

Cap: 2-8 cm; convex or nearly flat, sometimes slightly bell-shaped; dry; smooth; rusty brown to orange; the margin sometimes finely lined at maturity.

Gills: Attached to the stem, but sometimes pulling away from it in age; close or crowded; yellowish or pale orange at first, eventually orange; sometimes with reddish brown spots.

Stem: 3-7 cm long; 3-8 mm thick; more or less equal, or tapering in either direction; sometimes somewhat off-center; smooth or finely fibrous; whitish to pale orange; basal mycelium yellow to rusty.

Flesh: Pale orange to pale yellow.

Odor and Taste: Taste very bitter; odor mild, fragrant, or like that of raw potatoes.

Spore Print: Rusty brown.

Chemical Reactions: KOH dark red on cap surface.

Microscopic Features: Spores 6-8 x 4-5 µ; ellipsoid; echinulate; dextrinoid; reddish brown in KOH. Pleurocystidia and cheilocystidia cylindric with subcapitate to capitate apices; 20-40 µ long. Caulocystidia similar, in tufts; up to 50 µ long or more. Pileipellis a cutis with occasional pileocystidia.

REFERENCES: (Persoon, 1801) Karsten, 1879. (Saccardo, 1887; Hesler, 1969; Weber & Smith, 1985; McNeil, 2006.) Herb. Kuo 09180406, 09071401 (B. Solem).


Gymnopilus liquiritiae

Gymnopilus liquiritiae

Gymnopilus liquiritiae

Gymnopilus liquiritiae

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Kuo, M. (2004, November). Gymnopilus liquiritiae. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: