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Hygrocybe psittacina: The Parrot Mushroom
by Michael Kuo
The parrot mushroom is unmistakable, if you catch it in its early stages of development when it is distinctively parrot-green (and decidely slimy). But it quickly begins to change colors, turning yellow or orange, and then fading to a sort of dingy straw color (see the illustrations). By the end of this transformation, the parrot mushroom has become a nondescript little thing, dirty yellowish and very difficult to identify. Ah, the splendors of youth!
Ecology: Saprobic in conifer and hardwood forests; growing scattered to gregariously; frequently on embankments along wooded roadsides; spring through fall (or over winter in warmer climates); widely distributed in North America.
Cap: 1-3 cm; conic to bell-shaped, becoming convex to flat; slimy, or appearing lacquered when dried out; dark "parrot" green when young, soon changing to yellowish, orangish, or pinkish, finally dingy yellow; the margin thinly lined at first.
Gills: Attached to the stem; almost distant, thick and waxy; light green becoming reddish to yellowish.
Stem: 3-7 cm long; 2-5 mm thick; green above or completely green when young, changing to yellow or orange like the cap; slimy; equal; hollow.
Flesh: Colored like the cap, thin.
Odor and Taste: Not distinctive.
Spore Print: White.
Microscopic Features: Spores 6.5-8 x 4-5 µ; smooth; elliptical. Gill tissue parallel.
REFERENCES: (Schaeffer, 1774) Kummer, 1871. (Hesler and Smith, 1963; Bird & Grund, 1979; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1979; Largent, 1985; Arora, 1986; Lincoff, 1992; Barron, 1999; Boertmann, 2000; McNeil, 2006; Miller & Miller, 2006.) Herb. Kuo 09039406, 06160208, 01120501, 01130511.
Hygrophorus psittacinus is a synonym.
Further Online Information:
Cite this page as:
Kuo, M. (2004, December). Hygrocybe psittacina: The parrot mushroom. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/hygrocybe_psittacina.html