|Major Groups > Gilled Mushrooms > Pale-Spored > Marasmioid > Marasmius capillaris|
by Michael Kuo
Often mistaken for the better known Marasmius rotula, this tiny mushroom differs by growing on fallen oak leaves, rather than sticks and woody debris. Additionally, it has a more rounded cap (Marasmius rotula looks squarish and flat-topped when viewed from the side), and slightly larger spores.
After summer rains in eastern North America's oak-hickory forests, Marasmius capillaris can often be seen fruiting by the thousands, like tiny white flowers blanketing the litter layer. Close inspection of the same leaves during dry spells often reveals that the little mushrooms are still there, shriveled up until they are literally pin-sized, waiting for more rain and the chance to come back to life and distribute spores once again.
Ecology: Saprobic on the fallen leaves of oaks and other hardwoods (rarely reported on conifer duff); growing alone or, more often, gregariously (dozens may be found on a single leaf); summer and fall; widely distributed east of the Rocky Mountains.
Cap: 2-15 mm across; convex, but soon with a central depression; pleated; smooth or very finely velvety; dry; whitish or very pale grayish brown.
Gills: Attached to a tiny "collar" that circles the stem; whitish; distant.
Stem: Up to 60 mm long; less than 1 mm thick; equal; dry; shiny; wiry; pale above, dark brown to black below; inserted directly into the leaf.
Flesh: Almost non-existent.
Odor and Taste: Taste not distinctive, or slightly bitter; odor not distinctive.
Spore Print: White.
Microscopic Features: Spores 7-11 x 3-5 µ; smooth; pip-shaped. Pleurocystidia absent. Cheilocystidia as broom cells; to about 21 x 14 µ;; inamyloid or slightly dextrinoid. Pileipellis a hymeniform layer of broom cells.
Cite this page as:
Kuo, M. (2013, January). Marasmius capillaris. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/marasmius_capillaris.html