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Mycena leptocephala

[ Basidiomycetes > Agaricales > Tricholomataceae > Mycena . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

Gray to brown Mycena species are not the easiest mushrooms to identify, but Mycena leptocephala has several distinguishing features, including a strong bleach-like odor; terrestrial, gregarious habitat under conifers; and, under a microscope, spindle-shaped cheilocystidia that are not adorned with abundant rod-like projections. Mycena alcalina is very similar, even in microscopic features, but it grows in clusters on conifer stumps and logs, and tends to be a little stockier.

Many small mushrooms have distinctive odors, best detected by crushing one of the caps between your finger and thumb, then taking a whiff. Aside from the smell of bleach, other distinctive odors include a mealy smell (reminiscent of watermelon rind or cucumbers), an odor of radishes, and an odor of garlic or onions. Often a distinctive odor is strong enough that a subsequent taste test is not needed. However, people's noses work differently and I, for example, have trouble detecting "radish-like" as an odor, though the taste registers clear as a bell with my taste buds.

Description:

Ecology: Saprobic on the debris of conifers; growing scattered to gregariously on the ground; spring and fall (or over winter in warmer climates); widely distributed in North America.

Cap: 1-4 cm; conical when young, becoming broadly conical, convex, or broadly bell-shaped; moist; with a whitish bloom when young, but soon bald; black or dark grayish brown when young, fading somewhat to grayish brown or gray with age; the margin faintly lined at first, later becoming more strongly lined.

Gills: Attached to the stem by a tooth; nearly distant; whitish or pale grayish.

Stem: 3-7 cm long; 1-3 mm thick; fragile; equal; hollow; with a whitish bloom at first, but soon bald; black to dark brown at first, becoming grayish or brownish; basal mycelium whitish.

Flesh: Insubstantial; pallid or grayish.

Odor and Taste: Odor strongly bleachlike; taste acidic and unpleasant.

Spore Print: White.

Microscopic Features: Spores 7-10 x 4-6 µ; weakly to moderately amyloid; elliptical; smooth. Basidia usually 4-spored. Cheilocystidia abundant; 30-45 µ long; fusoid-ventricose, subcylindric, or clavate, without digitate projections. Pleurocystidia scattered or sometimes absent; similar to cheilocystidia. Pileipellis a cutis; uppermost elements digitate with short rod-like projections.

REFERENCES: (Persoon, 1800) Gillet, 1876. (Saccardo, 1887; Kauffman, 1918; Smith, 1947; Breitenbach & Kränzlin, 1991; Hansen & Knudsen, 1992; McNeil, 2006.) Herb. Kuo 11220401, 04180701.

According to many authors Mycena ammoniaca is a synonym.

Further Online Information:

Mycena leptocephala in Smith, 1947
Mycena leptocephala at Roger's Mushrooms
Mycena leptocephala at Mycena Page

 

Mycena leptocephala

Mycena leptocephala

Mycena leptocephala

Mycena leptocephala
Spores

Mycena leptocephala
Cheilocystidia

Mycena leptocephala
Pleurocystidia

Mycena leptocephala
Pileipellis



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Kuo, M. (2010, December). Mycena leptocephala. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/mycena_leptocephala.html