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Psathyrella pseudovernalis

[ Basidiomycetes > Agaricales > Coprinaceae > Psathyrella . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

One of several springtime species of Psathyrella, Psathyrella pseudovernalis appears in hardwood forests, often at about the same time as yellow morels. It is a fragile, brown mushroom with little wisps of veil material along the cap margin, a dark brown spore print, and a snap-able white stem. Microscopic features must be consulted to separate Psathyrella pseudovernalis from other species of Psathyrella; it features fusoid-ventricose (rather than utriform) hymenial cystidia, and gill edges bearing few cheilocystidia but many sphaeropedunculate elements.


Ecology: Saprobic; growing scattered to gregariously or in small clusters in hardwood forests, often near woody debris; spring; apparently widely distributed in North America.

Cap: 2-4.5 cm; convex, broadly conical, broadly bell-shaped, or nearly flat at maturity; bald; the margin finely lined; medium yellow-brown, fading markedly as it dries out to brownish buff; when young with wisps of veil tissue, especially along the margin.

Gills: Attached to the stem; close or nearly distant; whitish to pale brownish at first, becoming dark brown.

Stem: 3-10 cm long; up to 5 mm thick; equal; fragile; white but often discoloring dirty yellowish to brownish in the middle with maturity; bald or very finely silky; without a ring.

Flesh: Thin; fragile; brownish.

Odor and Taste: Not distinctive.

Chemical Reactions: KOH on cap surface at first negative but turning purplish after 60-90 seconds.

Spore Print: Dark brown.

Microscopic Features: Spores 7.5-9.5 x 4-5.5 µ; ellipsoid; with a pore; smooth; dark brown in KOH. Pleurocystidia fusoid-ventricose; thin-walled; to about 70 x 15 µ. Cheilocystidia subfusiform; infrequent; thin-walled. Sphaeropedunculate elements on gill edge abundant; subglobose, without apical necks. Pileipellis hymeniform/cellular.

REFERENCES: Smith, 1972. (P. vernalis: Moser, 1983; Hansen & Knudsen, 1992.) Herb. Kuo 04220301, 04240303, 05050704.

The name "Psathyrella vernalis," as it is applied by Moser (1955, 1983) and by Hansen & Knudsen (1992), probably represents the same mushroom. Smith separated his North American species, Psathyrella pseudovernalis, for a single, very dubious reason: "P. vernalis, a European species, apparently has paler spores." However, use of the name Psathyrella vernalis is complicated by the fact that it is illegitimate (it represents a homonym for a different species named by Velenovsky) and by the fact that Kits van Waveren (1985) reduced the species to a mere "form" of Psathyrella spadiceogrisea (along with Orton [1986] and Hansen & Knudsen [1992] I disagree on this point).


Psathyrella pseudovernalis

Psathyrella pseudovernalis

Psathyrella pseudovernalis

Psathyrella pseudovernalis
Spore Print

Psathyrella pseudovernalis

Psathyrella pseudovernalis

Psathyrella pseudovernalis
Sphaeropedunculate Elements

Psathyrella pseudovernalis

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Kuo, M. (2011, January). Psathyrella pseudovernalis. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: