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Clitocybe californiensis

[Basidiomycota > Agaricales > Tricholomataceae > Clitocybe . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

With its gills appearing notched or just barely running down the stem and its habitat on the deadwood of coast live oak, Clitocybe californiensis is not particularly "clitocyboid," since clitocyboid mushrooms are usually terrestrial litter decomposers with gills that run down the stem. However, Clitocybe californiensis is indeed a species of Clitocybe, and its non-clitocyboid features serve as good identification characters, along with the dull orangish cap and stem. Under the microscope the species is very Clitocybe-ish (in other words, micro-boring), but its very small spores help to separate it.

Clitocybe californiensis is very similar to Clitocybe americana, which also grows on the wood of hardwoods, and was first described by the same mycologist (Bigelow 1976). Gregory (2007) suspects the two species may be the same.

Thanks to Mila Visser 't Hooft for collecting, documenting, and preserving Clitocybe californiensis for study; her collection is deposited in The Herbarium of Michael Kuo.


Ecology: Saprobic; growing alone or gregariously, on or near the well-rotted wood of coast live oak and possibly other hardwoods; winter; known from coastal California. The illustrated and described collection is from the Bay Area.

Cap: 3–5 cm; broadly convex with an inrolled margin, becoming planoconvex or nearly flat; bald; dry or a little moist; pale orangish to pale brownish orange, with the center a little darker; margin with a slightly fuzzy white edge. especially when young.

Gills: Attached to the stem with a slight notch, or beginning to run down it; close; short-gills frequent; whitish.

Stem: 3–6 cm long; about 1 cm thick; more or less equal; bald; pale orangish brown, with a white zone at the apex; basal mycelium white, copious.

Flesh: Whitish; not changing when sliced, or staining a little brownish.

Odor and Taste: Odor fragrant, or not distinctive.

Spore Print: White.

Microscopic Details: Spores 3.5–5.5 x 2–3 µm; ellipsoid; smooth; hyaline in KOH; inamyloid. Basidia 2- and 4-sterigmate. Hymenial cystidia not found. Pileipellis a partially gelatinized cutis of smooth, hyaline elements 2.5–7.5 µm wide. Clamp connections present.

REFERENCES: H. E. Bigelow, 1985. (Gregory, 2007; Siegel & Schwarz, 2016.) Herb. Kuo 01122003.

This site contains no information about the edibility or toxicity of mushrooms.


Clitocybe californiensis

Clitocybe californiensis

Clitocybe californiensisSpores

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Kuo, M. (2020, March). Clitocybe californiensis. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: