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Clitocybe flaccida

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

by Michael Kuo

Clitocybe flaccida is a brownish orange, sweet-smelling clitocyboid mushroom found under conifers, binding needle duff with its copious mycelium. On our continent the species is common in the Pacific Northwest and California, and occasional throughout northern and montane regions. Aside from the cap color and odor, distinguishing features include the orangish tinge to the gills (which becomes more pronounced with maturity), and very small, spiny spores.

Vizzini and Ercole (2012) provided preliminary support for consideration of Clitocybe flaccida and closely related species in a separate genus, "Paralepista," but the authors jumped the gun by quite a bit, creating combinations for more than a dozen species in Paralepista without citing any collections or molecular evidence for most of the species transferred—and, even in the case of Clitocybe flaccida, which they did study, they provide no discussion to justify the new genus. Moreover, by more recent standards for creation of genera (Vellinga et al. 2014), they fail to support the genus in several important ways. Thus I will wait for more thorough science to support the idea.

Lepista flaccida is a synonym (see the page for clitocyboid mushrooms if you care that I am not using this name), as are Clitocybe/Lepista inversa and Clitocybe/Lepista splendens.


Ecology: Saprobic; growing scattered or gregariously on conifer litter; summer and fall, or over winter in warm climates; originally described from and widely distributed in Europe; also found in western Asia; in North America distributed from the Pacific Northwest to the Great Lakes and Maine, extending southward in the Rocky Mountains and Appalachian Mountains. The illustrated and described collections are from California and Michigan.

Cap: 4–10 cm; convex with an inrolled margin at first, becoming flat or shallowly vase-shaped; sticky when fresh but soon dry; fairly smooth; brownish orange to reddish orange, orangish yellow, or pale brownish orange; the margin not lined.

Gills: Running down the stem; close; short-gills frequent; pinkish buff or orangish, becoming darker orange to brownish with maturity.

Stem: 2–7 cm long; 1–1.5 cm thick; more or less equal; dry; colored like the cap but paler; with copious whitish to orangish mycelium at the base.

Flesh: Thin; whitish to orangish or brownish; not changing when sliced.

Odor and Taste: Odor sweet and fragrant; taste not distinctive, or slightly bitter.

Chemical Reactions: KOH yellow on cap surface.

Spore Print: Whitish to pale yellowish or pinkish.

Microscopic Details: Spores 3–4.5 x 3.5–5 µm including ornamentation; subglobose to broadly ellipsoid; with spines 0.5–1 µm long; hyaline to yellowish in KOH; inamyloid; cyanophilic. Basidia 22–28 x 4–6 µm; clavate; 4-sterigmate. Cystidia not found. Pileipellis poorly differentiated; cap surface elements 1.5–3 µm wide, smooth, tangled, hyaline in KOH. Clamp connections present.

REFERENCES: (Sowerby, 1799) N. T. Patouillard, 1887. (Smith, 1949; Bigelow & Smith, 1969; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1979; Bigelow, 1981; Phillips, 1981; Bigelow, 1985; Arora, 1986; Breitenbach & Kränzlin, 1991; Schalkwijk-Barendsen, 1991; Kuyper, 1995; Gregory, 2007; Buczacki et al., 2012; Vizzini & Ercole, 2012; Desjardin, Wood & Stevens, 2014; Siegel & Schwarz, 2016; Gminder & Böhning, 2017; Læssøe & Petersen, 2019.) Herb. Kuo 01130601, 01141102.

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


Clitocybe flaccida

Clitocybe flaccida

Clitocybe flaccida

Clitocybe flaccida

Clitocybe flaccida

Clitocybe flaccida

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Kuo, M. (2021, September). Clitocybe flaccida. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: