Major Groups > Gilled Mushrooms > Pale-Spored > Clitocyboid Mushrooms > Clitocybe nebularis


Clitocybe nebularis

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

by Michael Kuo

Clitocybe nebularis is a medium-sized to large, conifer-loving clitocyboid mushroom with a cloudy gray cap and a strong, foul odor. According to the literature the species also features a distinctive pale yellow spore print—but when I have collected it, I managed only to get a very thin, whitish dusting rather than a fully fledged, thick print, so I have had to rely on other features and microscopic details for identification.

On our continent Clitocybe nebularis is most common in the Pacific Northwest, but collections are also sometimes made in the northern Midwest and in montane Mexico. Whether or not these geographically diverse collections actually represent the same phylogenetic species is unclear—as is the idea that any of our North American versions of Clitocybe nebularis actually represent the same species originally described in Europe.


Ecology: Saprobic; growing alone, scattered, or gregariously under conifers or, occasionally, hardwoods; summer and fall, or over winter in warm climates. Originally described from Germany; widespread in Europe; reported from Japan and New Zealand; in North America primarily distributed in the Pacific Northwest, but also reported from the upper Midwest and Mexico. The illustrated and described collections are from California.

Cap: 4–30 cm; convex to nearly flat; dry or moist; bald, or finely fibrillose; often with a silky whitish fuzz over the center; gray to brownish gray; the margin at first inrolled.

Gills: Broadly attached to the stem or beginning to run down it; close or nearly crowded; creamy; bright brownish orange in dried specimens.

Stem: 4–9 cm long; 1.5–3 cm thick; when young with an enlarged base; dry; finely fibrillose; whitish; darkening to brownish where handled; with prominent white basal mycelium.

Flesh: White; thick; unchanging when sliced.

Odor Usually strongly foul (reminiscent of the "coal tar" odor in Tricholoma); sometimes sickly sweetish.

Chemical Reactions: KOH negative on cap surface.

Spore Print: Whitish in a thin print, but reportedly pale yellowish in thick prints.

Microscopic Details: Spores 5–7 x 3–4 µm; ellipsoid or elongated-ellipsoid; with a tiny apiculus; smooth; hyaline in KOH; inamyloid; often adhering in groups of 2–4; collapsed spores frequently found. Basidia 33–36 x 4–6 µm; subclavate; 4-sterigmate. Cystidia not found. Pileipellis a dense tangle of elements 1.5–5 µm wide, smooth, hyaline to brownish in KOH, with clamp connections.

REFERENCES: (Batsch, 1789) P. Kummer, 1871. (Fries, 1821; Saccardo, 1887; Harmaja, 1969; Smith, 1975; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1979; Phillips, 1981; Bigelow, 1982; Arora, 1986; Breitenbach & Kränzlin, 1991; Schalkwijk-Barendsen, 1991; Lincoff, 1992; Kuyper, 1995; Nonis, 2001; Redhead et al., 2002; Miller & Miller, 2006; Gregory, 2007; Trudell & Ammirati, 2009; Vesterholt, 2012; Buczacki et al., 2013; Lodge et al., 2013; Desjardin, Wood & Stevens, 2014; Sanchez-García et al., 2014; Siegel & Schwarz, 2016; Gminder & Böhning, 2017; Vesterholt, 2018; Læssøe & Petersen, 2019; McKnight et al., 2021.) Herb. Kuo 01110607, 01161303.

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Clitocybe nebularis

Clitocybe nebularis

Clitocybe nebularis

Clitocybe nebularis

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