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Clitocybe robusta

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

by Michael Kuo

Clitocybe robusta is a medium-sized to large white species with a cap that does not become deeply vase-shaped; in fact the caps are often distorted as a result of the clustered growth habit. Its spore print is pale yellowish, and it often has a sickly, foul odor. Other identifying features include the inrolled cap margin, the broadly attached gills, the wide stem (which often develops a swollen base), and fairly small, smooth spores.

Several species are similar and separating them may require robust collections of young and old specimens, spore prints, and microscopic examination. Clitocybe phyllophila has a skinnier stem and smaller spores; Clitocybe densifolia, Clitocybe glaucocana, and Clitocybe irina have ornamented spores and differently colored spore prints. Leucopaxillus albissimus is also similar, but has a mealy odor and amyloid, ornamented spores.

I suspect the "Clitocybe dilatata" reported in several western North American field guides may represent a combination of Clitocybe robusta and Clitocybe phyllophila.

Clitocybe alba is a synonym. According to some authors (e.g. Kuyper, 1995), Clitocybe nebularis var. alba is also a synonym—and some European authors treat Clitocybe robusta as merely a whitish form of Clitocybe nebularis, undeserving of varietal or species status.


Ecology: Saprobic; growing in dense clusters under hardwoods or conifers, often on disturbed ground (along road banks and paths, etc.); summer and fall; originally described from New York; widely distributed in North America. The illustrated and described collections are from Colorado and Illinois.

Cap: 6–20 cm; convex, flat, shallowly depressed, or irregular and distorted; dry; soft and kid-leathery; white to dirty buff; the margin soft and inrolled at first.

Gills: Broadly attached to the stem or beginning to run down it; close or crowded; whitish, becoming pale brownish with age; not bruising; short-gills frequent; separable from the cap as a layer, as in Leucopaxillus.

Stem: 4–15 cm long; up to 3 cm thick at the apex; more or less equal, above an enlarged base up to 5 cm across; dry; bald, or with tiny fibers; whitish, discoloring brownish; basal mycelium white.

Flesh: White; thick; unchanging when sliced.

Odor and Taste: Odor usually sickly sweetish and foul but sometimes only slightly so, or sweet (without a foul component), or not distinctive; taste not distinctive.

Chemical Reactions: KOH negative on cap surface.

Spore Print: Pale yellowish with a thick fresh print.

Microscopic Details: Spores 5–9 x 3–4 µm; ellipsoid; smooth; hyaline in KOH; inamyloid; often adhering in twos, threes, and fours. Basidia 26–30 x 4–6 µm; clavate; 4-sterigmate. Cystidia not found. Pileipellis a cutis; elements 2.5–5 µm wide, smooth, hyaline in KOH. Clamp connections present.

REFERENCES: Peck, 1896. (Smith, 1973; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1979; Bigelow, 1982; Phillips, 1991/2005; Gregory, 2007; Baroni, 2017; Sturgeon, 2018.) Herb. Kuo 08140306, 08060505, 08171413, 10251401.

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Clitocybe robusta

Clitocybe robusta

Clitocybe robusta

Clitocybe robusta

Clitocybe robusta

Clitocybe robusta

Clitocybe robusta

Clitocybe robusta

Clitocybe robusta
Clamp connection

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Kuo, M. (2022, March). Clitocybe robusta. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: