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Clitocybe subconnexa

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

by Michael Kuo

Clitocybe subconnexa is one of many bewildering whitish clitocyboid mushrooms, and sources do not entirely agree on its defining features. My concept of the species is this: it often grows in clusters; its thin-fleshed cap is whitish and sometimes a bit hygrophanous; its gills are very crowded, very shallow, and do not run very far down the stem, if at all (additionally, they are often separable with one's thumb as a layer, like the gills in Leucopaxillus); and, under the microscope, the spores are finely warty and very small, rarely exceeding 5 µm in length.

Clitocybe fasciculata differs only in its "rancid farinaceous" odor and "disagreeable" taste (Bigelow, 1982), and Clitocybe densifolia differs by not growing in clusters as consistently, in its more decurrent gills, its sometimes pinkish-staining flesh, its fleshier cap, and in its slightly smaller spores. These are obviously minimal differences, and an in-depth, contemporary study of these species is needed.

Lepista subconnexa is a synonym.

Thanks to Chris Darrah for collecting, documenting, and preserving Clitocybe subconnexa for study; his collection is deposited in The Herbarium of Michael Kuo.


Ecology: Saprobic; growing scattered or, more commonly, in clusters in hardwood leaf debris or conifer duff; appearing in diverse ecosystems; summer and fall—or over winter in warm climates; originally described from the grounds of the New York Botanical Garden; apparently widely distributed in North America; also reported from Scandinavia. The illustrated and described collections are from Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania.

Cap: 2–9 cm; convex with an inrolled margin, becoming planoconvex or flat, with an even margin; thin-fleshed; bald or with a satiny whitish sheen; moist when fresh, but soon dry; sometimes at least slightly hygrophanous; soft; white to buff, sometimes developing watery spots with age; the margin sometimes becoming vaguely lined or ridged with maturity.

Gills: Broadly attached to the stem or just beginning to run down it; crowded; very shallow; often separable as a layer, as in Leucopaxillus; short-gills frequent; buff, developing pinkish shades with age.

Stem: 2–8 cm long; 0.5–1.5 cm thick; more or less equal; bald or with a satiny whitish sheen; buff to grayish or watery brownish where handled; basal mycelium white, often copious.

Flesh: Whitish; not changing when sliced; fairly brittle.

Odor and Taste: Odor sweet, fragrant, or not distinctive. Taste mild or slightly bitterish.

Chemical Reactions: KOH on cap surface negative.

Spore Print: Pinkish (sometimes nearly white).

Microscopic Details: Spores 3–5 x 2.5–3.5 µm; ellipsoid; verruculose; hyaline in KOH; inamyloid; often adhering in twos, threes, and fours. Basidia 25–28 x 5–6 µm; subclavate; 4-sterigmate. Cystidia not found. Pileipellis a cutis of smooth, hyaline elements 2.5–7.5 µm wide. Clamp connections present.

REFERENCES: W. A. Murrill, 1915. (Saccardo, 1925; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1979; Bigelow, 1982; Gulden, 1983; Roody, 2003; Gregory, 2007; Kuo & Methven, 2014; Siegel & Schwarz, 2016; Christensen & Gulden, 2018; Kibby, 2020; McKnight et al., 2021.) Herb. Kuo 10010410, 09300505, 09150801, 08041706, 10111801.

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Clitocybe subconnexa

Clitocybe subconnexa

Clitocybe subconnexa

Clitocybe subconnexa

Clitocybe subconnexa

Clitocybe subconnexa

Clitocybe subconnexa

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