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Cortinarius infractus

[Basidiomycetes > Agaricales > Cortinariaceae > Cortinarius ... ]

by Michael Kuo

Identifying features for this fairly distinctive Cortinarius include the grayish olive to olive brown cap, the olive-tinged gills, the bitter taste, and microscopic features (including broadly ellipsoid to nearly round spores, and basidia that turn green in KOH). Cortinarius infractus is a European species that is also widely distributed in North America under both hardwoods and conifers, manifesting a fairly large range of colors--all of which suggests that there may be several North American infractus-like species waiting to be uncovered by contemporary study.


Ecology: Mycorrhizal with hardwoods or (less frequently) with conifers; growing alone, scattered, or gregariously; late summer and fall (or over winter in warmer climates); widely distributed in North America.

Cap: 4-10 cm; convex, becoming broadly convex to nearly flat, or broadly bell-shaped; sticky when fresh; bald; generally grayish olive to olive brown, but sometimes developing rusty to orangish brown shades.

Gills: Attached to the stem; close; brownish olive to olive gray at first (sometimes with a purplish tint), becoming rusty brown.

Stem: 4-9 cm long; up to about 2.5 cm thick; club shaped; dry; pale olive to whitish, discoloring brownish--or with purplish shades near the apex when young; often adorned with with rusty cortina remnants when mature.

Flesh: Whitish, or with purplish shades in the stem.

Odor and Taste: Odor not distinctive. Taste of cap surface bitter.

Chemical Reactions: 10% KOH dark gray on cap surface; gray on flesh. 15% KOH dark gray on dried cap surface.

Spore Print: Rusty brown.

Microscopic Features: Spores 7-8 x 5-6 µ; subglobose to broadly ellipsoid; moderately to strongly verrucose. Basidia green in 2% KOH. Cheilo- and pleurocystidia absent; marginal cells present. Pileipellis an ixocutis of clamped elements.

REFERENCES: (Persoon, 1799) Fries, 1838. (Fries, 1821; Saccardo, 1887; Kauffman, 1918; Kauffman, 1932; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1979; Moser, 1983; Arora, 1986; Breitenbach & Kränzlin, 2000; Knudsen & Vesterholt, 2008.) Herb. Kuo 09120702.

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Cortinarius infractus

Cortinarius infractus

Cortinarius infractus
KOH: dried specimen

Cortinarius infractus
Gill section: basidia

Cortinarius infractus

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Kuo, M. (2012, January). Cortinarius infractus. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: