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Cortinarius semisanguineus

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

by Michael Kuo

Among the Cortinarius species with blood-red gills, Cortinarius semisanguineus is distinguished by its yellowish brown to olive brown cap, its pale stem, its reaction to KOH (promptly purplish black), and its association with conifers. Other members of the group have caps that are more red or orange, and/or react differently to KOH, or are associated with hardwoods. There are a number of variants of Cortinarius semisanguineus, based on the color of the gills (ranging from yellowish to blood red to orangish) and the stem (ranging from yellowish to orangish or whitish). Spore size is also fairly variable in the species, according to Cortinarius expert Joseph Ammirati (1972, 1984).

Dermocybe semisanguinea is a synonym.


Ecology: Mycorrhizal with conifers, especially pines; growing alone or scattered, often in moss; summer and fall; apparently widely distributed in North America.

Cap: 1.5-7 cm; more or less convex at first, becoming broadly convex, flat, or broadly bell-shaped, sometimes with a sharp central bump; dry; silky; yellowish brown to cinnamon brown, often darker over the center.

Gills: Attached to the stem but often pulling away from it in age; close; blood red, becoming cinnamon to rusty; covered by a yellowish cortina when young.

Stem: 2.5-10 cm long; up to 1.5 cm thick at the apex; more or less equal; dry; silky; usually pale yellowish, but often darker or reddish toward the base; often with a rusty ring zone.

Flesh: Whitish or pale yellowish.

Odor: Mild or radishlike.

Chemical Reactions: KOH on cap surface purple to purplish black.

Spore Print: Rusty brown.

Microscopic Features: Spores 6-9 x 4-5 µ; ellipsoid; slightly roughened. Cheilo- and pleurocystidia absent. Pileipellis a cutis. Contextual and lamellar elements pinkish purple to purplish in KOH.

REFERENCES: (Fries, 1821) Gillet, 1874. (Kauffman, 1918; Ammirati, 1972; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1979; Ammirati & Smith, 1984; Phillips, 1991/2005; Lincoff, 1992; Mezler & Mezler, 1992; Barron, 1999; McNeil, 2006; Miller & Miller, 2006.) Herb. Kuo 09039505, 09110405.

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Cortinarius semisanguineus

Cortinarius semisanguineus

Cortinarius semisanguineus
Spore print

Cortinarius semisanguineus

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Kuo, M. (2011, November). Cortinarius semisanguineus. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: