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Cortinarius vibratilis

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

by Michael Kuo

This yellow to orangish yellow species of Cortinarius features a slimy cap, off-white gills, distinctive spores (see below), and a very bitter taste. The stem is white, and often features a small basal bulb, as well as a slimy covering (at least around the bulb) when the mushroom is fresh and young. North American versions of Cortinarius vibratilis (the species was originally described from Sweden) encompass a fairly wide range of colors, shapes, and mycorrhizal hosts, suggesting that we may have several vibratilis-like species on our continent.

Cortinarius amarus Peck (1880), described from the Adirondacks, is listed by Kauffman (1918, 1932) as a synonym of Cortinarius vibratilis--but contemporary study may well discover that Peck's epithet should be applied to one of eastern North America's versions of Cortinarius vibratilis.


Ecology: Mycorrhizal with hardwoods and with conifers; often found in mossy, wet places; growing alone or gregariously; fall; widely distributed in North America.

Cap: 2-5 cm; convex, becoming broadly convex, nearly flat, or broadly bell-shaped; slimy when fresh; yellow to orangish yellow or nearly orange; the margin usually paler; bald.

Gills: Attached to the stem; close; whitish to yellowish white at first, becoming cinnamon to rusty brown.

Stem: 3-7 cm long; up to about 1 cm thick; usually with a somewhat swollen basal bulb, at least when young; white; covered with a glutinous slime veil when fresh and young, but soon more or less dry, or slimy only at the base; often with rusty fibrils or a faint ring zone.

Flesh: Whitish.

Odor and Taste: Odor not distinctive, or slightly foul. Taste extremely bitter.

Chemical Reactions: KOH negative on cap surface.

Spore Print: Rusty brown.

Microscopic Features: Spores 6-7.5 x 4-5 µ; ellipsoid; very slightly verrucose (appearing almost smooth). Pleuro- and cheilocystidia absent. Pileipellis an ixocutis of clamped, hyaline to ochraceous elements.

REFERENCES: (Fries, 1821) Fries, 1838. (Saccardo, 1887; Kauffman, 1918; Kauffman, 1932; Smith, 1975; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1979; Moser, 1983; Arora, 1986; Phillips, 1991/2005; Hansen & Knudsen, 1992; Breitenbach & Kränzlin, 2000; McNeil, 2006; Trudell & Ammirati, 2009.) Herb. Kuo 09140701, 09170802.

This site contains no information about the edibility or toxicity of mushrooms.


Cortinarius vibratilis

Cortinarius vibratilis

Cortinarius vibratilis

Cortinarius vibratilis

Cortinarius vibratilis

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