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Cuphophyllus virgineus

[ Basidiomycota > Agaricales > Hygrophoraceae > Cuphophyllus . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

Cuphophyllus virgineus is a small to medium-sized, whitish waxy cap that features a dry to greasy cap, a dry stem, and gills that begin to run down the stem. Its stature is fairly variable, and its cap sometimes develops brownish or yellowish shades, especially over the center. Synonymies and species separated on minor differences abound, and, according to Boertmann (2000), "[t]he complex of taxa related to [Cuphophyllus virgineus] is badly in need of a revision."

Hygrocybe virginea, Camarophyllus virgineus, and Hygrophorus virgineus are synonyms. Hygrocybe nivea (AKA Hygrophorus niveus and Camarophyllus niveus) was formerly separated on the basis of its smaller size, but has been reduced to synonymy by Arnolds (1986).

Cuphophyllus borealis (formerly Hygrocybe borealis) is very similar but features a somewhat sticky cap and, under the microscope, a corresponding ixocutis.


Ecology: Precise ecological role uncertain (see Lodge and collaborators, 2013); growing scattered or gregariously under hardwoods or conifers; summer and fall (or over winter in warmer climates); probably widely distributed in North America. The illustrated and described collections are from California, Illinois, and Québec. My collections have all been made in areas that were recently cleared and then allowed to redevelop (park edges, roadbanks, and so on), in thick and untended grass under dense brambles and ground cover, at woods' edges.

Cap: 1.5-5 cm; convex when young, becoming broadly convex to more or less flat--or developing a shallow central depression and an uplifted margin; moist to greasy when fresh, but soon dry; bald; white to ivory--but often developing brownish to yellowish areas over the center; the margin sometimes faintly lined.

Gills: Beginning to run down the stem; distant or nearly so; whitish, becoming pale yellowish with age; short-gills frequent.

Stem: 2-12 cm long; up to 1 cm thick; often tapering to base; dry; mealy at the apex, but bald or very finely hairy below; whitish; becoming hollow.

Flesh: White; unchanging.

Odor and Taste: Odor not distinctive; taste not distinctive, or a little bitter.

Spore Print: White.

Microscopic Features: Spores 7-10 x 4-5 µ; ellipsoid, with a prominent apiculus; smooth; hyaline in KOH; inamyloid. Basidia 4-sterigmate; to 55 µ long. Hymenial cystidia absent. Lamellar trama interwoven. Pileipellis a cutis.

REFERENCES: (Wulfen, 1781) Kovalenko, 1989. (Fries, 1821; Fries, 1838; Saccardo, 1887; Kauffman, 1918; Hesler & Smith, 1963; Bird & Grund, 1979; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1979; Largent, 1985; Arnolds, 1986; Phillips, 1991/2005; Barron, 1999; Boertmann, 2000; McNeil, 2006; Miller & Miller, 2006; Trudell & Ammirati, 2009; Lodge et al., 2013; Kuo & Methven, 2014.) Herb. Kuo 09280303, 01130505.

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Cuphophyllus virgineus

Cuphophyllus virgineus

Cuphophyllus virgineus

Cuphophyllus virgineus
Spore print

Cuphophyllus virgineus

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Kuo, M. (2014, July). Cuphophyllus virgineus. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: