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Gomphidius smithii

[ Basidiomycota > Boletales > Gomphidiaceae > Gomphidius . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

This northwestern species of Gomphidius might be best identified on the basis of what it is not: It is not one of the species with prominently yellow stem bases. It is not likely to grow in clusters. It is not pink to red. And it is not likely to get more than about 7 cm wide. In place of all these "nots," Gomphidius smithii has a brownish stem base, a solitary to scattered growth preference, and a fairly small, dull brownish lilac cap (the color is reminiscent of Lactarius argillaceifolius var. megacarpus).

Thanks to Mila Visser 't Hooft for documenting, collecting, and preserving Gomphidius smithii for study; her collection is deposited in The Herbarium of Michael Kuo.


Ecology: Mycorrhizal with conifers; growing alone or scattered; fall and winter; distributed along the upper West Coast and in the northern Rocky Mountains. The illustrated and described collection is from California.

Cap: 3–5 cm wide; convex, becoming broadly convex; bald; slimy; dull brownish lilac; the margin sometimes with a blackish line.

Gills: Running down the stem; close; whitish at first, becoming dark gray; short-gills frequent.

Stem: 4–7 cm long; 0.5–1 cm wide; tapering to base; slightly rooting; with a glutinous slime veil above a fibrillose veil, sheathing all but the upper portion; upper edge of slime veil turning dark gray as spores mature and fall from the gills, sometimes creating an almost ring-like appearance; whitish above; brownish to lilac brown below; discoloring blackish; sometimes very slightly yellowish toward the base in old age.

Flesh: White in cap; pinkish to dirty yellowish or brownish in stem.

Odor and Taste: Not distinctive.

Spore Print: Dark gray to nearly black.

Microscopic Features: Spores 15–20 x 5–7 µm; subfusiform; smooth; brownish to brown in KOH. Basidia 4-sterigmate. Pleurocystidia 70–100 x 15–20 µm; subutriform; smooth; thin-walled; hyaline in KOH. Cheilocystidia 70–110 x 15–20 µm; widely cylindric to subutriform; smooth; walls under 1 µm thick; hyaline in KOH. Pileipellis a poorly defined ixocutis; hyphae 5–12 µm wide, encrusted, brown in KOH. Clamp connections not found.

REFERENCES: Singer, 1948. (Singer, 1949; Miller, 1971; Thiers, 1985; Phillips, 1991/2005; Miller, 2002; Miller, 2003; Siegel & Schwarz, 2016.) Herb. Kuo 12291901.

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Gomphidius smithii

Gomphidius smithii

Gomphidius smithii

Gomphidius smithii

Gomphidius smithii

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Kuo, M. (2020, February). Gomphidius smithii. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: