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Hypomyces hyalinus

by Michael Kuo, 29 August 2023

Special Agent Fox Mulder, of X-Files fame, might have a few things to say about the parasite Hypomyces hyalinus; it is clearly an alien mutation of a normal mushroom. Amanita rubescens is a beautiful species, recognized in part by its tendency to "blush" the color of Agent Scully's gorgeous hair. But when it is attacked by parasitic aliens, it looks like any number of X-Files bad-guys. Is Hypomyces hyalinus taking over the Amanita rubescens population? Science has no answer to this question. But the authoritative online source for information on Hypomyces is at the U. S. Department of Agriculture's Hypomyces website . . . in short: the government. What does that tell you?

(Note: I first expressed this idea in the 2003 version of this webpage; the USDA has since taken down the website, clearly as a result of being exposed by my investigation!)


Ecology: Parasitic on Amanita rubescens and other species of Amanita. Originally described from North Carolina (von Schweinitz 1822); distributed in North America primarily east of the Great Plains and in central Mexico, with some records from the Pacific Northwest; also recorded from Asia. The illustrated and described collections are from Illinois.

Fruiting Body: A soft, whitish to pinkish coating that attacks the host rapidly and soon covers all surfaces, disfiguring the mushroom; when on Amanita rubescens sometimes retaining the "blushing" characteristic of that species.

Perithecia: Orangish or brownish; usually visible to the naked eye.

Chemical Reactions: KOH on surface negative.

Microscopic Features: (Note: Since specimens I have examined have been immature, some microscopic data comes from Rogerson & Samuels 1994.) Spores 15–20 x 4.5–6.5 µm; fusiform; verrucose; apiculi about 2 µm long; septate once. Asci about 125 x 5 µml cylindric; 8-spored. Subicular hyphae 2–4 µm wide, septate, smooth, hyaline in KOH.

REFERENCES: (L. D. von Schweinitz, 1822) L. R. Tulasne & C. Tulasne, 1860. (Phillips, 1991/2005; Lincoff, 1992; Rogerson & Samuels, 1994; Roody, 2003; McNeil, 2006; Kuo & Methven, 2010; Beug et al., 2014; Elliott & Stephenson, 2018.) Herb. Kuo 09280307.

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


Hypomyces hyalinus

Hypomyces hyalinus

Hypomyces hyalinus

Hypomyces hyalinus

Hypomyces hyalinus

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Kuo, M. (2023, August). Hypomyces hyalinus. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: