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Inocybe ionocephala

by Michael Kuo, 16 April 2024

Inocybe ionocephala is the California redwood coast's version of Inocybe lilacina. Like other members of the lilacina species group it features lilac colors, a strongly spermatic odor, and a dull brown spore print—but Inocybe ionocephala is larger and stockier than its other North American counterparts (the stem gets up to 1 cm thick), and its stem is white, rather than lilac, throughout development.


Ecology: Mycorrhizal; found in mixed coastal forests where precise mycorrhizal associations are difficult to determine; growing alone, scattered, or gregariously; winter; originally described from Mendocino County, California (Matheny 2018); distributed in northern coastal California. The illustrated and described collections are from San Mateo County.

Cap: 3–5 cm; broadly conic at first, becoming broadly convex with a central bump; moist or dry; finely radially silky-fibrillose; purple to lilac, with a dingy yellowish center; fading to pale lilac or whitish, with a yellowish center.

Gills: Narrowly attached to the stem; close or nearly distant; short-gills frequent; grayish at first, becoming yellowish olive and eventually dull brown; edges whitish; at first covered by an ephemeral, whitish cortina.

Stem: 4–6 cm long; 6–10 mm thick; equal above a small, swollen base; dry; silky or bald; whitish; basal mycelium white.

Flesh: Whitish; not changing when sliced.

Odor: Spermatic.

Chemical Reactions: KOH negative on cap surface.

Spore Print: Dull snuff brown.

Microscopic Features: Spores 6–10 x 4–6 µm; ellipsoid, with a small apiculus; smooth; yellowish in KOH. Cheilocystidia 50–75 x 6–15 µm; lageniform, broadly cylindric, or saccate; smooth, but developing apical crystals; walls 1–2 µm thick; hyaline in KOH. Pleurocystidia similar to cheilocystidia. Pileipellis an ixocutis; elements 5–10 µm wide, smooth, hyaline in KOH; clamp connections present.

REFERENCES: P. B. Matheny, 2018. (Matheny & Swenie, 2018.) Herb. Kuo 01130503, 01142406.

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Inocybe ionocephala

Inocybe ionocephala

Inocybe ionocephala

Inocybe ionocephala

Inocybe ionocephala

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Kuo, M. (2024, April). Inocybe ionocephala. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: