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Leucocoprinus tricolor

[ Basidiomycota > Agaricales > Agaricaceae > Leucocoprinus . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

As it was defined by Helen Smith (1981), Leucocoprinus tricolor is very similar to the well-known Leucocoprinus birnbaumii; it is basically yellow, and it appears in flower pots and greenhouses. But Smith's species features a brown cap center and brownish scales, creating a three-colored appearance, since the mushroom is pale yellow elsewhere, but features a strikingly chrome yellow stem base.

As nearly as I can tell no one other than Smith has documented the species (records at MycoPortal show she deposited 7 collections, including the type collection, in the University of Michigan Herbarium). Since microscopic features are very similar to those of Leucocoprinus birnbaumii, it may be the case that Leucocoprinus tricolor is merely a color form of the former species. But it does look different, and until a contemporary, DNA-informed study puts the question to rest I believe it is worth documenting the potential difference.


Ecology: Saprobic; growing gregariously or in clusters in potted plants and in greenhouses; summer; distribution uncertain. Originally reported from Michigan. The illustrated and described collection is from Illinois.

Cap: 2.5-4 cm; egg-shaped when young, expanding to bell-shaped or broadly convex, but retaining a central bump; dry; grooved for about 1 cm from the margin; finely scaly with brown to yellow scales; bald and brown over the center; elsewhere pale yellow.

Gills: Free from the stem; crowded; short-gills frequent; pale yellow; often with brighter yellow edges.

Stem: 50-70 mm long; 4-6 mm thick; tapered to the apex and gradually swollen toward the base; pale yellow, with a deep chrome yellow base; bald or with brown fibrils; with a fragile, yellow, bracelet-like ring on the upper stem; basal mycelium chrome yellow.

Flesh: Whitish to pale yellow; very thin.

Odor: Not distinctive.

Chemical Reactions: KOH negative on cap surface.

Spore Print: White.

Microscopic Features: Spores 9-11 x 5.5-7 µ; ellipsoid; with a small pore; smooth; thick-walled; hyaline in KOH; yellowish to strongly dextrinoid in Melzer's. Basidioles brachybasidia-like. Cheilocystidia 50-85 x 5-15 µ; fusoid, fusoid-ventricose, or mucronate, often with a very long neck; hyaline in KOH; thin-walled; smooth. Pleurocystidia not found. Pileipellis with inflated, clavate to pyriform, capitate, or subglobose cells.

REFERENCES: H. V. Smith, 1981. Herb. Kuo 06281501.

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Leucocoprinus tricolor

Leucocoprinus tricolor

Leucocoprinus tricolor

Leucocoprinus tricolor
Spore print

Leucocoprinus tricolor

Leucocoprinus tricolor

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Kuo, M. (2015, August). Leucocoprinus tricolor. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: