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Marasmius sullivantii

[ Basidiomycetes > Agaricales > Marasmiaceae > Marasmius . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

This attractive little marasmioid mushroom is quite common in my area (central Illinois), where oak-hickory woods predominate, in early summer. I often find it growing gregariously under white oak. The cap is reddish orange, and only faintly lined at the margin--and the stem, when young and fresh, is very finely silky or hairy (enlarge the second illustration). However, unless you are very familiar with the species, microscopic features (see below) should probably be checked before betting the house on your identification.

Marasmius floridanus is very similar, but features a somewhat larger, brownish orange to brown cap, and a bald stem--as well as longer spores and more conspicuous pleurocystidia. Also compare with Rhizomarasmius pyrrhocephalus, which has a densely hairy, tough, darker stem; it lacks broom cells in the cap cuticle.


Ecology: Saprobic on leaf litter and woody debris in hardwood forests; growing alone or gregariously; summer and fall; probably widely distributed east of the Rocky Mountains.

Cap: To 2.5 cm across; convex, becoming flat; not pleated; bald; becoming faintly lined at the margin; dry; reddish orange or rust-colored.

Gills: Attached to the stem or free from it; close; white or with the edges faintly pinkish at first.

Stem: 1-4 cm long; 1-1.5 mm thick; equal; dry; very finely silky or hairy; often with copious white basal mycelium; white or nearly clear at the apex, reddish to orangish in the midsection, reddish brown to black below.

Flesh: Thin; insubstantial.

Odor and Taste: Taste mild or slightly bitter; odor not distinctive.

Chemical Reactions: KOH negative on cap surface.

Spore Print: White.

Microscopic Features: Spores 7-9 x 3-4.5 µ; smooth; elliptical; inamyloid. Pleurocystidia variously shaped (cylindric, fusiform, subclavate); fairly inconspicuous; to about 40 x 10 µ; cheilocystidia as broom cells with fingerlike projections. Pileipellis a hymeniform layer of broom cells with numerous fingerlike projections.

REFERENCES: Montagne, 1856. (Saccardo, 1887; Gilliam, 1976; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1979; Phillips, 1991/2005; Horn, Kay & Abel, 1993.) Herb. Kuo 06100301, 07220308, 05290404, 06280701.

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Marasmius sullivantii

Marasmius sullivantii

Marasmius sullivantii

Marasmius sullivantii

Marasmius sullivantii
Broom cells from pileipellis

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Kuo, M. (2013, January). Marasmius sullivantii. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: