Major Groups > Gilled Mushrooms > Collybioid Mushrooms > Strobilurus lignitilis


Strobilurus lignitilis

[ Basidiomycota > Agaricales > Physalacriaceae > Strobilurus . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

This tiny species arises from the cones and woody debris of Douglas-fir and, occasionally, spruces. It features a white-to-brown cap, white gills, and a dark yellow stem. Believe it or not, there are close look-alikes that also inhabit Doug-fir cones, including the better-known Strobilurus trullisatus, so microscopic analysis (particularly of the pleurocystidia) is needed for confident identification.

The pleurocystidia of Strobilurus lignitilis are more or less utriform (shaped like partially deflated balloons) and feature unadorned, swollen heads (see the illustration). Look-alikes on the cones of spruces, Strobilurus wyomingensis and Strobilurus occidentalis, have fusiform pleurocystidia that look like stretched out diamonds—while Strobilurus trullisatus, which favors Douglas-fir but sometimes appears on debris ponderosa pine, has utriform-ish pleurocystidia that develop a slightly truncated appearance as the result of a collapsing collar of slime. Because microscope work can be painstaking (I spent about four microscope hours with the collection illustrated here), one wonders how many of the Strobilurus illustrations found in field guides and online actually represent the species they're supposed to represent.

"Strobilurus albipilatus," in the sense of several authors (e.g. Redhead 1980, 1989) is at least partially the same as Strobilurus lignitilis, which was originally described from Alaska. But Strobilurus albipilatus was described from upstate New York, probably on cones of eastern white pine, and "[i]t is uncertain if eastern and western collections are conspecific, since no molecular studies have been conducted" (Qin et al. 2018).

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


Ecology: Saprobic; growing alone or gregariously on the cones and woody debris of Douglas-fir and western spruces; fall; originally described from Alaska; distributed in the Pacific Northwest and northern California and sometimes reported from the Rocky Mountains. The illustrated and described collection is from California.

Cap: 1–2.5 cm across; convex when young, becoming nearly flat; moist when fresh; bald; white to brownish or brown, with a darker center; the margin not lined, but developing a lined appearance as the gills show through the thin flesh.

Gills: Narrowly attached to the stem; distant or nearly so; short-gills frequent; white.

Stem: 30–60 mm long; 1–2 mm thick; equal; whitish at the apex, but yellow to brownish yellow overall; bald; hollow; basal mycelium yellowish.

Flesh: Thin; whitish; unchanging when sliced.

Odor and Taste: Not distinctive.

Spore Print: White.

Microscopic Features: Spores 3–4 x 2–2.5 µm; ellipsoid; smooth; hyaline in KOH; inamyloid. Basidia 18–22 x 3–5 µm; clavate; 4-sterigmate. Cheilocystidia 30–60 x 5–6 µm; utriform to subcylindric, with a capitate apex; smooth; thin-walled; hyaline in KOH. Pleurocystidia 30–50 x 8–12 (–18) µm; utriform to subcylindric, with a subcapitate to capitate apex; smooth; thin-walled; hyaline in KOH. Pileipellis hymeniform; terminal cells 7.5–12.5 µm wide, obpyriform, hyaline in KOH—with interspersed pileocystidia 35–70 x 5–10 µm, subcylindric to narrowly fusiform, developing a capitate apex, smooth, hyaline in KOH. Clamp connections not found.

REFERENCES: V. L. Wells & P. Kempton, 1971. (Wells & Kempton, 1971; Lennox, 1979; Redhead, 1980; Redhead, 1989; Qin et al., 2018.) Herb. Kuo 11212001.

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


Strobilurus lignitilis

Strobilurus lignitilis

Strobilurus lignitilis

Strobilurus lignitilis

Strobilurus lignitilis

Strobilurus lignitilis

Strobilurus lignitilis

© MushroomExpert.Com

Cite this page as:

Kuo, M. (2021, September). Strobilurus lignitilis. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: