September 25, 2007

Final Three from Sunday

A few more identifications from Sunday's finds:

I was a bit surprised when these tiny mushrooms turned out to be Gymnopilus liquiritiae. I have found this species before, having first encountered it in Florida in 2002. The Floridian specimens were a good deal larger, but the sporophores of the species has wide size range and these just happened to be on the extreme low end of the scale. Gymnopilus species have a distinctly yellow-brown spore print, and so as soon as I had my print I knew the genus. The edibility of this wood decomposer is listed as unknown but judging from the horribly bitter taste of the caps, I would rate it as inedible.
Until I spore printed this mushroom, I thought it would be a Coprinus and expected that it would turn into a mass of black goo before I had my print. Much to my surprise, not only did it no deliquesce, but the print turned out snow white; Coprinus species have black prints. That's all because this is Mycena haemoptus, sometimes known as the bleeding mycena. It takes its name from a purple-red latex secreted in the hollow stipe, so when the stipe is broken or crushed it looks like the mushroom is bleeding. In ideal conditions, this latex is rather copious compared to the size of the fruiting body. It's been a bit dry for the past week or so, though, so these were producing only a very small amount of "blood."

The other interesting thing about these little mushrooms is that they have what look like teeth on their hymenia. These are actually pointy excretory cystidia used to eliminate wastes such as calcium oxalate from the fruiting body. They're quite numerous and distinctive when viewed under the microscope. Too bad I don't have a photomicroscope at the moment.

There was a third mushroom I almost identified, but it's not shown here because the photos didn't come out well enough to bother. I could only get to the genus on that one, which is Clitocybe. It didn't quite key out to species, though, despite all efforts. I've preserved the specimen, and if I ever decide to investigate the genus or meet someone who does, I'll give it to them for molecular analysis.

Sphere: Related Content