What species is this orange mushroom in Romania?

What species is this orange mushroom in Romania?

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So I've found these mushrooms near a ditch on a field a few days ago in Romania. Can anyone help me with identifying what species of mushroom is this? The size of a mushroom is about 3-6 cm in diameter. Thanks and a happy new year.

This is most likely Kuehneromyces mutabilis or sheated woodtuft. It is quite common in Romania where it is named Gheba ciobanilor.

Quote from Wikipedia about the diagnosis:

The clustered shiny convex caps are 6-8 cm in diameter. They are very hygrophanous; in a damp state they are shiny and greasy with a deep orange-brown colour towards the rim; often there is a disc of lighter (less sodden) flesh in the middle. In a dry state they are cinnamon-coloured. The gills are initially light and later cinnamon brown, and are sometimes somewhat decurrent (running down the stem). The stipe is 8-10 cm long by about 0.5-1 cm in diameter with a ring which separates the bare, smooth light cinnamon upper part from the darker brown shaggily scaly lower part. This type of stem is sometimes described as "booted". This species always grows on wood, generally on stumps of broad-leaved trees (especially beech, birch and alder), and rarely on conifers. It is found from April to late October, and also in the remaining winter months where conditions are mild. It is often seen at times when there are few other fungi in evidence.

Further details can be found here in English

or here in Romanian

Lactarius deliciosus

Lactarius deliciosus, commonly known as the saffron milk cap and red pine mushroom, is one of the best known members of the large milk-cap genus Lactarius in the order Russulales. It is found in Europe and has been accidentally introduced to other countries under conifers and can be found growing in pine plantations. A fresco in the Roman town of Herculaneum appears to depict Lactarius deliciosus and is one of the earliest pieces of art to illustrate a fungus. [2] [3]

  • Agaricus deliciosusL. (1753)
  • Galorrheus deliciosus(L.) P.Kumm. (1871)
  • Lactifluus deliciosus(L.) Kuntze (1891)

When French mycologist Jean Baptiste Francois (Pierre) Bulliard described this webcap in 1792 he gave it the binomial scientific name Agaricus mucosus. (Vast numbers of gilled fungi were dumped into the Agaricus genus in the early days of fungal taxonomy most have since been moved to other genera leaving in the present-day Agaricus genus a much smaller number of gilled mushrooms that are sometimes referred to as the 'true mushrooms'.) It was the Flemish botanist Jean Jacques Kickx (1842 - 1887) who, in 1867, transferred this species to the genus Cortinarius, thus establishing its currently-accepted scientific name Cortinarius mucosus.

Synonyms of Cortinarius mucosus include Agaricus mucosus Bull., Agaricus collinitus ß mucosus (Bull.) Fr., and
Cortinarius collinitus var. mucosus (Bull.) Fr.

Mushroom biology

Fungal life forms are unique in many ways, and comprehending their biology is important to understanding speciation patterns and processes. Among the important features of fungi are the identification of a fungal individual, the complexity of the mushroom life cycle, the importance of clonal reproduction, and the structure of fungal populations.

The mushroom individual. Just as species comprise populations, so populations comprise individuals. Species concepts in mushrooms rest, in part, on identifying individuals within a “group.” This identification is the first step in evaluating whether a genetic hiatus exists between two groups and, therefore, whether these groups can be classified as populations, races, or species.

There is usually little doubt over what is meant by an individual mite, redwood tree, or bacterium, even when considering clonal reproduction, but fungal individuals are less discrete ( Anderson and Kohn 1995). With the filamentous vegetative organism existing within an opaque substrate (e.g., wood or soil) and thus hidden from view, there can only be conjecture about whether all the mushroom fruitbodies of one species within a few feet of one another are being produced by a single mycelium or by more than one. For example, nuclear and mitochondrial markers showed that an individual of the mushroom Armillaria bulbosa covered several hectares, with all fruitbodies belonging to the same individual ( Smith et al. 1992). In contrast, we were able to identify five different individuals of the coral fungus Clavicorona pyxidata within a 10 m 2 plot, some represented by more than one fruitbody. The largest individual of Amanita francheti in a 300 m 2 plot spanned 25 m 2 , but for Suillus pungens, the largest individual spanned 300 m 2 (Bruns et al.T998). Kay and Vilgalys (1992) found individuals of Pleurotus ostreatus to be quite small, often with more than one individual occupying a single piece of rotten wood. For experimental purposes, however, it is likely that collections (or mycelia) separated by several miles represent different individuals many studies showing that widely separated individuals have different mating-type alieles confirm this assumption.

The mushroom life cycle. As traditionally presented, the mushroom life cycle begins at the sexual spore stage ( Figure 2A). These spores, borne on specialized organs termed basidia, are called basidiospores and are normally the result of meiosis, either directly or with one of several variations in pre- or post-meiotic nuclear behavior. Whereas basidiospores of saprophytic mushrooms (i.e., mushrooms that obtain nutrition by degrading nonliving organic material) are usually easily germinated on undefined agar media, basidiospores of ectomycorrhizal mushrooms (i.e., mushrooms in a symbiotic relationship with plant roots) are notoriously more difficult to germinate, although some progress has been made ( Fries 1978). Under appropriate conditions, basidiospores imbibe water, autolyse their spore wall, and extrude a “germ tube” ( Figure 2B) that soon begins to produce exogenous enzymes to digest the surrounding substrate and elongates into a hypha (i.e., a single thallus filament). The hypha in turn grows and branches into an aggregate of hyphae called a mycelium ( Figure 2C). The mycelium that results from the germination of a single basidiospore perpetuates the nuclear number and mating type (i.e., equating to “sex,” for the purposes of this article) of the basidiospore.

Mushroom life cycle, n, haploid monokaryon state (“haplont”) n ++ n, dikaryon state 2n, diplont state. Basidiospores (A) undergo germination (B) germ tubes branch into germling mycelium (C). Monokaryon hyphae anastomose (D) to produce dikaryon hyphae (E) with clamp connections. Monokaryon hyphae can produce asexual spores (F) dikaryon hyphae can produce asexual spores with clamp connections (G). Under appropriate conditions, the dikaryotic mycelium produces mushroom basidiomata (H the individual on the right has upturned pileus, revealing lamellae). A cross-section of the lamella (I) shows sterile cells (cystidia) and basidia. Nuclear fusion occurs within the young basidia (J the lower basidium has two nuclei, and in the upper basidium the nuclei have fused). Meiosis takes place in the basidial initial (K), ultimately resulting in a mature basidium with sterigmata and four haploid monokaryon basidiospores (L).

Mushroom life cycle, n, haploid monokaryon state (“haplont”) n ++ n, dikaryon state 2n, diplont state. Basidiospores (A) undergo germination (B) germ tubes branch into germling mycelium (C). Monokaryon hyphae anastomose (D) to produce dikaryon hyphae (E) with clamp connections. Monokaryon hyphae can produce asexual spores (F) dikaryon hyphae can produce asexual spores with clamp connections (G). Under appropriate conditions, the dikaryotic mycelium produces mushroom basidiomata (H the individual on the right has upturned pileus, revealing lamellae). A cross-section of the lamella (I) shows sterile cells (cystidia) and basidia. Nuclear fusion occurs within the young basidia (J the lower basidium has two nuclei, and in the upper basidium the nuclei have fused). Meiosis takes place in the basidial initial (K), ultimately resulting in a mature basidium with sterigmata and four haploid monokaryon basidiospores (L).

The most common sexual system in mushrooms is governed by two unlinked mating-type genes, each with multiple allelic forms. Such a system is termed “tetrapolar” (or “bifactorial,” for the two mating-type genes). A minority of mushrooms, by contrast, have only one mating-type gene (a system called “bipolar” or “unifactorial”). (For a summary of the molecular basis for mating-type genes, see Casselton and Kiies 1994). In bifactorial mating systems, individuals with different alleles at both loci will mate. The presence of multiple alieles for mating type within a species encourages outcrossing at the expense of self-crossing between individuals in a population and thus acts in opposition to evolutionary forces that might fragment a population.

The mycelium from a typical basidiospore is often termed a “monokaryon,” which reflects the single nucleus per hyphal compartment (usually called a cell, although narrow holes in the transverse septa of the hypha allow cytoplasmic continuity and even nuclear migration). The mycelium at this stage is typically haploid (as was its meiotic basidiospore Figure 2C). This monokaryon (haploid) mycelium, if isolated at this time, acts as a gametic generation and can be used in mating experiments of various types: among sibling isolates from a single fruitbody, among individuals from different populations of a given species, or between individuals classified as different morphological species within a genus.

Although the mechanistic details of mating systems in mushrooms continue to be elucidated, it is clear that two monokaryon hyphae of sexually compatible mating types can anastomose and proceed through plasmogamy ( Figure 2D). In occasional groups (e.g., Armillaria), karyogamy soon follows to produce a diploid mycelium, but, typically, donor nuclei pair but do not fuse. Nuclear division, followed by nuclear migration, may take place the result will be a proliferating “dikaryon” (from the two nuclei per cell Figures 2E and 3a). The dikaryotic condition is accomplished by the formation of “clamp connections” at the transverse septa in the majority of mushroom taxa ( Figure 3a). These hyphal connections allow nuclei to migrate between two cells, maintaining the dikaryotic condition. Dikaryotic mycelia are assumed to be the major vegetative unit of the individual mushroom fungus.

Fungal hyphae and typical pairing experiment, (a) Basidiomycete hypha showing clamp connection and dikaryon condition. 1000× magnification. (b) Pairing experiments with monokaryon mycelium. Contact zone mycelium is more congested than donor mycelium.

Fungal hyphae and typical pairing experiment, (a) Basidiomycete hypha showing clamp connection and dikaryon condition. 1000× magnification. (b) Pairing experiments with monokaryon mycelium. Contact zone mycelium is more congested than donor mycelium.

The growth of dikaryon mycelia appears to be limited only by a variety of micro- and macro-ecological factors, such as appropriate substrate or host availability substrate moisture substrate preparation by other organisms, from bacteria to annelids and symbiont availability. Conventional wisdom, based presumably on in vitro experience, says that monokaryon mycelia are more fragile or ephemeral than dikaryotic mycelia of the same “species” and, thus, that dikaryotic tissue has a selective advantage in a given substrate.

It is the dikaryotic mycelium that, under appropriate physiological and biochemical conditions, produces hyphal ganglia and subsequent basidiome primordia and mushrooms ( Figure 2H). The mushroom is normally composed of dikaryotic hyphae that differentiate into cap (pileus), gills (lamellae), and stem (stipe) tissues. In mushrooms and their relatives, any one or a combination of these tissues can be reduced or missing, but ordinarily the basidiospore-producing tissue, the “hymenium,” covers the surface of the lamellae (Figure 21) and is composed of microscopic hyphal tips in a palisade. These hyphal tips often comprise sterile elements, called cystidia, and “fertile,” club-shaped basidia. Within the basidia, karyogamy, or nuclear fusion, occurs (i.e., the paired haploid nuclei of the dikaryon fuse into a diploid ( Figure 2J) fusion is then followed by meiosis ( Figure 2K). During late meiosis, the basidia produce narrowly curved conical outgrowths called sterigmata. Four sterigmata typically form per basidium, reflecting the four products of meiosis. The tips of the sterigmata are “blown out” into spores ( Figure 2L) into which the post-meiotic nuclei migrate the spores are subsequently ejected forcibly from the sterigmata. The basidiospores ( Figure 2A), which are also technically known as “meiospores” because they are the result of meiosis, complete the sexual life cycle. In rare cases, segregation of nuclei into spores may vary within a single morphospecies. For example, Mycena and Trogia species occur in two- and four-spored forms, with two nuclei (n ++ n) or one nucleus (n), respectively, per basidiospore ( Kühner and Lamoure 1958, Corner 1991). This nuclear variation would presumably be reflected in the nuclear condition of the single-basidiospore mycelium.

For mating studies, single basidiospores are collected and germinated to form individual monokaryotic mycelial colonies. Monokaryon inocula of the same putative morphospecies are paired (i.e., placed near each other on nutrient agar) and allowed to grow together. The contact zone is then examined for the presence of viable dikaryotic hyphae, which are indicative of mating ( Figure 3b).

Clonal reproduction. Clonal reproduction occurs commonly in fungi. Asexual spores give the mushroom mycelium a means of dissemination separate from the sexual life cycle with its meiotic basidiospores ( Anderson and Kohn 1995). In fact, mushroom production is unnecessary for dissemination (although beneficial for gene recombination) if a clonal state is adequate for perpetuation of the organism. Clonal reproduction has important evolutionary implications. If the monokaryon hypha forms asexual spores, the mycelium has a means of extending and widening its availability to an appropriate mate. This reproductive shortcut might be an advantage when a fungus is colonizing new territory. If the dikaryon hypha forms asexual spores, then the dikaryon genotype is perpetuated unchanged ( Anderson and Kohn 1995). This means of dissemination could be an advantage in perpetuating rare gene combinations that allow colonization of new ecological niches it also has implications for speciation processes. It is no surprise, therefore, that many fungi produce asexual spores through a variety of unusual and unique processes. Moreover, the mechanisms of their production provide phenetic information that can be used to group fungi into taxonomic units.

Asexual propagules are termed “conidia,” with additional technical terms used for particular modes of production. In mushrooms, conidia are typically the result of fragmentation of a hypha therefore, they are called “arthroconidia” or “arthrospores.” Such asexual spores are rarely produced as part of the mushroom itself but, when produced, are almost always formed by the vegetative mycelium, whether monokaryon ( Figure 2F) or dikaryon ( Figure 2G). Because the vegetative mycelium is not normally seen in nature (being immersed in the woody, leafy, or soil substrate, and microscopic as well), asexual spore production is usually discovered only when the mushroom is cultured in vitro. As more and more mushroom species are cultured, the number of species in which asexual reproduction is known to occur continues to grow. Certain mushroom groups (e.g., Flammulina, Collybia sensu stricto, Melanotus, Psathyrella, and the related genus Polyporus) are well known for the production of asexual spores, but others are only now being discovered.

In some mushroom groups, much of the fruitbody (basidiome) is converted into asexual propagules. The most famous is the genus Asterophora, whose basidiomata form on basidiomata of other mushrooms and undergo an almost complete conversion to thick-walled conidia (often termed “chlamydospores” McMeekin 1991). Species of the parasitic genus Squamanita cause distorted growth of their mushroom host and produce asexual spores on the surface of the host carcass and on their own stipes ( Redhead et al. 1994) An Flammulina stratosa, a newly identified species from New Zealand, abortive fruit-bodies also convert into small balls of brown, thick-walled chlamydospores ( Redhead et al. 1998). DNA sequence data show that F. stratosa is highly divergent from all other Flammulina species that we have examined. Its restricted island habitat and genetic divergence suggest that chlamydospore production may have contributed to invasion of the New Zealand island habitat and rapid adaptive evolution, a possibility that we are currently investigating.

Clonal reproduction can be accomplished in at least one other way. Certain strains of Volvariella bombycina ( Chiu 1993) and Xerula radicata ( Petersen and Methven 1994) form fruitbodies composed of monokaryon hyphae. Basidia do not undergo meiosis and therefore produce spores of only a single mating type.

Asexually reproducing stages are termed the “anamorph” the meiotic, sexual stage is termed the “teleomorph” and the entire life cycle, with all possible stages, is termed the “holomorph.”

In fungal groups in which teleomorphs form ascospores (ascomycetes), anamorphic morphology is extremely varied, and the anamorph is often found (i.e., isolated in culture) without the teleomorph. Many workers have spent many years using conventional means (e.g., light and electron microscopy or growth media enhancement) to determine which anamorphs and which teleomorphs represent alternate stages of a single species. Newer techniques (e.g., DNA sequencing and fingerprinting) hold the probability of confirming or elucidating these anamorphteleomorph relationships. Conversely, in other fungi—mushrooms and their relatives—asexual reproduction has been overlooked for taxonomic character suites. Most of the known anamorphic stages have not even received “form taxon” status or rank.

Needless to say, an understanding of the entire life cycle of each mushroom taxon is invaluable before one can be confident about its taxonomy and phylogenetic placement. Conidia can be used in pairing experiments, just like single-basidiospore isolates can. Thus, in addition to perpetuating the organism asexually, appropriate single-conidial mycelia can form dikaryons and reinitiate the sexual life cycle.

The mushroom population. Locally adapted populations are the first stage in divergence leading to speciation. Although several studies have examined population structure in plant pathogenic fungi ( Anderson and Kohn 1995 and references therein), only a few have attempted to characterize the relationships between individual mushrooms and their populations in any detail ( Kay and Vilgalys 1992, Smith et al. 1994, Anderson and Kohn 1995, Kerrigan et al. 1995, Gardes and Bruns 1996). The paucity of such studies is due in part to the difficulty of collecting a sufficient sample size in an organism that produces fruitbodies ephemerally and in part to the complexity of the mushroom individual.

Gene flow, or the movement of genes between populations, determines if and how fast populations can evolve into separate species ( Carlile 1987). High gene flow favors population coherence, whereas low gene flow favors population divergence. There are two methods by which gene flow can occur between populations: through asexual hyphal fusion and through spore production. In many species, hyphal fusion is prevented by a genetic system of vegetative incompatibility, which acts to protect an individual genotype ( Carlile 1987, Worrall 1997) thus, the primary mechanism of gene flow between populations is sexual and asexual spore production. There has been considerable debate about long-distance spore dispersal in fungi ( Vilgalys and Sun 1994b), but isozyme and molecular evidence from many mushroom disjunct populations suggests that long-distance spore dispersal does not occur at a rate sufficient to prevent population divergence ( Gordon and Petersen 1997, Methven et al. 1997). When gene flow cannot be measured directly, divergence is inferred by finding reproductively isolated subgroups (i.e., biological species) within a morphological species or well-differentiated morphological subgroups within a biological species.


Pleurotus genus is one of most extensively studied white-rot fungi due to its exceptional ligninolytic properties. It is an edible mushroom and it also has several biological effects, as it contains important bioactive molecules. In basidiomycete fungi, lignocellulolytic enzymes are affected by many typical fermentation factors, such as medium composition, ratio of carbon to nitrogen, pH, temperature, air composition, etc. The survival and multiplication of mushrooms is related to a number of factors, which may act separately or have interactive effects among them. Out that understanding challenges in handling Pleurotus species mushroom requires a fundamental understanding of their physical, chemical, biological and enzymatic properties. This review presents a practical checklist of available intrinsic and extrinsic factors, providing useful synthetic information that may help different users. An in-depth understanding of the technical features is needed for an appropriate and efficient production of Pleurotus spp.

What species is this orange mushroom in Romania? - Biology

Scientific name:
Xylaria polymorpha
Common name:
Dead Man's Fingers

(Information for this species page was gathered in part by Justin Vogini (Spring 2001) and Steven Powell (Spring 2004) for Biology 220W at Penn State New Kensington)

Xylaria polymorpha is a very distinctive species of fungus that is widely distributed throughout the deciduous forests of North America and Europe. The scientific name tells us a great deal about the organism: "xylaria" means to grow on wood (it is found on and in a wide variety of dead and decaying wood), and "polymorpha" means "many shapes" which describe this species' highly variable fruiting body ("mushroom") which resembles human fingers or hands.

Xylaria polymorpha is a saprotrophic fungus that is found colonizing dead wood. Trees that are under stress (from disease, moisture deprivation, light stress, etc) may also be "attacked" by X. polymorpha. The impact of this species on the dead or dying wood is best described as a "soft rot" (the fungus digests the available polysaccharide "glues" within the wood leaving behind the unconnected lignins and celluloses). The precise tree species favored by X. polymorpha are often difficult to determine since the colonized wood quickly reaches an advanced stage of decomposition which makes it difficult to identify with any precision. However, the habitat distribution of the fungus suggests a preference especially for maple and beech trees and also oak, locust, sassafras, elm, and apple. Fungal colonization of living trees is most often seen through bark lesions (especially on the base of the tree trunk) and in damaged roots with the subsequent development of root rot. A variety of ornamental and urban landscape trees have been shown to be affected by X. polymorpha root rot.

The mycelia of X. polymorpha grow throughout the colonized wood and, like all fungi, secrete an array of extracellular digestive enzymes into the woody material. The mycelia then absorb the digestion products to fuel and sustain their growth and reproduction. The fruiting bodies ("mushrooms") that are formed by these mycelia are at maturity 2 to 8 cm tall and 0.5 to 3 cm in diameter. They often grow in groups of three clustered into a "finger-like" or "hand-shaped" form which are typically seen emerging from the soil around stumps or decaying trees.. The fruiting bodies are dark gray to brown in color and get darker as they age and mature. They are coated with a carbon-like crust which greatly reduces their palatability and increases their strength and durability. These fruiting bodies arise in the spring (they are seen in mid to late May along the Nature Trail) but may form anytime between May and November depending upon local site conditions. These fruiting bodies may persist for several months or even years and can release spores continuously during these time intervals. This fruiting body persistence and slow, extended spore release strategy is quite different from most fungi which rely on a very transient mushroom stage and an explosive, short-lived spore release pattern for propagation. It is thought that the extended time frame and slower spore release rate for X. polymorpha increases the individual success rate of spores and allows this species to distribute itself extensively throughout its ecological range.

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What species is this orange mushroom in Romania? - Biology

Mushroom Taxonomy: The Big Picture

I frequently receive e-mails from frantic biology students who have been asked to discover the kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species of a certain mushroom. Here, with the student's typo included, is the most entertaining example I've received so far:

Aside from recommending that the student might want to find a new professor, I replied that the taxonomical hierarchy for Armillaria ostoyae is:

. . . in the traditional, and now probably outdated, system. Armillaria has been reconceived within the past few years, resulting in the elimination of what the student called " Armillariella ," and placing the genus in the Marasmiaceae rather than the Tricholomataceae also, there is debate about whether or not the kingdom and phylum distinctions should be made at some other level in the hierarchy.

    Note, 2011: This text was originally written in 2003. As a further demonstration of some of my points in this essay, the genus Armillaria has now been placed in the Physalacriaceae, and the species "Armillaria ostoyae" no longer exists, since it has been synonymized with an older species ( Armillaria solidipes )!

But uncertainty is not what professors want on homework assignments. The problem is that there is no "correct" answer to the professor's question. Or, better said, the answer to the question changes constantly, and has been changing ever since Linnaeus started using Latin names to arrange organisms.

Though it is a fact usually unobserved in introductory biology classes, taxonomy does not represent organisms. Rather, taxonomy represents how we perceive and organize organisms. This is a very important difference. It is the difference, for example, between what happened at the scene of the crime, and what the witness saw happen at the scene of the crime--and anyone who has ever watched a courtroom drama knows how different these two things can be.

In my field (I am an English teacher), the rules of grammar and punctuation are seen by most teachers as unchanging and universal. Students are "wrong" if they omit the apostrophe from don't , or write "Everyday someone gets their lunch." Yet there was a time--not that long ago, from a historical perspective--when dont was perfectly correct, and the time is coming (or is already here) when this use of everyday and their is correct. People of my mother's generation physically cringe when they hear "their" used like this. People of my generation notice a problem, but use it anyway as a substitute for the sexist "his." My students don't even notice. Within my lifetime, the language has changed, as a result of a change in our culture: we became more aware of sexism, and less comfortable using masculine pronouns as universal pronouns.

With grammar and punctuation, however, the rule makers usually lag far behind the general population. This is because the rule makers (the authors and publishers of dictionaries and grammar handbooks) are conservative by nature, and often see themselves as corrective agents, holding back the masses and saving them from their mistakes. But with taxonomy, things are reversed. It is the mycologists, in the case of mushrooms, who are constantly changing things, and the general population that lags behind. Thus, I must provide the biology student above with an answer I know to be incorrect, knowing that her professor is likely working from outdated information.

Once, mushroom taxonomy was an arrangement of mushrooms based on their physical appearance. This one had gills, so it belonged in a group with other gilled mushrooms, while another mushroom, this one with pores, belonged in a different group. For well over a hundred years, advances in mushroom taxonomy simply represented more careful attention to the physical features of the mushrooms--and, importantly, the fact that more and more mushrooms from around the world were being sent to scientists in northern Europe. These scientists began to discover that closer examination revealed other groupings. Some of the gilled mushrooms had white spore prints, for example, and gills that were attached to the stem. New families and genera were named species were placed in the hierarchy accordingly.

Then, roughly a hundred years ago, scientists began looking at mushrooms with microscopes. Some mycologists had been doing so earlier, but the hegemony of microscope mycology didn't take hold until the 20th century. As a result, new groupings emerged. These mushrooms, for example, had ornamented spores, indicating that they formed a group separate from other mushrooms that looked more or less the same to the naked eye, but had smooth spores. As microscopes got better and better, more taxonomical changes were made.

It is important to recall that the mushrooms themselves did not change during this brief history what changed was the way we examined them. New technologies and methods of analysis--like studies of chemical composition, mating studies, and (especially) DNA analysis--are hegemonic these days, and they are resulting in radical changes in mushroom taxonomy. Groups that we once thought were related, based on physical appearance or microscopic features, are turning out to be unrelated. But it is likely--I would say it is a certainty--that future mycologists will decide our contemporary taxonomic arrangements are inaccurate.

I offer these comments by way of introducing the table below, which represents how mycologists currently see taxonomical relationships between mushrooms. I have culled the information from Ainsworth & Bisby's 2008 Dictionary of the Fungi (see the notes below for a complete citation), and I have included only "mushroom" taxonomy--omitting the details on rusts, yeasts, lichens, molds, and so on. The editors of the Dictionary , of course, compiled information from peer-reviewed papers published in scientific journals it should come as no surprise that editing such a compilation involves attempting to "standardize" things that have not yet become standards, resolving taxonomical conflicts that are often hotly debated, and so on. Yet Ainsworth & Bisby's Dictionary has become more or less the definitive standard for mushroom taxonomy for better or worse, the biology student must consult this source to get the "best" current answer to a taxonomy question.

The Taxonomic Hierarchy of Kingdom Fungi

. . . based on Ainsworth & Bisby's 2008 Dictionary of the Fungi (10th. edition)

Only genera treated at MushroomExpert.Com are included. See the notes at the bottom of the page for additional information and suggestions.

Family: Tubariaceae -->
Phylum: Ascomycota
Subphyllum: Pezizomycotina
Class: Arthoniomycetes (lichens . . .)
Class: Dothideomycetes
Order: Venturiales
Family: Venturiaceae
Genera treated: Apiosporina (see A. morbosa )
Class: Geoglossomycetes
Order: Geoglossales
Family: Geoglossaceae
Genera treated: Geoglossum (see G. umbratile ), Hemileucoglossum (see H. alveolatum )
Class: Eurotiomycetes (includes Penicillium . . . )
Class: Laboulbeniomycetes (insect parasites and others . . . )
Class: Lecanoromycetes (lichens . . . )
Class: Leotiomycetes (inoperculate Discomycetes + powdery mildews)
Order: Cyttariales
Order: Erysiphales (powdery mildews)
Order: Helotiales
Family: Ascocorticiaceae
Family: Dermateaceae
Genera treated: Chlorosplenium (see C. chlora )
Family: Heliotiaceae
Genera treated: Hymenoscyphus (see H. fructigenus ) possibly also Ascocoryne (see A. sarcoides ), Bisporella (see B. citrina ), Chlorociboria (see C. aeruginascens ), and Ionomidotis (see I. irregularis )
Family: Hemiphacidiaceae
Genera treated: Chlorencoelia (see C. torta )
Family: Hyaloscyphaceae
Genera treated: Lachnellula (see L. subtilissima )
Family: Loramycetaceae
Family: Phacidiaceae
Family: Rustroemiaceae
Family: Sclerotiniaceae
Family: Vibrisseaceae
Order: Leotiales
Family: Bulgariaceae
Genera treated: Bulgaria (see B. inquinans )
Family: Leotiaceae
Genera treated: Leotia (see L. lubrica ), Microglossum (see M. viride )
Order: Rhytismatales
Family: Ascodichaenaceae
Family: Cudoniaceae
Genera treated: Cudonia (see C. circinans), Spathularia (see S. flavida), Spathulariopsis (see S. velutipes)
Family: Rhytismataceae
Genera treated: Colpoma (see C. quercinum)
Class: Pezizomycetes
Order: Pezizales
Family: Ascobolaceae
Family: Ascodesmidaceae
Family: Caloscyphaceae
Genera treated: Caloscypha (see C. fulgens)
Family: Carbomycetaceae
Family: Chorioactidaceae
Genera treated: Chorioactis (see C. geaster) , Wolfina (see W. aurantiopsis)
Family: Discinaceae
Genera treated: Gyromitra
Family: Glaziellaceae
Family: Helvellaceae
Genera treated: Helvella
Family: Karstenellaceae
Family: Morchellaceae
Genera treated: Disciotis (see D. venosa), Morchella, Verpa (see V. bohemica )
Family: Pezizaceae
Genera treated: Pachyella (see P. clypeata), Peziza (see P. repanda), Sarcosphaera (see S. coronaria )
Family: Pyronemataceae
Genera treated: Aleuria (see A. aurantia), Cheilymenia (see C. stercorea), Geopora (see G. cooperi), Geopyxis (see G. carbonaria), Humaria (see H. hemisphaerica), Jafnea (see J. semitosta), Otidea (see O. onotica), Scutellinia (see S. scutellata), Sowerbyella (see S. rhenana), Sphaerosporella (see S. brunnea), Tarzetta (see T. bronca )
Family: Rhizinaceae
Family: Sarcoscyphaceae
Genera treated: Microstoma (see M. floccosum), Sarcoscypha
Family: Sarcosomataceae
Genera treated: Galiella (see G. rufa), Urnula (see U. craterium )
Family: Tuberaceae
Genera treated: Tuber (see T. lyonii )
Class: Sordariomycetes
[Most " Pyrenomycetes ," in 15 orders, 64 families, and over 1000 genera. Genera treated: Akanthomyces (see A. aculeatus ), Biscogniauxia (see B. atropunctata ), Camarops (see C. petersii ), Cordyceps (see C. militaris ), Daldinia (see D. childiae ), Hypomyces , Kretzschmaria (see K. deusta ), Trichoderma (see T. peltatum ), Xylaria . . . ]
Class: Uncertain
Order: Uncertain
Family: Geoglossaceae
Genera treated: Geoglossum (see G. umbratile )
Subphyllum: Saccharomycotina (yeasts . . . )
Subphyllum: Taphrinomycotina (galls, witches' brooms, Neolecta . . . )

Phylum: Basidiomycota
Subphyllum: Agaricomycotina
Class: Dacrymycetes
Order: Dacrymycetales
Family: Dacrymycetaceae
Genera treated: Calocera (see C. cornea ), Dacrymyces (see D. stillatus ), Dacryopinax (see D. elegans ), Femsjonia (see F. peziziformis ), Guepiniopsis (see G. alpina )
Class: Tremellomycetes
Order: Cystofilobasidiales
Family: Cystofilobasidiaceae
Order: Filobasidiales
Family: Filobasidiaceae
Order: Tremellales
Family: Carcinomycetaceae
Genera treated: Syzygospora (see S. mycetophila )
Family: Cuniculitremaceae
Family: Hyaloriaceae
Family: Phaeotremellaceae
Genera treated: Phaeotremella (see P. frondosa )
Family: Phragmoxenidiaceae
Family: Rhynchogastremataceae
Family: Sirobasidiaceae
Family: Tetragoniomycetaceae
Family: Tremellaceae
Genera treated: Tremella (see T. mesenterica )
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Agaricales
Family: Agaricaceae
Genera treated: Agaricus, Arachnion (see A. album), Battarrea (see B. phalloides), Bovista (see B. longispora), Calvatia (see C. craniiformis), Chlorophyllum (see C. molybdites), Coprinus (see C. comatus), Crucibulum (see C. laeve), Cyathus (see C. striatus), Cystoderma, Cystolepiota (see C. seminuda ), Floccularia, Lepiota (see L. cristata), Leucoagaricus (see L. naucinus), Leucocoprinus (see L. birnbaumii), Lycoperdon (see L. pulcherrimum), Macrolepiota (see M. procera), Morganella (see M. pyriformis), Mycenastrum (see M. corium ), Nidularia (see N. pulvinata), Podaxis (see P. longii), Ripartitella (see R. brasiliensis), Tulostoma (see T. lloydii ), Vascellum (see V. curtisii )
Family: Amanitaceae
Genera treated: Amanita, Limacella
Family: Amylocorticiaceae
Family: Bolbitiaceae
Genera treated: Bolbitius (see B. titubans), Conocybe (see C. apala), Pholiotina (see P. rugosa)
Family: Broomeiaceae
Family: Clavariaceae
Genera treated: Clavaria (see C. vermicularis), Clavulinopsis (see C. laeticolor) , Ramariopsis (see R. kunzei )
Family: Cortinariaceae
Genera treated: Cortinarius
Family: Cyphellaceae
Family: Cystostereaceae
Family: Entolomataceae
Genera treated: Clitopilus (see C. prunulus), Entoloma, Rhodocybe (see R. mundula)
Family: Fistulinaceae
Genera treated: Fistulina (see F. hepatica ), Pseudofistulina (see P. radicata )
Family: Gigaspermaceae
Family: Hemigasteraceae
Family: Hydnangiaceae
Genera treated: Laccaria
Family: Hygrophoraceae
Genera treated: Ampulloclitocybe (see A. clavipes), Chrysomphalina (see C. chrysophylla), Cuphophyllus (see C. pratensis), Gliophorus (see G. psittacinus), Hygrocybe (see H. conica), Hygrophorus ( see H. russula), Lichenomphalia ( see L. umbellifera), Neohygrocybe ( see N. ovina)
Family: Inocybaceae
Genera treated: Crepidotus, Flammulaster (see F. erinaceella), Inocybe, Simocybe (see S. centunculus) possibly Panaeolus
Family: Limnoperdaceae
Family: Lyophyllaceae
Genera treated: Asterophora (see A. lycoperdoides), Calocybe (see C. carnea), Hypsizygus (see H. tessulatus), Lyophyllum (see L. decastes) , Rugosomyces (see R. onychinus )
Family: Marasmiaceae
Genera treated: Baeospora (see B. myosura ), Clitocybula (see C. abundans), Connopus (see C. acervatus), Crinipellis (see C. zonata), Gerronema (see G. strombodes), Gymnopus (see G. dryophilus), Macrocystidia (see M. cucumis), Marasmiellus (see M. candidus), Marasmius (see M. rotula), Megacollybia, Micromphale (see M. perforans), Mycetinis (see M. scorodonius), Omphalotus (see O. illudens), Tetrapyrgos (see T. nigripes)
Family: Mycenaceae
Genera treated: Mycena, Panellus (see P. stipticus ) possibly Xeromphalina (see X. kauffmanii )
Family: Niaceae
Family: Omphalotaceae
Genera treated: Rhodocollybia (see R. maculata).
Family: Phelloriniaceae
Family: Physalacriaceae
Genera treated: Armillaria, Cyptotrama (see C. asprata), Flammulina, Rhizomarasmius , Rhodotus (see R. palmatus), Xeruloid Mushrooms (including Hymenopellis and Paraxerula )
Family: Pleurotaceae
Genera treated: Hohenbuehelia, Pleurotus (see P. ostreatus )
Family: Pluteaceae
Genera treated: Pluteus, Volvariella, Volvopluteus
Family: Psathyrellaceae
Genera treated: Coprinellus (see C. disseminatus ), Coprinopsis (see C. atramentaria ), Lacrymaria (see L. velutina), Parasola (see P. plicatilis ), Psathyrella possibly Panaeolus
Family: Pterulaceae
Family: Radulomycetaceae
Genera treated: Radulomyces (see R. copelandii )
Family: Schizophyllaceae
Genera treated: Schizophyllum (see S. commune )
Family: Stephanosporaceae
Family: Strophariaceae
Genera treated: Agrocybe, Cyclocybe (see C. erebia), Deconica (see D. argentina), Galerina (see G. marginata), Hebeloma, Hemipholiota ( see H. populnea), Hypholoma, Kuehneromyces ( see K. mutabilis ), Leratiomyces ( see L. ceres), Pholiota, Psilocybe Stropharia ( see S. rugosoannulata) possibly Gymnopilus
Family: Tapinellaceae
Genera treated: Tapinella (see T. panuoides )
Family: Tricholomataceae
Genera treated: Callistosporium (see C. luteo-olivaceum), Catathelasma, Caulorhiza (see C. umbonata), Clitocybe, Collybia (see C. cirrhata), Dermoloma (see D. cuneifolium), Infundibulicybe, Leucopaxillus, Leucopholiota, Macrocybe (see M. titans), Melanoleuca, Omphalina (see O. epichysium), Pogonoloma (see P. spinulosum), Pseudoclitocybe (see P. cyathiformis), Resupinatus (see R. alboniger), Tricholoma
Genera treated: Cyclocybe (see C. erebia).
Family: Typhulaceae
Genera treated: Macrotyphula (see M. juncea).
Family: Uncertain
Genera treated: Phyllotopsis (see P. nidulans), Rickenella (see R. fibula also possibly in Hymenochaetales) Tricholomopsis (see T. decora )
Order: Atheliales
Family: Atheliaceae
Order: Auriculariales
Family: Auriculariaceae
Genera treated: Auricularia (see A. auricula)
Family: Exidiaceae
Genera treated: Exidia (see E. glandulosa ), Guepinia (see G. helvelloides )
Family: Uncertain
Genera treated: Ductifera (see D. pululahuana), Pseudohydnum (see P. gelatinosum )
Order: Boletales
Family: Boletaceae
Genera treated: Aureoboletus (see A. mirabilis) , Austroboletus (see A. subflavidus) , Boletellus , Boletus (see B. edulis), Bothia (see B. castanella) , Buchwaldoboletus (see B. hemichrysus) , Butyriboletus (see B. frostii) , Caloboletus (see C. inedulis) , Chalciporus (see C. piperatus) , Harrya (see H. chromapes ), Heimioporus, Hemileccinum (see H. subglabripes), Imleria (see I. badia), Leccinum, Phylloporus, Pseudoboletus (see P. parasiticus), Pulveroboletus (see P. ravenelii), Retiboletus (see R. ornatipes), Rubroboletus (see R. dupainii), Strobilomyces, Tylopilus, Xanthoconium (see X. purpureum ), Xerocomellus (see X. chrysenteron ), Xerocomus (see X. subtomentosus )
Family: Boletinellaceae
Genera treated: Boletinellus (see B. merulioides )
Family: Coniophoraceae
Family: Diplocystidiaceae
Genera treated: Astraeus (see A. hygrometricus)
Family: Gastrosporiaceae
Family: Gomphidiaceae
Genera treated: Chroogomphus, Gomphidius
Family: Gyroporaceae
Genera treated: Gyroporus
Family: Hygrophoropsidaceae
Genera treated: Hygrophoropsis (see H. aurantiaca )
Family: Paxillaceae
Genera treated: Paragyrodon (see P. sphaerosporus), Paxillus (see P. vernalis )
Family: Protogastraceae
Family: Rhizopogonaceae
Family: Sclerodermataceae
Genera treated: Calostoma (see C. cinnabarinum), Pisolithus (see P. arenarius), Scleroderma
Family: Serpulaceae
Family: Suillaceae
Genera treated: Suillus
Order: Cantharellales
Family: Aphelariaceae
Family: Botryobasidiaceae
Family: Cantharellaceae
Genera treated: Cantharellus (see C. cibarius), Craterellus (see C. fallax )
Family: Ceratobasidiaceae
Family: Clavulinaceae
Genera treated: Clavulina (see C. cristata )
Family: Hydnaceae
Genera treated: Hydnum (see H. repandum )
Family: Tulasnellaceae
Order: Corticiales
Family: Corticiaceae
Order: Geastrales
Family: Geastraceae
Genera treated: Geastrum (see G. saccatum )
Order: Gloeophyllales
Family: Gloeophyllaceae
Genera treated: Gloeophyllum (see G. sepiarium ), Neolentinus (see N. lepideus )
Order: Gomphales
Family: Clavariadelphaceae
Genera treated: Clavariadelphus (see C. unicolor )
Family: Gomphaceae
Genera treated: Gomphus (see G. clavatus ), Ramaria (see R. botrytis ), Turbinellus (see T. floccosus )
Family: Lentariaceae
Genera treated: Lentaria (see L. micheneri )
Order: Hymenochaetales
Family: Hymenochaetaceae
Genera treated: Coltricia (see C. cinnamomea), Inonotus (see I. radiatus), Phellinus (see P. gilvus ), Porodaedalea (see P. pini )
Family: Schizoporaceae
Family: Uncertain
Genera treated: Rickenella (see R. fibula also possibly in Agaricales)
Order: Hysterangiales
Family: Gallaceaceae
Family: Hysterangiaceae
Family: Mesophelliaceae
Family: Phallogastraceae
Family: Trappeaceae
Order: Phallales
Family: Clastulaceae
Family: Clathraceae
Genera treated: Aseröe (see A. rubra), Blumenavia (see B. angolensis), Clathrus (see C. ruber), Colus (see C. hirudinosus), Ileodictyon (see I. cibarium), Laternea (see L. pusilla), Pseudocolus (see P. fusiformis)
Family: Phallaceae
Genera treated: Lysurus (see L. mokusin), Mutinus (see M. elegans), Phallus (see P. impudicus), Staheliomyces (see S. cinctus )
Order: Polyporales
Family: Cerrenaceae
Genera treated: Cerrena (see C. unicolor), "Spongipellis" (see S. unicolor )
Family: Cystostereaceae
Family: Fomitopsidaceae
Genera treated: Antrodia (see A. juniperina ), Daedalea (see D. quercina), Fomitopsis (see F. pinicola), Ischnoderma (see I. resinosum), Osteina (see O. obducta), Piptoporus (see P. betulinus), Pycnoporellus (see P. alboluteus )
Family: Grammotheleaceae
Family: Grifolaceae
Genera treated: Grifola (see G. frondosa )
Family: Laetiporaceae
Genera treated: Laetiporus , Phaeolus (see P. schweinitzii )
Family: Limnoperdaceae
Family: Meripilaceae
Genera treated: Meripilus (see M. giganteus )
Family: Meruliaceae
Genera treated: Bjerkandera (see B. adusta), Gloeoporus (see G. dichrous), Irpex (see I. lacteus), Mycorrhaphium (see M. adustum), Phlebia (see P. incarnata), Podoscypha (see P. aculeata), Steccherinum (see S. ochraceum )
Family: Panaceae
Genera treated: Panus (see P. conchatus )
Family: Phanerochaetaceae
Genera treated: Climacodon (see C. septentrionale ), Hapalopilus (see H. nidulans), Phlebiopsis (see P. crassa)
Family: Podoscyphaceae
Genera treated: Abortiporus (see A. biennis )
Family: Polyporaceae
Genera treated: Coriolopsis (see C. gallica), Cryptoporus (see C. volvatus), Daedaleopsis (see D. confragosa), Fomes (see F. fomentarius), Ganoderma (see G. sessile ), Globifomes (see G. graveolens ), Hexagonia (see H. hydnoides), Lentinus (see L. tigrinus), Lenzites (see L. betulina), Microporellus (see M. dealbatus), Neofavolus (see N. alveolaris), Nigroporus (see N. vinosus), Perenniporia (see P. ohiensis), Polyporus (see P. squamosus), Poronidulus, Pycnoporus (see P. cinnabarinus), Pyrofomes (see P. juniperinus), Trametes (see T. versicolor), Trichaptum (see T. biforme), Tyromyces (see T. chioneus )
Family: Sparassidaceae
Genera treated: Sparassis (see S. crispa )
Family: Tubulicrinaceae
Family: Xenasmataceae
Order: Russulales
Family: Albatrellaceae
Genera treated: Albatrellus (see A. cristatus )
Family: Amylostereaceae
Family: Auriscalpiaceae
Genera treated: Artomyces (see Artomyces pyxidatus), Auriscalpium (see A. vulgare), Lentinellus
Family: Bondarzewiaceae
Genera treated: Bondarzewia (see B. berkeleyi), Heterobasidion (see H. annosum )
Family: Echinodontiaceae
Family: Hericiaceae
Genera treated: Hericium
Family: Hybogasteraceae
Family: Lachnocladiaceae
Family: Peniophoraceae
Genera treated: Peniophora (see P. rufa )
Family: Russulaceae
Genera treated: Arcangeliella (see A. desjardinii), Lactarius, Lactifluus, Russula, Zelleromyces (see Z. cinnabarinus)
Family: Stereaceae
Genera treated: Aleurodiscus (see A. oakesii), Stereum (see S. ostrea), Xylobolus (see X. frustulatus )
Order: Sebacinales
Family: Sebacinaceae
Genera treated: Helvellosebacina (see H. concrescens ), Sebacina (see S. incrustans ), Tremellodendron (see T. schweinitzii )
Order: Thelephorales
Family: Bankeraceae
Genera treated: Boletopsis (see B. leucomelaena ), Hydnellum, Phellodon (see P. confluens), Sarcodon (see S. imbricatus )
Family: Thelephoraceae
Genera treated: Polyozellus (see P. multiplex ), Thelephora (see T. multipartita )
Order: Trechisporales
Family: Hydnodontaceae
Order: Tremellodendropsidales
Family: Tremellodendropsidaceae
Genera treated: Tremellodendropsis (see T. tuberosa )

Subphyllum: Pucciniomycotina (rusts . . . see Gymnosporangium juniperi-virginianae )
Subphyllum: Ustilaginomycotina (smuts . . . )

Phylum: Chytridiomycota (aquatic fungi . . . )
Phylum: Glomeromycota (endomycorrhizal fungi . . . )
Phylum: Microsporidia (spore-forming parasites that lack flagellae . . . )
Phylum: Zygomycota (various saprobes, parasites, and others . . . )

I have done my best to avoid typing mistakes in the table above, but I ask you to imagine typing " Hypsizygus, Syzygospora , Rhynchogastremataceae," and the like for hours on end with no recourse to a spell-checker. If you find a mistake, please drop me a line I will appreciate knowing it.

'SpongeBob' mushroom discovered in the forests of Borneo

Sing it with us: What lives in the rainforest, under a tree? Spongiforma squarepantsii, a new species of mushroom almost as strange as its cartoon namesake.

Its discovery in the forests of Borneo, says San Francisco State University researcher Dennis Desjardin, suggests that even some of the most charismatic characters in the fungal kingdom are yet to be identified.

Shaped like a sea sponge, S. squarepantsii was found in 2010 in the Lambir Hills in Sarawak, Malaysia. It is bright orange -- although it can turn purple when sprinkled with a strong chemical base -- and smells "vaguely fruity or strongly musty," according to Desjardin and colleagues' description published in the journal Mycologia.

Under a scanning electron microscope, the spore-producing area of the fungus looks like a seafloor carpeted in tube sponges, which further convinced the researchers to name their find after the famous Bob.

The new species is only one of two species in the Spongiforma genus. The other species is found in central Thailand, and differs in color and odor. But close examination of the fungi and genetic analysis revealed that the two were relatives living thousands of miles apart.

"We expect that it has a wider range than these two areas," said Desjardin, a professor in ecology and evolution in the SFSU Biology Department. "But perhaps we haven't seen it in more places because we haven't collected it yet in some of the underexplored forests of the region."

Desjardin said Spongiforma are related to a group of mushrooms that includes the tasty porcini. But the genus sports an unusual look that is far from the expected cap and stem style.

"It's just like a sponge with these big hollow holes," he explained. "When it's wet and moist and fresh, you can wring water out of it and it will spring back to its original size. Most mushrooms don't do that."

Spongiforma's ancestors had a cap and stem, but these characters have been lost over time -- a common occurrence in fungi, Desjardin noted.

The cap and stem design is an elegant evolutionary solution to a fungal problem. The stem lifts the fungus' reproductive spores off the ground so that they can be dispersed more easily by wind and passing animals, while the cap protects the spores from drying out in their lofty but exposed position.

In its humid home, Spongiforma has taken a different approach to keeping its spores wet. "It's become gelatinous or rubbery," Desjardin said. "Its adaptation is to revive very quickly if it dries out, by absorbing very small amounts of moisture from the air."

S. squarepantsii now has another claim to fame: It joins the five percent of species in the vast and diverse Kingdom Fungi that have been formally named. Researchers estimate that there may be anywhere from 1.5 to 3 million fungal species.

"Most of these are very cryptic, molds and little things, most of them are not mushrooms," Desjardin said. But even mushrooms -- which are sort of like the big game of the fungal world -- are mostly unknown.

"We go to underexplored forests around the world, and we spend months at a time collecting all the mushrooms and focusing on various groups," Desjardin said. "And when we do that type of work, on average, anywhere from 25 percent to 30 percent of the species are new to science."

Desjardin and his colleague Don Hemmes of the University of Hawaii at Hilo will describe five new white-spored species of mushrooms from the native mountain forests of Hawaii in an upcoming issue of Mycologia.

The Hawaiian species are among the diverse set of organisms found on the islands and nowhere else in the world. Desjardin and his colleagues are racing to discover and study the islands' fungi before native forests succumb to agriculture and grazing.

"We don't know what's there, and that keeps us from truly understanding how these habitats function," Desjardin said. "But we think that all this diversity is necessary to make the forests work the way they're supposed to work."

"Spongiforma squarepantsii, a new species of gasteroid bolete from Borneo," was published online on May 10, 2011 in Mycologia.

Story Source:

Materials provided by San Francisco State University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Jack-o-Lantern Mushroom

Unlike the earlier article on the swamp beacon fungi, there can be no question as to whether the jack-o-lantern mushroom fully merits its name. These mushrooms are named not only for their bright orange, pumpkin-like color, but also for their bioluminescent properties. The gills contain compounds called luciferases, which are waste products or secondary metabolites produced by the mushroom’s underground structure. It is thought that they are transferred to the gills as a method of waste disposal—when the mushroom dies and decays, the luciferases will be lost to the fungus as well. Luciferases are a class of oxidative enzymes which derives its name from ‘Lucifer,’ literally meaning ‘light-bearer.’ They are the same type of compound present in fireflies, certain bioluminescent bacteria, and some copepod species, among others.

Jack-o-lantern mushrooms are fleshy, bright orange mushrooms found growing in dense clusters on rotting wood, dead trees, and stumps. However, the substrate can sometimes be concealed under the leaf litter, giving the impression that it is growing directly out of the ground like its edible look-a-like, the chanterelle. There are two primary ways to distinguish the species. Firstly, chanterelles rarely grow in dense clusters, and never directly on rotting wood. Secondly, chanterelles have false gills (folds on the underside of the cap not structurally distinct from the flesh of the cap itself) whereas jack-o-lantern mushrooms have true gills (structures truly separate from each other and from the flesh of the cap). For those interested in collecting mushrooms to eat, these features can be the only difference between a prized edible and a trip to the hospital. Jack-o-lantern mushrooms contain the toxin muscarine, which, although not deadly in humans, causes severe cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain for several days.

Like many fungi, Omphalotus olearius is the subject of a taxonomic dispute. O. olearius is a European species which some argue is distinct from jack-o-lantern mushrooms found in the New World. Those in favor of the distinction classify the fungi found on the east coast as O. illudens, while those found on the west coast would be O. olivascens.

These mushrooms can be found growing on dead hardwoods (mainly oaks), and are numerous in both forests and developed areas—wherever they have access to their preferred substrate. They fruit in the late summer or fall. Lisa collected these specimens near Wind Rock, although clusters have been known to appear at the base of the dead oak in front of Lewis or the live one in front of Rafinesque. The glowing gills were observed last night and can still be seen, if one allows one’s eyes to adjust to the darkness.

What species is this orange mushroom in Romania? - Biology

The bright color patterns of pleasing fungus beetles never fail to attract attention, but because of their cryptic habits they are rarely seen except by the dedicated mushroom hunter and entomologists.

Taxonomy (Back to Top)

The family Erotylidae has been thoroughly revised by Boyle (1956) for America north of Mexico. Since then nothing has been published to change the taxonomic standing of the species in the United States. Much taxonomic work, however, remains to be done before the tropical fauna is as well known.

Distribution (Back to Top)

Pleasing fungus beetles are worldwide in distribution, but the vast majority of the species occur in the tropics. Of the approximately 1,800 known species, only 51 are found in America north of Mexico 18 species have been recorded from or are known to occur in Florida (Skelley 1988).

Description (Back to Top)

Most pleasing fungus beetles are easily recognized by their reddish-orange and black color pattern, although there are a few exceptions. Members of the genus Pseudischyrus and some of Tritoma are entirely brown or black. Most species in the southeastern United States are black with a red head and prothorax, but a few are more elaborately patterned. Because many other beetles share this black and red color pattern, additional characters are needed for identification.

Figure 1. 1) Tritoma atriventis LeConte - 2.0 mm 2) Megalodacne heros (Say) - 8.0 mm 3) Ischyrus q. quadripunctatus (Olivier) - 4.0 mm.

Figure 2. Adult pleasing fungus beetle, Megalodacne spp. Photograph by Paul. M. Choate, University of Florida.

Important structural characters include their clubbed antenna, 5-5-5 tarsal formula, usually dilated maxillary palps, and lack of pubescence. Pleasing fungus beetles range in size from 2.0 to 3.5 mm long in Dacne to 14.0 to 22.0 mm long in Megalodacne. Most Florida species are less than 10 mm in length. Body shape usually is elongate-oval or egg-shaped. Useful references for identifying these beetles are Boyle (1956) and Dillon and Dillon (1961).

Biology (Back to Top)

Pleasing fungus beetles feed on the fruiting bodies of fungi. A wide variety of fungi serves as hosts for the family as a whole, but each pleasing fungus beetle species seems to be specific to a certain group of fungi. The species with larger individuals, such as Megalodacne spp., feed in the harder bracket fungi (Ganoderma spp.) found on dead trees and stumps. Common Triplax spp. feed on oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus spp.) which grow on dead logs. Tritoma spp. feed on mushrooms growing from dead roots and logs, while members of Pseudischyrus and other Tritoma spp. feed on fungi that have mycorrhyzal associations with living tree roots. These mushrooms include brittlegill mushrooms (Russula spp.) and deathcap mushrooms (Amanita spp.). McKnight and McKnight (1987) is useful in mushroom recognition.

As with most insects that depend on ephemeral food sources, the larval stage generally passes quickly: two weeks from egg to pupa is not uncommon. The sluggish larvae are only found associated with the mature host fruiting body. Adults are often found on the host fungus in large numbers with the larvae. However, adults are also found away from the host. When conditions are unfavorable for the host fungi to fruit, adults often congregate under bark or in other hiding places. The causal factors and mechanisms which lead to these aggregations are unknown.

Economic Importance (Back to Top)

In the United States, the pleasing fungus beetles are not economically important, but in the Orient where many people regularly collect and eat wild mushrooms, pleasing fungus beetles may be considered pests (Boyle 1956). Many of the fungi upon which these beetles feed are edible by humans. Currently none of these fungi is easily cultivated and they are not sought after by most people. With the increasing popularity of mushrooms and cultural technological advances, it is possible that pleasing fungus beetles may become economically important in the United States. If these beetles become pests, chemical control is not recommended because mushrooms are very absorbent. Biological or cultural controls should be considered.

These beetles may also be beneficial. Fungi like Inonotus spp. and Armillariella spp. are known to be pathogenic to hardwood trees. These fungi also serve as hosts for several species of pleasing fungus beetles.

Selected References (Back to Top)

  • Boyle WW. 1956. A revision of the Erotylidae of America north of Mexico (Coleoptera). Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 110: 61-172.
  • Dillon ES, Dillon LS. 1961. A Manual of Common Beetles of Eastern North America. Row, Peterson and Company, Evanston, IL. 884 p.
  • McKnight KH, McKnight VB. 1987. Peterson Field Guide to Mushrooms. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 429 p.
  • Skelley P. 1988. The pleasing fungus beetles of Florida (Coleoptera: Erotylidae). M.S. thesis. University of Florida, Central Science Library. Gainesville, FL. 172 pp.

Author: Paul E. Skelley, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry.
Originally published as DPI Entomology Circular 313.
Photographs: Paul M. Choate, University of Florida
Graphics: Division of Plant Industry
Web Design: Don Wasik, Jane Medley
Publication Number: EENY-91
Publication Date: June 1999. Latest Revision: February 2014. Reviewed: December 2017. Reviewed: April 2021.

Summary of Cordyceps Mushrooms

Ultimately, the jury is out on Cordyceps mushroom benefits. The vast majority of studies to date involve lab rats or mice. Also, much of the available research is of questionable quality. Hopefully, the growing popularity of the fungi will lead to a more detailed investigation into their properties.

Hopefully, the growing popularity of the fungi will lead to a more detailed investigation into their properties.

The Chinese and other cultures have used these mushrooms for thousands of years. They could help with issues such as inflammation, type 2 diabetes, and heart conditions. Cordyceps are rich in antioxidants, with possible anti-tumor properties. There is also a suggestion they could help boost exercise performance.

The most popular cordyceps supplements are powder and capsules. You can also make mushroom tea. If you want to purchase cordyceps, make sure the product has a USP or NSF label.

Watch the video: Living with the Mushroom People of Romania (July 2022).


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