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Myconerd - DBK
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My First ID (I hope)
    #1577954 - 05/26/03 10:33 AM (15 years, 2 days ago)

Everytime I?m at Lowe?s I see a new type of mushroom growing in their mulch/oak tree island beds. Yesterday I decided to pick one and attempt to identify it as I have recently been studying Mushrooms Demystified. Here?s a few pics, unfortunately I didn?t have my camera to get a shot of the habitat.

Upon first encounter I assumed probable Amanita but the lack of volva diminished that possibility. Here are the notes I scribbled down "in the field".

Bulbous base.
Primarily white with cinnamon brown markings.
White gills.
Stem is not hollow and rather firm.
Veil left very little anulus (white), has fragments on cap, seem to be disappearing, light pink in veil.
Smells like most any store bought mushroom.
No obvious taproot.
Growing in what appears to be moist pine bark mulch under an oak tree.
Tastes like an almond.
Cap is dry and the gills are what i assume to be adnate.
Fairly young specimen (lone) and cap is between bell and convex shaped, looks as if cap would mature into an umbonate shape.
Brown "scales" on cap will flake/peel off.
When cut it oxidises first yellow then later brown tinged piss yellow.

My synopsis based on the key path I took this specimen falls in the Family of Lepiotacae, Genus Lepiota, Species Eriophora (alos Hispida) which has four subspecies with descriptions this specimen doesn?t match.
Page 303

Any comments, corrections, input?

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Re: My First ID (I hope) [Re: debianlinux]
    #1578121 - 05/26/03 12:46 PM (15 years, 2 days ago)

It's a Lepiota for sure. You'll have to dig a bit to find the correct specie though.


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Re: My First ID (I hope) [Re: debianlinux]
    #1578209 - 05/26/03 01:31 PM (15 years, 2 days ago)

First tip. You only picked one. When making a collection, try to get specimens of a variety of ages. Very young specimens and very old ones will often show features which are unusual for the species. Your notes seem to indicate there was only one there, so you were stuck. In this case, since you state that these seem to come up at that spot from time to time, watch the spot and see if you can make a better collection next time.

Lepiota is correct, and your notes indicate that you see that Lepiota and Amanita are very similar to each other. In the future you will find members of one genus that look so much like the other that they will be difficult to identify.

Let's try walking through the key.

At #1 we start with questions about size (see - size does matter!). Comparing your specimen to the lighter, I'd call it medium sized. Hmmm - that doesn't help. Both sides include medium. How thick is the stem? I can't tell from the photo, but I'd guess about a half centimeter. The cutoff in the couplet is 6mm. The other information is deciding if it's "usually forming a distinct ... veil". Usually isn't particularly helpful, so we should probably consider both sides of this couplet.

Let's try the second half:

At #10 we're supposed to check for "small, erect, pointed or pyramidal scales which rub off easily" on the cap and stem. At least in the photo I don't see any. Here is a link to a page where there is an illustration (down at the bottom) of something like that. I'll choose "Not as above".

At #13 we start with "Cap conspicuously striate, at least in age...". This specimen is not striate, but it's not "in age". We also have "flesh thin and fragile". The cap flesh is thin, and I can't tell if it's fragile. [Scanning ahead, I can see that here Arora is using this couplet to jump over into Leucocoprinus. Your specimen doesn't look remotely like a Coprinus with white gills, so we can skip that part.] Let's choose "Not with above features; cap not normally striate".

At #16 we look to see if the stalk is shaggy or cottony. Clearly it isn't, so we can take the ever-popular choice "Not with above features".

At #17 we want to know (among other things) if you found this "in grazed pastures (but not on dung) in Florida". Let's take "Not as above".

At #18 we want to know if the partial veil leaves a "distinct collarlike annulus (ring) on stalk (examine several specimens)". It looks like it isn't, and we can't examine several specimens, so we take "Veil usually disappearing...".

At #29 we're asked if the gills are yellow. Let's take "Gills not yellow".

At #30 we check for "Cap and stalk tinged lavender to lilac, without scales". Let's take "Not as above".

At #31 we look for "Cap small (usually 2.5cm broad or less) ... without contrasting colored scales". Those scales have pretty strong contrast, so let's take "Not as above".

At #32 we have "Stalk typically without scales; cap small (usually 1-5cm broad); annulus (ring) often present on stalk". The cap size is OK, the stalk isn't obviously scaly, but there's no ring. Hmmmm. The other side says "Stalk typically with scales below the veil or cap larger; distinct annulus usually lacking". [Looking at the 4 species left in the key, they're all small, brownish, thin-stemmed Lepiotas which are noteworthy for being deadly poisonous.] None of the mushrooms left in the key look like this specimen.

Remember, back at #1, I mentioned that we might want to try both sides. Let's see if we have better success with the other.

At #2 we're asked if "Both scales and background of cap white or whitish...". The scales aren't remotely whitish, so let's take "Not as above".

At #3 we get asked (again) about the "pointed, often pyramidal warts (at least when young) that usually rub off easily". The alternative is "scales on cap absent, or if present then caused by the breaking up of the cap cuticle and not rubbing off easily". Those scales are caused by the cuticle breaking up, and the phrase "rubbing off easily" is somewhat subject to interpretation. You said they rub off, but how easy is "easily"? Since they're not "pointed", let's take the second choice.

At #4 we should check the spore print to see if it's green. Your specimen doesn't look like Chlorophyllum molybdites to me, but we should keep the posibility in mind. Let's take "Spore print white...".

At #5 we are checking to see if the specimen is Lepiota procera. The key description isn't being too helpful, so compare the specimen to the detailed description of the species. This doesn't really look like it, so let's take "Not as above".

At #6 we're asked if the "Cap smooth when young, but soon breaking up into brown to reddish scales or fibrils". Sounds good, but what's the alternative? "Not as above; cap white to gray, grayish-brown, or buff". Let's take the first one.

At #7 we're asked if "not staining when bruised or in age". You say it starts out yellow then turns a yellowish-brown. The alternative is "stalk interior usually staining yellow-orange to reddish when cut or bruised". The second one is closer, but neither is very satisfying.

At #8 we check for "Fruiting body aging or drying dark reddish-brown to vinaceous; stalk often spindle-shaped". I'm not sure - we really need an older specimen to tell. How about the other side? "Not as above; stalk terminating in a swollen base or bulb". The stem is shaped so that we could probably live with either description. Let's try looking at the descriptions of the species.

Under the comments under Lepiota americana it says "This species is easily recognized by its tendency to darken to reddish for burgundy as it ages or dries". I'm not seeing that in the photos and you didn't mention it, so let's say not.

Lepiota rachodes seems to match a bit better, except for the ring.

OK, so we walked through the key in detail - so what's the conclusion?

First, I don't think that's Lepiota eriophora. It seems to be lacking the pointed scales.

Second, none of the other species the key led us to matched entirely in their description. The closest one is probably Lepiota rachodes. But the description there isn't quite right, either.

Going to page 293, the last paragraph before the key:

"At least 200 species of Lepiota are thought to occur in North America. Many have very limited or erratic distributions. Only some of the larger or more distinctive species are presented here. The diligent Lepiota-lover will doubtlessly uncover many species that cannot be identified, particularly in California and the southern United States."

Your specimen is just enough off that I'd say you've found one of those which "cannot be identified".

At this point you can file this mushroom as "the Lepiota found over by Lowe's" and not worry too much about it. Since Lepiota includes deadly poisonous species, you should not eat it unless you can get a positive ID.

If you get really desperate for an ID you can try going to a mycologist at a nearby university and see if they can help you.

If you haven't yet, I recommend reading the section from pp21 - 23, "How to Use the Keys". Not because you don't know how (I think you did a pretty good job, actually). That section mostly consists of why you'll follow the keys and you still won't be able to identify the mushroom. The unfortunate reality is that a high percentage of mushrooms you find you'll never be able to identify.

Lepiota is not the easiest genus to identify in. Especially the medium sized species without a ring. I've brought in Lepiotas similar (but not the same) as the one you've got to professionals who clearly found them difficult. After a bunch of paging through several books they'll pick out some obscure species and say it's "close to" that. To be fair, they don't want to say it is unless they've spent the time examining it in detail with a microscope and can be sure they're right. After all, their professional reputation is potentially at stake.

So I guess you'll have to be happy with saying it's a "Lepiota sp.". At least you got to genus. I'm sure it won't be long before you find mushrooms you can't even figure out what genus they are.

Hope that was helpful.

Happy mushrooming!

Happy mushrooming!

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Myconerd - DBK
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Re: My First ID (I hope) [Re: ToxicMan]
    #1578592 - 05/26/03 03:59 PM (15 years, 2 days ago)

Thanks for the guidance. Can anyone refer me to a geographical zone chart?

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Re: My First ID (I hope) [Re: debianlinux]
    #1578625 - 05/26/03 04:11 PM (15 years, 2 days ago)

5 shrooms to both of y'all.

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