1. Stipe racemose (i.e., with short side branches); sclerotium black . . . . Dendrocollybia racemosa (IMAGE ONLY) (California, Oregon, Washington)
1. Stipe not racemose; sclerotium brown, orange to yellow, if present . . . . 2
2. Basidiocarps arising from a sclerotium (may be buried in the substrate) . . . . 3
3. Sclerotium globose to subglobose, pale yellow to pale ochraceous orange; basidiocarps mostly on soil or humus, sometimes on agarics; cheilocystidia absent; pileocystidia present . . . . Collybia cookei
Collybia cirrhata (Pers.) Quélet, Mém. Soc. Émul. Montbéliard, sér. II, 5:96. 1872. Micro features, Macro image
Spores 4.8-6.4 x 2-2.8(-3.5) µm, ellipsoid to sublacrymoid in profile, obovoid to ellipsoid or slightly subcylindric in face or back view, smooth, inamyloid, acyanophilous. Basidia 17.5-21 x 4.8-5.6 µm, clavate to subclavate, four sterigmate, not siderophilous. Hymenial cystidia absent. Lamellar trama interwoven to subparallel, inamyloid; hyphae 2.8-8.4 µm in diam, smooth. Pileus trama interwoven beneath the disc of pileus, more or less radially oriented over the lamellae, inamyloid; hyphae 3.5-8.4 µm in diam, smooth, but with slightly, irregularly thickened walls. Pileipellis a poorly differentiated layer of repent, radially arranged, mostly cylindric hyphae, often with a subgelatinous matrix above; cells 2.8-6.4 µm in diam, smooth, thin.walled, with scattered, short diverticulate branchlets. Stipitipellis a layer of parallel, vertically oriented hyphae; cells 3.5-4.2 µm in diam, smooth, slightly thick walled, pale yellow brown in alkali, giving rise to a vesture of tangled, branched, multiseptate caulocystidia, 2.8-4.8 µm in diam, smooth, thin walled, cylindric to cylindric contorted. Clamp connections present in all tissues.
Habit, habitat, and distribution: Gregarious on blackened fungous remains, on rich humus or well decayed wood in conifer and hardwood forests. Appearing during July, August, and September, or occasionally in November.
Discussion: Collybia cirrhata is the one member of Collybia which does not produce a sclerotium. Thus, it is easy to distinguish from Collybia cookei, C. tuberosa, and C. racemosa. Usually, C. cirrhata occurs on blackened fungous remains or on humus in close proximity to such a subtrate. Occasionally however, a blackened fungus is not apparent, and the basidiocarps seem to be arising directly from humus. Spore deposits are difficult to obtain in this species as well as others in the genus. Lennox (1979) reported that C. cirrhata has a whitish colored spore deposit.
Collybia cookei (Bres.) Arnold, Mycologia 17: 413. 1935. Micro features
Spores 4.5-5.6(-6.4) x 2.8-3.5 µm, short ellipsoid to lacrymoid in profile, ellipsoid to obovoid in face or back view, smooth, inamyloid, acyanophilous. Basidia 14-21 x 4.2-5.6 µm, subcylindric to clavate, four sterigmate, not siderophilous. Hymenial cystidia absent. Lamellar trama interwoven, inamyloid; hyphae 2.8-10.5 µm in diam, sometimes inflated up to 14 µm, smooth, thin walled. Pileus trama interwoven under the disc of the pileus, radially oriented over the lamellae, inamyloid; hyphae 4.2-10.5(-14) µm in diam, smooth, thin walled. Pileipellis a thin layer of generally radially oriented, repent, cylindric and subgelatinous hyphae; cells 3.5-7 µm in diam, occasionally with short, diverticulate knobs, with scattered end cells or intercalary branches forming pileocystidia. Stipitipellis a layer of parallel, vertically oriented hyphae; cells 3.5-5.6(-7) µm in diam, smooth, moderately thin walled, pale yellowish brown in alkali, giving rise to a scant vesture of caulocystidia, up to 55 µm long, cylindric contorted, smooth and thin walled. Clamp connections present in all tissues.
Habit, habitat, and distribution: Gregarious on blackened fungous remains, in rich humus, or well decayed wood of mixed conifer-hardwood forests. Appearing during July through September and into early October.
Discussion: Collybia cookei, originally described as a variety of Collybia cirrhata (Bresadola 1928), was determined by Arnold (1935) to be a distinct species after performing exhaustive cultural studies. In her experiments, she discovered that C. cookei had tetrapolar sexuality and was not compatible with cultures obtained from collections of C. cirrhata. Furthermore, Arnold reported that sclerotia were formed in culture which closely resembled those found in nature. Collybia cirrhata never formed sclerotia in culture. Macroscopically, C. cookei can be separated from C. tuberosa by the differently shaped and paler-colored sclerotium. Occasionally, the sclerotia can be overlooked as they are sometimes buried in the substrate. In addition, pileocystidia are absent in C. tuberosa but are present in C. cookei, although these structures are not always present in every section of the pileipellis.
Collybia tuberosa (Bull.:Fr.) Kummer, Führ. Pilzk. 116. 1871. Micro features
Spores 4.2-6.2 x 2.8-3.5 µm, ellipsoid to lacrymoid in profile, obovoid to ellipsoid or cylindric in face or back view, smooth, inamyloid, acyanophilous. Basidia 15.4-21 x 3.5-5 µm, clavate to cylindric, not siderophilous. Pleurocystidia absent. Cheilocystidia scattered to infrequent, inconspicuous, 17.5-31.5 µm long, cylindric contorted, subclavate to irregularly diverticulate. Lamellar trama interwoven, inamyloid; hyphae 2.8-6.4 µm in diam, smooth and thin walled. Pileus trama interwoven below the pileus disc, radially oriented over the lamellae, inamyloid; hyphae 2.8-7 µm in diam, smooth, thin walled. Pileipellis a thin layer of more or less radially oriented, repent, cylindric and somewhat subgelatinous hyphae; cells 2-5 µm in diam, smooth, thin walled, occasionally diverticulate. Stipitipellis a layer of parallel, vertically oriented hyphae; cells 2-4.2 µm in diam, pale yellowish brown in alkali, smooth, thin walled, giving rise to a tangled vesture of caulocystidia, 3.5-7 µm in diam, flexuous cylindric to somewhat contorted, moderately thin walled, smooth, hyaline in alkali. Clamp connections present in all tissues.
Habit, habitat, and distribution: Gregarious on blackened fungous remains, occasionally on humus of conifers and hardwood. Common and widely distributed in the northeast during summer and autumn.
Discussion: Collybia tuberosa is distinguished mainly by the presence of a reddish brown sclerotium which strongly resembles an apple seed in size and shape. Typically, C. tuberosa can be found growing on the blackened remains of old agarics, polypores, hydnums, and boletes. However, it will occur on leaf and needle humus in mixed forests. In addition to the sclerotium characters, ancillary diagnostic features are the presence of cheilocystidia and a lack of pileocystidia. These distinguish it from C. cookei and C. cirrhata.