What You Should Know
Hygrophorus potarum is an interesting wax cap in the Hygrophorus podorinus species group. Like other species in this group, it features a pale pink-orange, yellow response to KOH, and powdery shoot tips. However, it can be divided due to its combination with hardwoods (especially beech), strong sweetness, and small spores. In my area (central Illinois) it is fairly common in late spring and early summer and is one of the first mycorrhizal species to appear. Whether the North American version of Hygrophorus potarum is phylogenetically identical to the original European species will depend on a comprehensive DNA-based study of this species group.
Hygrophorus poetarum Mushroom Identification
Mycorrhizal with beech, oaks, and other hardwoods; growing alone, scattered or features, often in moss; usually appearing in late spring or early summer, but occasionally found in late summer or fall; originally described from France and Switzerland; fairly widespread in Europe; North American distribution uncertain.
2.5–8 cm; convex when young, becoming broadly convex or nearly flat; sticky when fresh, but usually drying out very quickly; bald, or finely hairy over the center; smooth, but with maturity often developing small pockmarks; the margin at first inrolled, cottony, and soft, but eventually unrolling; pale pastel orange or, when growing in direct sunlight, orangish buff.
Broadly attached to the stem or beginning to run down it; close or nearly distant; creamy white or, in age, very pale orange; short-gills frequent.
4–10 cm long; 1–3 cm thick; usually tapering to the base, and often developing a rooting portion underground; mealy at the apex, but bald or finely silky below; whitish to pale orange, discoloring a little orangish or brownish with age or when handled; white at the base; solid.
White; firm; unchanging when sliced.
Odor and Taste
Odor is usually strongly sweet and unpleasant (sometimes reminiscent of the "coal tar" odor in some species of Tricholoma) but occasionally weak, or merely faintly mealy; taste is not distinctive.
KOH yellow to greenish yellow on cap surface; negative on stem apex but negative to yellow or greenish yellow on the stem base.
Spores 5–7 x 3–4.5 µm; ellipsoid to sublacrymoid, with a prominent apiculus; smooth; hyaline in KOH; inamyloid. Basidia 40-55 µ long; subclavate; 4-sterigmate. Cystidia not found. Lamellar trama divergent. Pileipellis an ixocutis, only slightly gelatinized, with trichodermal areas; elements 2.5–5 µm wide, smooth, hyaline in KOH. Clamp connections are present.
Photo 1 - Author: federicocalledda (Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International)
Photo 2 - Author: federicocalledda (Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International)
Photo 3 - Author: jonasgruska (Attribution 4.0 International)
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