Lentinus tigrinus: The Ultimate Mushroom Guide
About The Lentinus tigrinus Mushroom
Lentinus tigrinus is a mushroom in the Polyporaceae family. It is classified as nonpoisonous. It has been reported that mushrooms have significant antioxidant and antimicrobial activity. A crunchy, nutty native relative to the US and with global distribution, this is a cousin to the widely cultivated Shiitake. it is currently being researched for its ease of cultivation, rapid life cycle, and similarity in the flavor to the woodsy Shiitake.
This small mushroom can be identified by its riverine habitat, the navel-like depression in the center of the cap, and the small brown scales. Microscopic features include ellipsoid, inamyloid spores—and some features that are decidedly polypore-ish, like the presence of hyphal pegs and thick-walled binding hyphae.
A recent study of Lentinus tigrinus by Grand (2004) shows a clear separation between North American and non-North American (Eurasian and Australian) populations in their DNA—but the populations have retained the ability to mate successfully; "widely scattered geographical populations of the L. tigrinus complex are genetically divergent, but are still capable of exchanging genetic material when they contact each other" in petri dishes.
Other names: Tiger Sawgill.
Lentinus tigrinus Identification
Saprobic; growing alone, scattered, or, more frequently, gregariously to loosely clustered on the wood of hardwoods—usually in floodplains on wood that is subject to regular wetting by streams, rivers, and so on; spring through fall, or overwinter in warmer climates; widely distributed from the Great Plains eastward, and in the Southwest; most common in the southeastern states.
1–3 cm wide; broadly convex, with a prominent, navel-like central depression; dry; fibrillose-scaly with small, dark brown scales over a tan to the brown ground; the margin incurved and not lined.
In the "normal" form (see discussion above) running down the stem; crowded; edges becoming slightly serrated; short-gills frequent; white to creamy. In another form malformed or nearly absent; appearing as if covered with a white partial veil of Hypomyces.
2–4 cm long; 2–5 mm wide; equal, or slightly tapered toward the base; dry; scaly with fine brown scales like those on the cap when fresh and young, but often losing the scales quickly and appearing fibrillose or even bald; whitish toward the apex; brownish to brown below; with a whitish to brownish, ephemeral ring zone when fresh and young.
Whitish; unchanging when sliced.
Spores 5–7 x 2–3.5 µm; ellipsoid; smooth; hyaline in KOH; inamyloid. Basidia 4-spored. Cheilocystidia basidiole-like and generally hard to distinguish, but thick-walled binding hyphae protrude from the lamellar edge. Pleurocystidia not found. Hyphal pegs present; extending 40–60 µm from the hymenium; 12–20 µm wide in the aggregate; individual hyphae 4–6 µm wide, smooth, hyaline in KOH, thin-walled, clamped. Pileipellis a partially gelatinized cutis with scattered upright, fascicled aggregations (the scales); elements 2.5–7 µm wide, hyaline to brown in KOH, smooth or finely encrusted, clamped.
Dryad's Saddle, Polyporus squamosus, occasionally forms trumpet-shaped fruitbodies arising from roots under the leaf litter; however, it has a black stem base and pores rather than gills.
Lentinus tigrinus Taxonomy & Etymology
This mushroom was first described scientifically in 1782 by the pioneering Frency mycologist Jean Baptiste Francois Pierre Bulliard, who gave it the binomial scientific name Agaricus tigrinus. It was the Swedish mycologist Elias Magnus Fries who, in 1825, redescribed this species and transferred it to the genus Lentinus, thus establishing its currently-accepted scientific name Lentinus tigrinus.
Synonyms of Lentinus tigrinus include Agaricus tigrinus Bull., Agaricus dunalii DC., Omphalia tigrina (Bull.) Gray, Clitocybe tigrina (Bull.) P. Kumm., Pocillaria tigrina (Bull.) Kuntze, Panus tigrinus (Bull.) Singer, and Pleurotus tigrinus (Bull.) KÃ¼hner.
The generic name Lentinus means comes from the Latin Lent-, meaning pliable, and -inus, meaning resembling; so Lentinus means 'resembling pliable'. The specific epithet tigrinus means 'like a tiger', and refers to the scaly stripes on the cap and often also the stem of this mushroom.
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