Discina perlata: The Ultimate Mushroom Guide
About The Discina perlata Mushroom
Discina perlata is a brown to tannish, wrinkled, cup- or ear-shaped fungus, sometimes with short, stout stalk. The spores of D. perlata are quite similar to those of mushrooms in the genus Gyromitra, so that some mycologists classify it there.
This mushroom can be separated from similar cup-shaped species in the genus by a combination of features: its upper surface is usually reddish-brown or dark brown, and its spores have distinctive pointed apiculi (projections extending from the ends of the spore). Other species tend to be orange-brown or yellow-brown and have spores that lack apiculi or have apiculi that look very different (for example, the scooped-out apiculi of Gyromitra leucoxantha).
It is considered an edible mushroom of ordinary quality. Possessing the ability to accumulate theoretical gyromitrin, handling oneself requires the same - preliminary boiling with a teaspoon of soda.
Discina perlata is a former name. Abbott & Currah (1997) placed Discina macrospora and Discina warnei, two species previously separated by McKnight (1969), in synonymy with Gyromitra perlata. Weber (1995) anticipated this possibility a few years earlier but did not synonymize the species.
Other names: Pig's Ears.
Discina perlata Identification
Saprobic; growing alone or gregariously; terrestrial, but like many species of Gyromitra often appearing near or on rotted wood and stumps; found primarily under conifers in western North America, and under conifers or hardwoods east of the Rocky Mountains; spring; widely distributed in North America but not common in the southeast.
To 7 cm across; cup-shaped or bowl-shaped when young; flattening out with maturity, becoming irregularly saucer-shaped. Upper surface brown to reddish-brown, darkening to dark brown or blackish, especially in raised areas (reminiscent of the blackening in Gyromitra esculenta); smooth or, more frequently, wavy to wrinkled or bumpy. Undersurface whitish to pale grayish brown or yellowish; bald or very finely hairy. Stem when present to 5 cm long and 3 cm wide; whitish; continuous with undersurface; usually broadly ribbed.
Spores 27.5-45.5 x 11.5-16 µ; fusoid; usually with one prominent oil droplet (sometimes with two or three droplets); smooth or roughened; apiculi pointed, extending up to 5.5 µ (best seen in a water mount). Asci 8-spored. Paraphyses with orangish to orange-brown granular contents; clavate or capitate to subcapitate; 6-9 µ wide.
Disciotis venosa is more deeply veined, and has smooth spores; it is typically found in deciduous woods. Other similar species of Discina must be differentiated microscopically.
Discina perlata profile
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