What You Should Know
Leucopholiota decorosa is a species of fungus in the mushroom family Tricholomataceae. It is distinguished by its fruitbody which is covered with pointed brown, curved scales on the cap and stem, and by its white gills. Found in the eastern United States, France, and Pakistan, it is saprobic, growing on the decaying wood of hardwood trees.
Many published photographs of this species show the scales to be abundant and quite erect, giving the mushroom a very textured appearance. The scales on the specimens were somewhat flattened, perhaps due in part to age or the flattening effects of rain.
Other names: Decorated Pholiota.
Leucopholiota decorosa Mushroom Identification
Saprobic on the deadwood of hardwoods, often in forests of beech, hemlock, and sugar maple; growing alone, gregariously, or in clusters; late summer and fall; fairly widely distributed in eastern North America.
2.5-7 cm; round at first, becoming convex, broadly convex, or nearly flat; dry; covered with conspicuous, brown to rusty brown, pointed scales; the margin inrolled and hairy.
Attached to the stem by a notch; close; white; at first covered by a partial veil of rusty brown fibers.
2.5-8 cm long; up to 1.5 cm thick; dry; bald and white at the apex; sheathed below with rusty brown scales and hairs; with a folded-over ring zone at the top of the sheath.
White; unchanging when sliced.
Odor and Taste
Odor not distinctive; taste not distinctive, or bitter.
KOH negative to slowly pinkish on the cap.
Spores 5.5-6 x 3.5-4 µ; smooth; ellipsoid; amyloid. Cheilocystidia clavate to rostrate or fusiform. Pleurocystidia absent. Pileipellis a trichoderm. Clamp connections are present.
Leucopholiota decorosa Look-Alikes
Has a similar outward appearance, but it may be distinguished by its brown spores and sticky cap surface underneath the scales.
The overall size is smaller—cap diameter 1 to 4 cm (0.4 to 1.6 in)—and the spores are cinnamon-brown. Some species in the genus Cystoderma also appear similar, but can be distinguished by microscopic features, like the presence of spherical (rather than club-shaped) cells in the cuticle of the cap, and also their habitat—Cystoderma usually grows on soil, rather than wood.
Leucopholiota decorosa Taxonomy and Etymology
The species now known as Leucopholiota decorosa was first described by Charles Peck in 1873, based on a specimen he found in New York State; he placed it in Tricholoma, then considered a subgenus of Agaricus. In 1947, Alexander Smith and Walters transferred the species into the genus Armillaria, based on its apparent close relationship to Armillaria luteovirens; the presence of clamp connections in the hyphae, the amyloid spores, and the structure of the veil and its remnants.
The genus Armillaria, as it was understood at the time, would later be referred to as a "taxonomic refugium for about 270 white-spored species with attached gills and an annulus." Smith later transferred the species to the genus Tricholomopsis; however, he neglected the amyloid spores, the recurved scales of the cap cuticle, and the lack of cells known as pleurocystidia, features which should have ruled out a taxonomic transfer into the genus. In 1987, the species was transferred yet again, this time to the genus Floccularia.
The appearance of a specimen at a 1994 mushroom foray in North Carolina resulted in a collaboration between mycologists Tom Volk, Orson K. Miller, Jr. and Alan Bessette, who renamed the species Leucopholiota decorosa in a 1996 Mycologia publication. Leucopholiota was originally a subgenus of Armillaria, but the authors raised it to generic level to accommodate L. decorosa, which would become the type species. In 2008, Henning Knudsen considered L. decorosa to be the same species as what was then known as Amylolepiota lignicola, and considered the two names to be synonymous. However, Finnish mycologist Harri Harmaja rejected this interpretation.
Originally, Harmaja believed Lepiota lignicola sufficiently distinct from other similar taxa to deserve its own genus Amylolepiota, which he described in a 2002 publication. He changed his mind in 2010, writing "the differences between the type species of both genera are small and are thus best considered as differences at the species level"; with this he transferred the taxon to Leucopholiota, and it is now known as Leucopholiota lignicola, the second species in genus Leucopholiota.
The genus name Leucopholiota means "white Pholiota" (from λευκός, leukós), referring to the gills and the spores; it was proposed in 1980 by Henri Romagnesi who originally described it as a subgenus of Armillaria. The specific epithet decorosa, though intended for "elegant" or "handsome", actually means "decent", "respectable", "modest", or "decorous".
Photo 1 - Author: walt sturgeon (Mycowalt) (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
Photo 2 - Author: Eric Smith (esmith) (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
Photo 3 - Author: walt sturgeon (Mycowalt) (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
Photo 4 - Author: Jimmie Veitch (jimmiev) (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
Photo 5 - Author: weed lady (Sylvia ) (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
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