What You Should Know
Leratiomyces squamosus is an inedible mushroom in the family Strophariaceae. This rare but gorgeous mushroom appears in eastern North America, decomposing woody debris on the forest floor under hardwoods or conifers. Leratiomyces squamosus var. thraustus has a sticky cap that is a beautiful shade of orange and, when young, is adorned with tattered white remnants of the partial veil. The ringed stem is shaggy with white scales and becomes brownish as the mushroom matures. Under the microscope, Leratiomyces squamosus var. thraustus lacks chrysocystidia but features abundant cheilo-leptocystidia.
This attractive little mushroom could easily be mistaken for Sulphur Tuft Hypholoma fasciculare, but it has a substantial and persistent stem ring.
Other names: Scaly Ringstalk, Slender Roundhead.
Leratiomyces squamosus Mushroom Identification
Saprobic; growing alone or gregariously on woody debris in hardwood and conifer forests; summer and fall; widely distributed in eastern North America, and documented from Washington and Utah; uncommon.
2–5 cm; hemispheric at first, becoming broadly convex; sticky to slimy when fresh; bald; dull pinkish orange when young, maturing to bright orange; at first covered with a whitish, tissue-like covering that aggregates into scales as the cap expands; margin usually adorned with white partial veil remnants.
Broadly attached to the stem; close or nearly distant; short-gills frequent; whitish to pale gray at first, becoming dark purplish gray; with whitish edges when mature.
8–15 cm long; up to 1 cm thick; more or less equal; dry; with a ring that is grooved on its upper surface and is usually arched gracefully downwards and away from the stem; fairly bald above the ring, but densely scaly below; white at first, becoming brownish toward the base with maturity; base with white mycelial threads.
White, becoming brownish in the stem with age; not changing when sliced.
Odor and Taste
KOH on cap surface olive to negative.
Spores 10–14 x 5–7 µm; ellipsoid; with a small pore; smooth; thick-walled; yellow-brown in KOH. Basidia 4-spored. Cheilocystidia as leptocystidia; 65–100 x 3–5 µm; cylindric-flexuous with rounded or subacute apices; smooth; hyaline to yellowish in KOH; thin-walled. Pleurocystidia not found. Pileipellis an ixocutis above a subcellular subpellis; orangish brown in KOH.
Sulphur Tuft Hypholoma fasciculare often has veil fragments near the cap rim, but they are darker; it also lacks a stem ring.
Leratiomyces squamosus Taxonomy and Etymology
When in 1888 British mycologists Mordecai Cubitt Cooke and George Edward Massee (1850 - 1917) described this species, they gave it the binomial scientific name Agaricus squamosus.
In 2008 Brian Spooner and colleagues established the currently-accepted scientific name of this mushroom as Leratiomyces squamosus.
This genus name originated in 1907 when Narcisse Théophile Patouillard created the name Le Ratia (which he applied to a puffball fungus) in honor of French botanist and plant collector Auguste-Joseph Le Rat (1872 - 1910), who on various occasions had provided Patouillard with fungal specimens that he had collected. From this origin, Spooner and colleagues derived the new genus name Leratiomyces.
The specific epithet squamosus is a reference to the cherry red color of caps.
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