Cortinarius croceus: The Ultimate Mushroom Guide
About The Cortinarius croceus Mushroom
Cortinarius croceus is a small agaric with a tawny-brown cap, yellowish tawny gills, and slender, yellowish stem with a faint ring zone. It has a mild to radishlike odor and taste. The mushroom grows solitary or in scattered trooping groups on soil in coniferous woods. Often large numbers can be found in open areas, along roadsides and banks, among mosses and lichens, or on bare soil.
This mushroom is recorded by some authorities as 'poisonous'. Because several of the webcaps are known to be deadly poisonous (and some research even suggests that all Cortinarius species may contain at least small amounts of the toxins concerned).
This species is commonly used for dying wool.
Other names: Saffron Webcap.
Cortinarius croceus Identification
Mycorrhizal with conifers; growing alone or scattered, often in dry areas; summer and fall; widely distributed in North America.
1.5-8 cm; convex or nearly conical at first, becoming broadly convex, flat, or broadl bell-shaped, sometimes with a sharp central bump; dry; silky; yellowish-brown to olive-brown, often aging to dark brown, especially over the center; the margin often more yellowish.
Attached to the stem but often pulling away from it in age; close or crowded; yellow at first (orangish in some varieties), becoming cinnamon to rusty; covered by a yellowish cortina when young; sometimes spotting and discoloring reddish brown.
3-7 cm long; up to 1 cm thick at the apex; more or less equal; dry; silky with brownish fibers; yellowish above, sometimes olive-brown to reddish-brown below; sometimes with a rusty ring zone; basal mycelium pale yellow.
Radishlike or not distinctive.
KOH on cap surface red, then dark red to black.
Spores 6.5-9 x 4.5-6 µ; ellipsoid; slightly to moderately roughened. Some basidia with reddish to purplish or reddish-brown contents. Cheilo- and pleurocystidia absent. Pileipellis a cutis.
Cortinarius croceus Look-Alikes
Similar but generally occurs in wetter habitats.
Treated by some field guide authors (in short, as a yellowish-brown species) may be the same mushroom like the one described here. However, Cortinarius cinnamomeus, according to its original (European) description, has a reddish cinnamon cap, reddish cinnamon gills, and a yellowish stem. Ammirati (1972) says the name "has often been misapplied and selection of a neotype is needed to put this species on a sound taxonomic basis" (274).
Cortinarius croceus Taxonomy & Etymology
In 1753 German naturalist Jacob Christian Schaeffer described the Saffron Webcap and gave it the scientific name Agaricus croceus. It was British mycologist Samuel Frederick Gray (1766 - 1828) who in 1821 transferred this species to the genus Cortinarius, thereby establishing its currently-accepted scientific name Cortinarius croceus.
Synonyms of Cortinarius croceus include Agaricus croceus Schaeff., Cortinarius cinnamomeobadius Rob. Henry, Dermocybe cinnamomeobadia (Rob. Henry) M.M. Moser, and Dermocybe crocea (Schaeff.) M.M. Moser.
The vast genus Cortinarius is subdivided by many authorities into subgenera, and Cortinarius croceus belongs to the subgenus Dermocybe.
The generic name Cortinarius is a reference to the partial veil or cortina (meaning a curtain) that covers the gills when caps are immature. In the genus Cortinarius most species produce partial veils in the form of a fine web of radial fibers connecting the stem to the rim of the cap.
The specific epithet croceus comes from Latin and means colored like saffron (the golden-yellow pollen of crocuses).
Cortinarius croceus profile
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