What You Should Know
Psathyrella ammophila is a species of fungus in the family Psathyrellaceae and is found throughout Europe. It is variable in appearance, changing color and shape during its lifespan. Initially bell-shaped and tan or pale brown, the cap gradually flattens and darkens, becoming dark brown with a depressed shape as it ages.
This agaric primarily grows on dunes near marram grass, feeding saprotrophically on the decaying roots. The season of growth is generally May to November.
Other names: Dune Brittlestem, Smilšu Spīgulīte (Latvia), Kruchaweczka Piaskowa (Poland), Klit-Mørkhat (Denmark), Sunaji-Kuzu-Take (Japan), Dynesprøsopp (Norway), Duinfranjehoed (Netherlands), Großsporiger Dünen-Faserling (Austria).
Psathyrella ammophila Mushroom Identification
3 to 5cm across; initially bell-shaped, flattening; margin not striate; surface pale brown, tan or mid-brown, paler in dry weather but usually blackening when very old; smooth, but often coated in sand particles.
Adnate, fairly crowded; dingy brown becoming chocolate brown; drying very dark brown, almost black.
3 to 7cm long above the surface, but usually a further 2 to 4cm buried in sand; 2 to 5mm diameter; rooted among Marram Grass; whitish, turning brown with age; as with other members of this genus there is no stem ring.
Ellipsoidal, smooth, 10-11 x 6-7µm with a large germ pore.
Very dark brown (almost black but with a slight red tinge).
Odor and Taste
Habitat & Ecological Role
Saprobic, on decaying Marram Grassroots and buried stems.
Conocybe dunensis is a similar species that is mainly differentiated from P. ammophila by the rust color of its gills.
Psathyrella ammophila Taxonomy and Etymology
The Dune Brittlestem was described scientifically in 1868 by French botanists Michel Charles Durieu de Maisonneuve (1796 - 1878) and Joseph-Henri Léveillé (1796 - 1870). It was British mycologist Peter Darbishire Orton (1916 - 2005) who, in 1960, redescribed this species as Psathyrella ammophila, by which scientific name it is generally known today.
Psathyrella, the genus name is the diminutive form of Psathyra, which comes from the Greek word psathuros meaning friable; it is a reference to the crumbly nature of the caps, gills and stems of mushrooms in this genus.
The specific epithet ammophila comes from the Greek ammos, meaning sand, and phillia, meaning lover. Judging by its habitat this is indeed a sand-loving mushroom.
Synonyms of Psathyrella ammophila include Agaricus ammophilus Durieu & Lév., Psilocybe ammophila (Durieu & Lév.) Gillet, and Drosophila ammophila (Durieu & Lév.) Kühner & Romagn.
Photo 1 - Author: Krzysztof Ziarnek, Kenraiz (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International)
Photo 2 - Author: Michel Langeveld (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International)
Photo 3 - Author: Tina Ellegaard Poulsen (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International)
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