What You Should Know
Squamanita paradoxa is a species of fungus in the family Tricholomataceae. It is a parasitic fungus that grows on another fungus, Cystoderma amianthinum. Widespread in Europe and North America, it seems globally rare, though seen in Europe with slightly more frequency than in North America. Its host, however, is widespread, with no evidence of decline.
Other names: Powdercap Strangler.
Squamanita paradoxa Mushroom Identification
2 to 3cm across; initially convex, becoming broadly convex or flat; color brownish-violet but paler towards the rim; covered in shaggy scales.
White at first, becoming cream.
4 to 7cm long and 4 to 8mm diameter. The lower part is orange and coarsely scaly, topped by a collar-like persistent ring; the upper part is pale brownish-lilac and finely scaly.
Ellipsoidal, smooth, 8-11 x 4.5-6µm; inamyloid or dextrinoid.
Odor and Taste
Odor slightly perfumed becoming foetid in old fruitbodies; taste mild but not distinctive.
Habitat & Ecological Role
Parasitic on Cystoderma amianthinum.
Summer and autumn.
Cystoderma amianthinum, the Earthy Powdercap, which this fungus parasitises.
Squamanita paradoxa Taxonomy and Etymology
In 1948 famous American mycologist Alexander H. Smith and German-born mycologist Rolf Singer described this remarkable mushroom based on fruitbodies collected in Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon USA. Smith and Singer gave the Powdercap Strangler the binomial scientific name Cystoderma paradoxum.
In 1965 Dutch mycologist Cornelis Bas (1928 - 2013) transferred this species to the genus Squamanita, establishing its currently-accepted scientific name as Squamanita paradoxa.
Squamanita, the genus name, suggests that mushrooms in this genus will be scaly (bearing squamules), while the specific epithet paradoxa reflects the puzzling nature of this species, which when it was first found was thought to be a new powdercap (Cystoderma) species.
Photo 1 - Author: peachysteve (Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International)
Photo 2 - Author: peachysteve (Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International)
Photo 3 - Author: peachysteve (Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International)