Asterophora lycoperdoides (syn. Nyctalis asterophora) is an interesting fungus. It is a Basidiomycota that is part of the Lyophyllaceae family that parasitizes members of the Russula and Lactarius genus. It usually grows on the cap of the Russula but the basidocarps can also be found on gills of host as the host starts to decay. It is usually found in the fall, in areas where host species are commonly found. This fungus does not usually produce basidiospores, but instead produces star shaped chlamydospores on the cap, as it matures, which makes a brown to buff powder. Tom Volk’s webpage on A. lycoperdoides, describes the name Asterophora meaning “star bearer” and lycoperdoides referring to the genus Lycoperdon (common puffballs). Chlamydospores are asexual masses of hyphal tissue and is the main reproductive mode of A. lycoperdoides. There have also been tremelloid basidiomycete yeasts – members of Cryptococcus – isolated from the fruiting bodies of A. lycoperdoides. So, when A. lycoperdoides is encountered, the entire collection might include three members of Basidiomycota.
Basidiocarp: 30 to 40 mm tall, with cap 15 to 30 mm in diameter. Growing usually in clusters occasionally singular on decaying Russula or Lactarius sp.
Cap: white when immature getting brown to buff, powdery when mature
Spore print: difficult to obtain
Hymenium: White to grey in color, not crowded and attached to the stipe.
Stipe: 15 to 40 mm long and >5 mm thick, white to brown when mature.
Chlamydospores: X to X μm, irregular in shape, often described as “star-shaped”
Star shaped chlamydospores
Irregular vein like gills
Mature Asterophora lycoperdoides with powdery caps
Immature Asterophora lycoperdoides
Asterophora lycoperdoides (MushroomExpert.Com). Available at: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/asterophora_lycoperdoides.html [Accessed October 5, 2016].
Asterophora lycoperdoides, the star bearing powder cap mushroom Tom Volk’s Fungus of the Month for December 2005. Available at: http://botit.botany.wisc.edu/toms_fungi/dec2005.html [Accessed October 5, 2016].
Laaser, G., Jahnke, K.-D., Prillinger, H., Bauer, R., Hoffmann, P., Deml, G., and Oberwinkler, F. A new tremelloid yeast isolated from Asterophora lycoperdoides (Bull.: Fr.) ditm. Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek. 54:57–74
Prillinger, H., Lopandic, K., Sugita, T., and Wuczkowski, M. 2007. Asterotremella gen. nov. albida, an anamorphic tremelloid yeast isolated from the agarics Asterophora lycoperdoides and Asterophora parasitica. J. Gen. Appl. Microbiol. 53:167–17510.07.16