Parasola auricoma

Parasola auricoma (Pat.) Redhead, Vilgalys & Hopple is a small, short-lived, fragile, saprobic mushroom that is common in woodlands, mulch, and grassy areas. This fungus was previously classified as Coprinus auricomus in 1886 by Narcisse Théophile Patouillard, but like many fungi, it has been reclassified due to the development of molecular techniques. In 2001, the Coprinus genus was split into three monophyletic genera, Coprinopsis, Coprinellus, and Parasola.

Figure 1. Habitat (A) and close up (B) of inky-cap species Parasola auricoma

Mushrooms in the Parasola genus have large ridges on the top of the cap, along with a central “eye” that is often dark brown or orange-brown (Fig. 1). These fungi produce heavy black spore prints, giving them the “inky” reputation. P. auricoma has a few inky-cap look-alikes, but can be distinguished from other species using a few macro and microscopic features. Examining the connection between gills and stipe provides a macroscopic distinction, as P. auricoma gills connect directly to the stipe (adnate or adnexed, Fig. 2) while P. plicatilis gills do not (free). In addition, young P. auricoma mushrooms have orange-brown caps (Fig. 3) that develop into the pleated grey-brown mature cap, while young mushrooms of the look-alike species P. plicatilis are lighter in color, either off-white or yellow-orange. Microscopically, both produce black spore prints but the shapes of the spores have obvious differences. P. auricoma has oval-shaped spores with rounded edges (Fig. 3) while P. plicatilis has oval-shaped spores with points, shaped like a lemon (limoniform) or tear-drop.

Figure 2. Macroscopic features of Parasola auricoma featuring orange-brown cap with eye (A), white, hollow stipe (B), and attached intermediate gills (C).

Figure 3. Various life stages of Parasola auricoma for collection (A), and dark brown basidiospores (B) with an oval shape and rounded edges (C).

Phylum: Basidiomycota
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Agaricales
Family: Psathyrellaceae
Genus: Parasola
Species: auricoma
Collection Number: PLP847_2018_104

Drake, A. Parasola auricoma (Pat.) Redhead, Vilgalys & Hopple. First Nature.

Kuo, M. (2011, June). Parasola auricoma. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site:


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