Category Archives: Collections Blog

Suillus luteus

Suillus luteus (L.) Roussel (1796) Phylum: BasidiomycotaClass: AgaicomycetesOrder: BoletalesFamily: SuillaceaeGenus: SuillusEpithet: luteusAuthority: (Pers.) Fr.Collection #: PLB847_2018_412Locale: East Lansing, Michigan Suillus luteus, “The Slippery Jack”, is the type species for Suillus. This mycorrhizal mushroom is found under conifers and is an early colonizer. Tolerant of low pH soils and low nutrient availability, S. luteus, increases theais considered […]

Lactarius deliciosus

Phylum: BasidioycotaClass: AgaricomycetesOrder: RussulalesFamily: RussulaceaeGenus: LactariusSpecies: deliciosusAuthority: (L. ex Fr.) S.F. Gray(1821)Collection #:PLB847_2018_Locale: Okemos, Michigan Lactarius deliciosus is widely distributed and collected as food. This species name actually refers to a group of separate species. After genetic analysis it was determined that the European and American species were not the same. The species complex vary […]

Chroogomphus rutilus

Chroogomphus rutilus (Schaeff.) O.K.Mill. (1964) Phylum: BasidiomycotaClass: AgaricomycetesOrder: BoletalesFamily: GomphidiaceaeGenus: Chroogomphus Epithet: rutilusAuthority: (Schaeff.) O.K.Mill. (1964)Collection #: PLP847_2018_448Locale: Proud lake, Oakland County, Michigan This mycorrhizal fungus commonly called “pine spike” is found underneath pine. 

Chalciporus piperatus

Chalciporus piperatus (Bull.) Bataille (1908) Phylum: BasidiomycotaClass: AgaricomycetesOrder: BoletalesFamily: BoletaceaeGenus: ChalciporusSpecies: piperatusAuthority: (Bull.) Bataille (1908)Collection #: PLP847_2018_411Locale: Frye st, East Lansing, Michigan This small bolete can be observed amongst Amanita muscaria, possibly parasitizing the mycorrhizal relationship it has with the host tree. It is widely distributed under coniferous trees in North America. The orange-brown cap […]

Climacodon septentrionalis

Climacodon septentrionalis (Fries) P. Karsten Phylum: Basidiomycota Class: Agaricomycetes Order: Polyporales Family: Meruliaceae Genus: Climacodon Species: septentrionalis Climacodon septentrionale is exciting to see because it is extremely large and in clusters on the tree bark (Figure 1). Unfortunately it is a plant pathogen that attacks the central heartwood in maple and sugar maple trees causing it to […]

Panellus serotinus

Panellus serotinus (Persoon) Phylum – Basidiomycota Class: Agaricomycetes Order: Agaricales Family: Mycenaceae Genus: Panellus Species: serotinus Panellus serotinus is considered a late fall oyster, growing October through December. In Japan it is a highly valuable mushroom called mukitake.  It grows throughout the United States usually found growing on downed hardwood or conifer logs and overlapping. The cap is 3-10 […]

Macrolepiota procera

Macrolepiota procera (Scopoli) Singer P Phylum: Basidiomycota Class: Agaricomycetes Order:Agaricales Family: Agaricaceae Genus:Macrolepiota Species:procera Collection #:PLP_2018_291 Location:Charlevoix, MI Macrolepiota procera is found throughout the United States and Europe and is edible. Be on the lookout, it grows under conifers or hardwoods, and along footpaths or in open woods. Macrolepiota procera looks like an umbrella and […]

Gymnopilus luteus

Gymnopilus luteus (Peck) Hesler Phylum: BasidiomycotaClass: AgaricomycetesOrder: AgaricalesFamily: CortinariaceaeGenus: GymnopilusSpecies: luteus Authority: (Peck) HeslerCollection #: PLP847_2018_217Locale: Eaton Rapids, MI This large saprobic mushroom is a pleasant sight growing from rotting logs in the latter days of summer during walks through hardwood forests. The light yellow to brown caps contrast well with their environment and can make […]

Sarcodon scabrosus

Sarcodon scabrosus (Fries) P. Karsten Phylum: BasidiomycotaClass: AgaricomycetesOrder: ThelephoralesFamily: BankeraceaeGenus: SarcodonSpecies: scabrosusAuthority: (Fries) P. KarstenCollection #: PLP847_2018_212Locale: Dansville, MI      This mycorrhizal fungus is often found growing among hardwoods such as oak and beech trees, and coniferous trees such as pine. The distinctive toothed underside of the mushroom is where brown spores ranging from 5-7.5µm are […]

Syzygites megalocarpus

Syzygites megalocarpus (Ehrenberg) Phylum: MucoromycotaClass: MucoromycetesOrder: MucoralesFamily: MucoraceaeGenus: SyzygitesSpecies: megalocarpusAuthority: EhrenbergCollection #: PLP847_2018_216Locale: Rives Junction, MI This fuzzy parasitic fungus has been documented growing on over 65 different species of mushroom (Kuo, Syzygites Megalocarpus, n.d.). Occasionally called the Troll-Doll fungus, S. Megalocarpus forms long strands of hyphae prior to forming dichotomously branching sporangiophores which terminate with […]

Tuber floridanum

Tuber floridanum (Grupe, et al. 2018) Phylum: AscomycotaClass: PezizomycetesOrder: PezizalesFamily: TuberaceaeGenus: TuberSpecies: floridanumAuthority: Grupe, et. al. (2018)Collection #: PLP847_2018_215Locale: Eaton Rapids, MI       This recently described truffle was found scattered amongst an oak-dominated forest from mid-Summer through late Fall when the first frosts began to set into the landscape of Mid-Michigan. Formerly known only […]

Cortinarius iodes

Cortinarius iodes (Berkeley & M.A. Curtis) Phylum: BasidiomycotaClass: AgaricomycetesOrder: AgaricalesFamily: CortinariaceaeGenus: CortinariusSpecies: iodesAuthority: Berkeley & M.A. CurtisCollection #: PLP847_2018_211Locale: Dansville, MI   Figure 1: a) Top view showing the spotted appearance of the pileus. b) Side view showing the convex shape and viscous texture of the pileus. c) Habitat surrounding this collection. d) Gill spacing distant and attachment is […]

Pleurotus pulmonarius

Pleurotus pulmonarius (Fr.) Quél. (1872) Phylum:  Basidiomycota Class:  Agaricomycotina Order:  Agaricomycetes Family:  Pleurotaceae Genus: Pleurotus   Species:  pulmonarius     Pleurotus pulmonarius, commonly known as the Indian Oyster, Italian Oyster, Phoenix Mushroom, or the Lung Oyster, is a mushroom very similar to Pleurotus ostreatus, the pearl oyster, but with a few noticeable differences. The caps of P. pulmonarius are much paler and smaller than ostreatus and […]

Helvella crispa

 Helvella crispa (Scop.) Fr. (1822) Phylum:  Ascomycota Class: Pezizomycetes Order: Pezizales Family: Helvellaceae Genus: Helvella Species: crispa   Helvella crispa, also known as the white saddle, elfin saddle or common helvel, is an ascomycete fungus of the Helvellaceae family. The mushroom is readily identified by its irregularly shaped whitish cap, fluted stem, and fuzzy undersurfaces. It is found in eastern North America and in Europe, near deciduous trees in summer and […]

Rhytisma acerinum

Phylum: Ascomycota Class: Leotiomycetes Order: Rhytismales Family: Rhytismataceae Genus: Rhytisma Epithet: acerinum Authority: (Pers.) Fr. Collection #: PLP847_2018_175 Locale: Jackson County, Michigan   Tar spot of maple is a common sight in Michigan. It can be recognized by black spots on the leaves of Maple trees that have the appearance of tar (thus the common […]

Podosphaera erigerontis-canadensis

Phylum: Ascomycoya Class: Leotiomycetes Order: Erysiphales Family: Erysiphaceae Genus: Podosphaera Epithet: erigerontis-canadensis Authority: (Lev) U. Braun & T.Z. Liu Collection #: PLP847_2018_174 Locale: Ingham County, Michigan Powdery mildews are caused by fungi in the order Erysiphales, which contains only a single family, Erysiphaceae. An estimated 7600 plant species are affected by the nearly 700 species […]

Ropalospora chlorantha

Ropalospora chlorantha   The needle like spores, although few and far between, are within the fruiting bodies. This lichen grows on a rock. Cuz it’s awesome, lichens can also grow on metal structures, they’re coming for us. Lichen grow on a variety of substrate, they don’t really care and people can use them as decoration […]

Leucoagaricus americanus

Leucoagaricus americanus This is a saprotrophic fungi that is often found in wood chips, suffice to say this is found in human landscaped areas. Mushroom expert .com says it can be found in forested areas “acting like it belongs there.” This particular specimen was found growing in an adorable clump outside of a Mcdonalds, it […]

Uncinula necator( syn. Erysiphe necator)

Uncinula necator( syn. Erysiphe necator)   Within the chasmothica of this fungi is a bunch of asci, and in the asci there are many spores. This pathogen is a biotrophic fungi, that cannot live without the host. The leaves of the infected plant will be covered with white powder that is the fungi’s hyphae, the […]

Stereum ostrea

Stereum ostrea PLP847_2018_4 One of the false turkey tails. It resembles the ‘True turkey tail fungi’  Trametes versicolor, in that the cap is covered with algae and it grows horizontally out of rotting wood. This species and it’s very close look alike Stereum hirsutum can be distinguished by the size of the cap. S. ostrea has […]

Arcyria denudate

Arcyria denudate Carnival Candy Slime Mold   Since slime molds (moulds) were once considered fungi, but are now not because they were discovered to be so much cooler, I wanted to include this one in my collection. These little fellows form spores that hatch into ameba that will go and eat decomposers, bacteria and other […]

Amanita citrina

Phylum: Basidomycota Class: Agaricomycetes Order: Agaricales Family: Amanitaceae Genus: Amanita Epithet: citrina Authority: Pers. Collection #: PLP847_2018_171 Locale: Schoolcraft County, Michigan Amanita citrina is known as the false death cap because of its resemblance to the lethal Amanita phalloides. Although A. citrina is not poisonous, its similarity to A. phalloides prohibits it from being considered […]

Entoloma majaloides

The genus Entoloma is a diverse group of over 1000 species. Entoloma majaloides P.D. Orton is difficult to identify, as it shares the pale brown, shiny cap and angular spores of several other species. Literature on this genus is complex and generally disorganized. To my knowledge, there is no data regarding the distribution other than “rarely […]

Pholiota alnicola

Pholiota alnicola (Fries) Singer is a widely distributed saprophyte found on hardwoods and conifers throughout North America. This species is a bit of an outcast compared to the majority of Pholiota, belonging to the subgenus Flammula. Unlike most others, P. alnicola lacks the characteristic pleurocystidia and scales on its cap. The dull yellow mushroom has a convex cap measuring […]

Amanita muscaria var. formosa

Amanita muscaria var. Formosa (Gonn. & Rabenh.) Sacc. Ecology and Morphology: Amanita muscaria var. Formosa (Gonn. & Rabenh.) Sacc. is an ectomycorrhizal fungi that frequently forms associations with hardwoods (beech, maple, oak) and conifers such as pine. This variety of Amanita muscaria has a yellow to orange cap on which pieces of the universal veil […]

Phyllotopsis nidulans

Phyllotopsis nidulans (Pers.) Singer Ecology and Morphology:  Phyllotopsis nidulans (Pers.) Singer, is a saprobic fungus that typically grows in overlapping clusters on recently dead trees. These fungi look very similar to Pleurotus ostreatus at first glance as both have a shell shaped basidiocarp, the margin of the fruiting body is curled towards the gills and […]

Clavaria fragilis

Clavaria fragilis (Holmskjord) Fries (syn = Clavaria vermicularis) Ecology and Morphology: Clavaria fragilis (Holmskjord) Fries (syn = Clavaria vermicularis), also known as fairy fingers or white worm coral, is a saprobic coral fungi that can be commonly found on the forest floor  (Figure 1). Fruiting bodies grow in clusters, are unbranched and are slightly tan […]

Inonotus obliquus

Inonotus obliquus Taxonomy Kingdom:  Fungi Division:  Basidiomycota Class: Agaricomycetes Order:  Hymenochaetales Family:  Hymenochaetaceae Genus: Inonotus Species: Inontus obliquus   Inonotus obliquus  (Acharius ex. Persoon) grows throughout the year mainly on birch trees. It is a parasitic fungus.  The spores enter under the bark then germinate and form hyphae. Eventually the hyphae grow in size and […]

Laccaria Ochropurpurea (Berkeley) Peck

Laccaria Ochropurpurea is a mycorrhizal basidiomycete with hardwoods and conifer, and is usually found growing alone. One of the key distinguishing features is the distinct purple color of the gills which is in contrast to the white cap(Fig. 1). Laccaria amethystina  has gills that have a similar dark purple color, but the cap is also purple. The […]

Cyathus Striatus (Hudson) Wildenow

Taxonomy: Phylum: Basidiomycota Class: Agaricomycetes Order: Agaricales Family: Nidulariaceae Cyathus Striatus is a saprobic basidiomycete that grows on decaying forest litter or on wood chips. It is widely distributed and can be commonly found in urban areas due to its ability to grow on wood chips. the species was first described by William Hudson in […]

Marasmius Siccus (Schweinitz) Fries

Taxonomy: Phylum: Basidiomycota Class: Agaricomyctes Order: Agaricales Family: Marasmiaceae Marasmius siccus is a small, saprobic basidiomycete mushroom which can be found growing in groups on leaf litter or on dead hardwoods. The species has a large geographical distribution and can essentially be found coast to coast in the United States.  This species can be distinguished from […]

Otidea onotica

Otidea onotica (Pers.) Fuckel is a small, yellow cup fungus found often near packed-down paths in forests, originally thought to be in the genus Peziza. Characteristically, these cups have a split down one side, lending the characteristic to it’s common names of “rabbit’s ear fungus” and “lemon peel fungus” (Fig 1). The cups are usually […]

Punctelia rudecta

Punctelia rudecta (Ach) Krog is a common blue-green foliose lichen found on hardwood trees and bark in eastern North America (Fig 1, 2). This species is easily identified by the light underside of the thallus, the relatively large lobes at the edges of the colony, and the small white pores present on the top of the […]

Hymenopellis radicata

Hymenopellis radicata (Relhan) R.H. Petersen is a mushroom that has gone through many names over time, but is currently known as H. radicata. This mushrooms is from a group of mushrooms referred to as Xeruloid mushrooms, which are commonly found around tree stumps as saprotrophs, and species are widespread through North America. They feature a long […]

Gymnopus dryophilus and Syzygospora mycetophila

Gymnopus dryophilus (Bull.) Murrill is a common mushroom with very common features. It has a tannish-brown cap, white gills, reddish-brown stipe, and produces a white spore print. Honestly, kind of a boring mushroom. (A) Habitat photo for G. dryophilus. (B) Reddish-brown stipe and white gills of G. dryophilus. (C) Brown cap and white spore print of […]

Gyroporus castaneus

Gyroporus castaneus (Bulliard) Quélet is a bolete commonly found in North America, and in Michigan in hardwood forests. It’s called the “chestnut bolete” because of the chestnut brown color of the cap, but is white just below the surface. The pore surface is a pale yellow and does not change colors when bruised or cut. The […]

Bjerkandera adusta

Bjerkandera adusta (Willd.) P.Karst. is a shelfed polypore mushroom that has a velvety, snow-white cap surface when young, becoming smooth and off-white as it ages. It is commonly called the “smoky polypore” because of the dark grey pore surface, though it also has distinct brown regions on the pore surface too. The spore print is white, […]

Russula emetica

Russula emetica Taxonomy: Kingdom:        Fungi Division:         Basidiomycota Class:             Agaricomycetes Order:             Russulales Family:            Russulaceae Genus:             Russula Species:           R. emetica     Russula emetica (R.H. Petersen) (Basidiomycota, Russulaceae), also called “the sickener”, which is an apt term, as ingestion of this mushroom can lead to severe gastrointestinal upset. R. emetica […]

Pycnoporus cinnabarinus

Pycnoporus cinnabarinus (Jacquin) Karsten Taxonomy: Kingdom:        Fungi Division:         Basidiomycota Class:             Agaricomycetes Order:             Polyporales Family:            Polyporaceae Genus:             Pycnoporus Species:           P. cinnabarinus    Pycnoporus cinnebarinus (Jacquin) Karsten (Basidiomycota, Polyporaceae) is very widespread in North America and most commonly found on dead hardwoods. This fungus us a saprotroph and will cause […]

Schizophyllum commune (Fries)

Schizophyllum commune (Fries) Taxonomy: Kingdom:        Fungi Division:         Basidiomycota Class:             Agaricomycetes Order:             Agaricales Family:            Schizophyllaceae Genus:             Schizophyllum Species:           S. commune Schizophyllum commune (Fries) (Basidiomycota, Schizophyllaceae) grows throughout the spring, summer, and fall months in most climates and is most commonly found colonizing dead and decaying hardwood material. This fungus […]

Craterellus ignicolor

Craterellus ignicolor (R.H. Petersen) Taxonomy: Kingdom:        Fungi Division:         Basidiomycota Class:             Agaricomycetes Order:             Cantharellales Family:            Cantharellaceae Genus:             Craterellus Species:           C. ignicolor               Craterellus ignicolor (R.H. Petersen) (Basidiomycota, Chantharellaceae) most often grows in areas with significant shade and in amongst moss in coniferous or […]

Laccaria bicolor

In 2008, Laccaria bicolor (Maire) P.D. Orton was the first gilled mushroom to have its entire genome sequenced. Sequencing showed that the fungus was releasing small effector-type proteins, likely prompting the reorganization of tree root cells (Martin et al. 2008). It has since served as a model ectomycorrhizal species seen in association with pine, fir, […]

Mutinus elegans

Mutinus elegans (Montagne) E. Fischer is a member of the stinkhorn group of mushrooms, which are similar in appearance and stench bu are in two separate genera. These mushrooms are distinct from the genus Phallus due to the lack of a separate, distinct cap (Fig 1). There are many common names that all reference M. […]

Fungus is fashionable

    In the past stone wash jeans were actually made with pumice stones. There were many drawbacks to using stones which include damage to the fabric and costs associated with the machinery used.  It is now done by biostoning with the fungus Trichoderma reesei . The fungus produces cellulolytic enzymes that helps degrade the cotton material.  The […]

Pholiota limonella

Pholiota limonella (Peck) Sacc., PLP847_2018_595 P. limonella is a gilled, saprobic mushroom found growing gregariously on logs. When I found it, these mushrooms were profusely slimy, even after donating some to its sample bag and to all the curious observers. This species was originally place in Agaricus by Peck in 1878, and has numerous synonyms […]

Clitocybe nuda

Clitocybe nuda (Bull.) H.E. Bigelow & A.H. Sm., Blewit, PLP847_2018_359 Clitocybe nuda, a common saprobic mushroom growing on duff or woodchips, is a desired edible. It it characterized by a faint lilac or purple color and a light brown spore print. This species has previously been placed in 6 other genera (Agaricus (Bull. 1790), Cortinarius […]

Lactifluus hygrophoroides

Lactifluus hygrophoroides (Berk. & M.A. Curtis) Kuntze Formerly belonging to the Lactarius genus, this species was moved to Lactifluus subg. Lactifluus (autonymous) in 2012. L. hygrophoroides can be recognized via a velvety pale orange cap/stipe, white non-staining latex (as opposed to Lactarius volemus, which looks similar but stains brown), and spaced gills. The cap of this mushroom ranges from 3-10 cm, […]

Cantharellus cinnabarinus

Cantharellus cinnabarinus (Schwein.) Schwein.   The red chanterelle, native to eastern North America, has a wide distribution. Found scattered or alone in summer and fall, it is easily recognized by its flamingo pink to cinnabar red pigments and well-spaced decurrent false gills. This species contains multiple carotenoids, but the most prominent is canthaxanthin. This phytochemical is common […]

Suillus americanus

Suillus americanus (Peck) Snell, Chicken Fat Mushroom, PLP847_2018_351 S. americanus is a bolete found in eastern North American and is mycorrhizal with white pines, especially Pinus strobus. It was formerly called Boletus americanus Peck (1887), Ixocomus americanus (Peck) E.-J. Gilbert (1931), and Suillus americanus f. americanus (Peck) Snell (1944). This specimen cluster was located about […]

Pholiota squarrosa (Vahl) P. Kumm.

Phylum: Basidomycota Class: Agaricomycetes Order: Agaricales Family: Strophariacaea Genus: Pholiota Epithet: squarrosa Authority: (Vahl) P. Kumm. Collection #: PLP847_2018_172 Locale: Schoolcraft County, Michigan Pholiota squarrosa, known as the shaggy scalycap or shaggy Pholiota, is the type species for the genus Pholiota. The genus name is derived from the Greek word Pholis, meaning ‘a scale,’ and […]

Xylaria Polymorpha

Taxonomy Domain: Ascomycota Class: Sordariomycetes Order: Xylariales Family: Xylariaceae Genus: Xylaria Species: Polymorpha Xylaria Polymorpha(Persoon) is a saprobic ascomycete that is commonly known as deadman’s fingers(1). It is commonly found growing at the base of decaying hardwoods or beech trees. This species of Xylaria is very similar at first glance to Xylaria Longpipes, but can be distinguished by the absence […]

Phyllachora maydis

Phyllachora maydis (Maublanc) Ecology and Morphology: Phyllachora maydis (Maubl.) is an obligate parasite of Corn (Zea mays) that was reported in Michigan for the first time in 2016. The Phyllachora genus contains many tarspot causing fungi, but P. maydis is the only pathogen capable of causing tarspot on corn.  P. maydis is considered a new and […]

Hypomyces chrysospermus

Hypomyces chrysospermus (Tul. & C. Tul.) Ecology and Morphology: Hypomyces chrysospermus is a parasitic fungal species that primarily infects Bolete fungi. Numerous Boletes within a given area can be infected and appear completely white. H. chrysospermus completely covers infected mushrooms with floccose hyphae, causing them to appear completely white in its early infection. However, later […]

Bondarzewia berkeleyi

Bondarzewia berkeleyi (Fr.) Bondartsev & Singer, Berkley’s Polypore, PLP847_2018_128 B. berkeleyi has been historically classified as a polypore, but with the advent of molecular techniques, it was revealed to be more closely related to Russala than the polypores (Hibbett and Donoghue 1995). Previous names used for B. berkeleyi have included: Polyporus berkeleyi Fr. (1851), Grifola […]

Claviceps purpurea

Claviceps purpurea (Fr.) Tul., Ergot Fungus, PLP847_2018_127 C. purpurea is a parasite of grasses in the subfamily Pooidae, and was found on Elymus repens in East Lansing, MI. C. purpurea produces dark purple to brown sclerotia which grow in infected ovarian tissue of the host grass. The fungus infects through the stigma and begins growing in […]

Phallus Ravenelii

Taxonomy: Phylum: Basidiomycota Class:Agaricomycetes Order: Phallales Family: Phallaceae Genus: Phallus Species: Ravenelii  Phallus Ravenelii (Berkeley & M.A. Curtis) is a saprobic basidiomycete of the genus Phallus that can be found growing in various habitats. The habitats in which it may be found range from areas such as lawns and gardens to woodchips and meadows. The […]

Leucocoprinus birnbaumii

Leucocoprinus birnbaumii (Corda) Singer (1962) is a common mushroom in flowerpots (Fig 1). It is a saprobe that colonizes rich organic material, including indoor flowerpots. The cap begins as an egg-shaped ball, which grows into a bell-shaped cap, often ornamented with scales. The bright yellow color makes this mushroom easily identifiable, but the cap will […]

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 […]

Ustilago maydis

Ustilago maydis (DeCandolle) Corda is a biotrophic pathogen of corn (Zea mays). It is called “common smut” of corn because it is quite common throughout North America, though it is more commonly found in dry conditions. Other Ustilago spp. cause smut on other plants, but U. maydis is the only species that causes smut on corn, […]

Hypomyces lactifluorum

Hypomyces lactifluorum (Schweinitz) Tulasne and C. Tulasne Ecology and Morphology: Hypomyces lactifluorum is a mycoparasite on select Lactarius and Russula species growing amidst both conifers and hardwoods and can most often be found in the summer and fall months. This fungus will completely cover its host with orange perithecia, giving it a rough, warty appearance […]

Collections Blog

Macroscopic (field photos) of fungus & habitat Species ID & Collection number Microscopic image (spores, any other key characters) Habitat description Phylogeny & taxonomy Macroscopic characters Microscopic characters  Chemical reactions Ecology Other notes Citations & Relevant literature 

Astraeus hygrometricus

Astraeus hygrometricus is commonly known as the hygroscopic earthstar or the false earthstar.   Ecology: Commonly found in open or disturbed areas in woodlands; scattered to gregarious. Fruits from late fall to mid-winter but persisting in good condition for up to a year.  Not edible. Distributed in America and Europe. Morphology Fruit body: 1–5cm broad, […]

Trametes hirsuta

  Ecology: Saprobic on the deadwood of hardwoods (very rarely reported on conifer wood); annual; causing a white rot; growing in clusters on logs and stumps; summer and fall; widely distributed across North America.   Morphology   Cap: Up to 10 cm across and 6 cm deep; semicircular, irregularly bracket-shaped, or kidney-shaped; often fusing laterally […]

Chlorophyllum rhacodes

  Ecology: Saprobic; typically growing in troops or fairy rings in disturbed-ground areas like roadsides, gardens, and the edges of fields. Often near conifers. C. rhacodes fruits in fall and it is widely distributed.   Morphology Cap: 5-20 cm; dry; convex to nearly round when young, becoming flat or very broadly bell-shaped; at first bald […]

Stropharia rugosoannulata

Stropharia rugosoannulata collected in Michigan State University gardens. Ecology and relevance to society: Saprobic, often growing scattered (sometimes in clusters) on wood chips, in gardens and in other cultivated areas. S. rugosoannulata fruits in spring through fall and it is widely distributed. The wine capped form is edible and good, however, edibility for the white form […]

Mortierella exigua

Zygomycetes are an interesting group of fungi that have recently undergone a large reclassification (Spatafora et al. 2016). They do not produce large fruiting bodies, so they are often overlooked by your average mushroom hunter. However, zygomycetes like the Mortierella spp. (Figure 1) are often well represented in soil assays of fungal diversity. They also grow […]

Entoloma abortivum

Entoloma abortivum (Berk. & M.A. Curtis) Donk, also known as shrimp-of-the-woods, is mushroom in the family Entolomataceae (Figure 1). First described in 1859 as Agaracis abortivus by Berkeley and Curtis, E. abortivum has undergone many renamings over the years, though it still bears the name of the original describer today since its last renaming in 1949 by M.A. […]

Physcia sp.

Physcia species are lichenized fungi belonging to the family Physciaceae. According to an estimate made in 2008, the genus contains about 70 species. At the macroscopic level, the thallus of these species can be foliose, small and adpressed, with a greenish-brown color that can coalesce to cover large areas. The lower surface is normally white […]

Bisporella citrina

Kingdom: Fungi Phylum: Ascomycota Class: Leotiomycetes Order: Helotiales Family: Helotiaceae Genus: Bisporella species: citrina Description: Bisporella citrina, otherwise known as “yellow fairy cups” is a saprobic species, part of the Ascomycota. It usually grows on wet decaying conifer logs, in large clusters, and has characteristic yellow to orange apothecia. The fruiting body (apothecia) is very […]

Calvatia gigantea

Kingdom: Fungi Phyla: Basidiomycota Class: Agaricomycetes Order: Agaricales Family: Agaricaceae Genus: Calvatia Species: C. gigantea Description: Calvatia gigantea known as a giant puffball can be easily identified by its giant size. Large hemispherical fruiting body is very similar to ball. It is one of the largest fungi in the world. The largest giant puffball weighted […]

Erysiphe alphitoides 

  Erysiphe alphitoides is a species of fungus which causes powdery mildew on oak trees. The fungus can be easily recognized trough the distinctive disease symptoms. It produces white powdery patches on shoots and buds of oaks. The disease progresses to form a felt-like, white mildew growth. Large portions of the plant, especially leaves, may […]

Cladonia cristatella

Kingdom: Fungi Phyla: Ascomycota Class: Lecanoromycetes Order: Lecanorales Family: Cladoniaceae Genus: Cladonia Species: C. cristatella     Description: Cladonia cristatella is very common and well-known lichen. It is found in most northeastern part of the USA and Canada. The little caps that on top of the lichen resemble the red hats that was worn during […]

Lyophyllum decastes

Kingdom: Fungi Phyla: Basidiomycota Class: Agaricomycetes Order: Agaricales Family: Lypohyllaceae Genus: Lyophyllum Species: L. decastes Description: Lyophyllum decastes usually known as the fried chicken mushroom. It is an edible species and in grows in clusters on disturbed ground areas. L. decastes was found in East Lansing in the wood chips and leaves. It was grown in […]

Daedaleopsis confragosa

These corky or leathery polypores can be differentiated by the configuration of their spore-proucing surface. In Daedaleopsis (derived from the Greek word Daedalus, meaning “maze”) the pores are usually long and sinuous or mazelike and have relatively few cross walls. However, the configuration varies considerably leading to confusions with numerous other polypores. The fruiting body […]

Stereum hirsutum

Stereum hirsutum is a hardwood-loving crust fungus that is often confused with Trametes versicolor (Turkey Tail). It is classified as: Basidiomycota > Agaricomycetes > Russulales > Stereaceae > Stereum > hirsutum. It develops medium-sized cap structures that often fuse laterally with one another. It is smaller and more frequently fused than S. ostrea, larger and less orange than S. […]

Monilinia vaccinii-corymbosi

Monilinia vaccinii-corymbosici, also known as the fungus causing mummy berry, replaces blueberry fruit with a fungal pseudosclerotium, causing massive crop loss. It is an ascomycete pathogen The earliest symptom is wilting of leaves. Newly-formed pinkish leaves turn rosy brown, and sometimes develop a sheperd’s crook or curl. There is a severe wilting of vegetative and […]

Tapinella atrotomentosa

Figure 1. A group of Tapinella atrotomentosa growing at the base of a conifer tree. (left) the cap color and size. (right) gills and brown folded margins. Tapinella atrotomentosa is a saprotroph of conifers belonging to the Boletales order. It is often confused with Paxillus, but the two genera have different ecology. Paxillus is ectomychorizal […]

Peziza michelii

Peziza michelii is a saprobic (maybe mycorrhizal) ascomycete. It was first described by Dennis et al. in British cup fungi and their allies: An introduction to the ascomycetes (pages 1-280) in 1960. It is classified into: Fungi > Ascomycota > Pezizomycotina > Pezizomycetes > Pezizomycetidae > Pezizaceae > Peziza > mechelii. It grows alone or in […]

Trametes pubescens

Trametes pubescens (Schumach.) Pilat (1939) is a small, thin polypore bracket fungus. It was first decribed by Danish mycologist Heinrich Christian Friedrich Schumacher in 1803, and was originally called Boletus pubescens. It was moved to the genus Trametes in 1939 by Czech mycologist Albert Pilat. Tram- mens thin and pubescens is a reference to the fine downy hairs on teh […]

Ganoderma applanatum (Pers.) Pat.

Ganoderma applanatum, AKA the artist’s conk, is widespread through North America. These polypores are known for their white spore surface that turns brown with pressure, and many people (or nature lovers, including myself) have one hanging around the house as decoration. Figure 1: Discolored, very old, decorated conk of Ganoderma applanatum from Southwest Virginia. The original […]

Amanita muscaria (L.) Lam. (1783)

“Look! It’s a Mario mushroom!” Said every person who played any Mario game ever when observing an Amanita muscaria mushroom for the first time. Also known as the fly agaric, this mushroom has been detailed throughout human history and is arguably the most iconic mushroom in pop culture. The reason it is a popular mushroom, besides […]

Trametes versicolor (L.) Lloyd (1920)

Where do turkeys get their tails? They must have copied the fabulous turkey tail polypore! Trametes versicolor, which is better known as turkey tail, is a common, colorful saprophyte that can be seen around forests all over North America. This fungus is a saprophyte, meaning it gets its nourishment from dead tissue; in this case […]

Cyathus stercoreus

This birds nest fungi is also known as “Dung-loving Bird’s nest fungus”, although luckily this sample was found in mulch not dung. The species name stercoreus, translates to “filth” in latin. This saprobe is widely distributed in North America and commonly found on wood chips, organic debris, and dung. I found this specimen in mid-November […]

Puccinia striiformis f. Sp. tritici: Stripe Rust

This summer the wheat fields found in the southern end of MSU’s campus weren’t as green as usual. Stripe rust, Puccinia striiformis f. Sp. tritici had infected most of the plots leaving a yellow tinge to the field. This year stripe rust was much worse than usual in Michigan, perhaps due to environmental conditions that […]

Marasmius oreades

Kingdom: Fungi Phyla: Basidiomycota Class: Agaricomycetes Order: Agaricales Family: Marasmiaceae Genus: Marasmius Species: M. oreades (Bolton) Fr (1836) Description: Common name of this mushroom is “fairy ring mushroom” since it frequently fruits in ring patterns on grass and lawn places. An English naturalist James Bolton first described this mushroom in 1792. But then, Elias Magnus […]

Hebeloma crustuliniforme

This fungus is nick-named “poison pie” because despite its enticing appearance, it can cause sever gastrointestinal disturbances. This fungus can be mycorrhizal on both hardwoods and conifers, and is widely distributed in North America. The mushroom can fruit in late summer or fall. This specimen was found in mulch in the MSU horticulture gardens in […]

Piptoporus betulinus (Bull.) P. Karst

This fungus is commonly known as the birch polypore, from the growing on declining birch trees. Piptoporus betulinus is considered a parasite on living birch trees, but transitions to a saprophyte after the tree dies. Upon birch trees, you will find brown to grey spherical caps that are 10-25 cm in diameter and 2-6 cm […]

Scutellinia scutellata (Linnaeus) Lambotte

Taxonomic placement: Scutellinia scutellata (Ascomycota, Pezizomycetes, Pesizales, Pyronemataceae) is a saprobic cup fungus that grows on very wet wood that had already been colonized by other decomposers (Kuo & Methven, 2014). It enjoys a widespread distribution throughout North America (Arora; Kuo & Methven, 2014), but has also been reported from South America (Tabon, 1991), Africa […]

Xanthomendoza fallax – Hooded Sunburst Lichen

Xanthomendoza fallax (Hepp ex Arn.) Soechting, KSrnefelt & S. Kontratyuk. X. fallax is classified as: Ascomycota > Pezizomycotina >Lecanoromycetes > Lecanoromycetidae > Teloschistales > Teloschistaceae > Xanthomendoza > fallax X. fallax is characterized by the bird nest soralia, wich are formed when the upper and lower cortex split and separate. Crescent-shaped opening then explode the soredia […]

Lycoperdon pyriforme Schaeffer

Habitat and distribution: The stump puffball (Lycoperdon pyriforme) grows commonly throughout the global temperate zone and less frequently in the tropics ( it grows on rotting hardwoods and conifers, producing fruiting bodies from spring through fall (Kuo & Methven, 2014). I found this specimen on a fallen beech log in the Baker woodlot on the […]

Crucibulum laeve (Hudson) Kambly

The common bird’s nest fungus Crucibulum lavae (Basidiomycota, Agaricomycetes, Agaricales, Agaricaceae) is a common sighting on the MSU campus. It often grows on the woodchips that line flower beds all over campus, and are commonly found throughout the world in temperate and tropical climates. I found these specimens living on woodchips in a flower bed […]

Daldinia concentrica (Bolton) Ces. & De Not.

This fungus is a unique ascomycete, from its inconspicuous coal looking fruiting bodies. Yet these unassuming brown to black stroma are anything but unassuming. Instead they are a perennial structure that can grow up to 8 cm across (Figure 1). You will find these structures growing saprotrophically on dead or decomposing ash trees, which in […]

Hericium coralloides (Scopoli) Persoon

Habitat and distribution: The coral tooth fungus (Hericium coralloides), is common throughout the global temperate zone and less frequent in the tropics ( It grows on rotting hardwood (Arora, 1976), and produces fruiting bodies from late summer to fall (Kuo & Methven, 2014). I found this specimen on a fallen maple log in early October […]

Fusarium virguliforme

Primarily known as the causal agent of soybean sudden death (SDS) in the United States, Fusarium virguliforme (O’Donnell & Aoki) is an ascomycete fungus within the family Nectriaceae, that colonizes soybean roots during cool-wet spring. This fungus is persistent within the soil and produces necrosis symptoms in roots while colonizing to the xylem tissues, where […]

Galerina pumila (Pers.) M. Lange

Galerina pulmila, or Dwarf Bell, is a small inconspicuous brown mushroom, but it is important because it belongs to the Galerina genus, some of the deadliest mushrooms since they produce similar compounds to Aminitas or ‘death cap’ fungi. The saprobic fungus fruits primarily in the fall, in moist, mossy areas, or may fruit in lawns […]

Armillaria mellea (Vahl)P.Kumm

Armillaria mellea is a basidiomycete that is known as both a plant pathogen and as an edible, with the common name ‘honey mushroom.’ Description A. mellea produces honey colored mushrooms with an annulus near the base of the cap. The caps often are darker in the middle and fade out into a more classic honey […]

Curvularia malina sp. nov causal agent of a new turfgrass disease

Recently, a strange ink spill looking turfgrass disease was reported in Science Daily. Warm season turfgrasses of bermudagrass and zoysiagrass were developing symptoms of black to chocolate brown spots, in 2-15 cm diameter patches on golf course putting greens, fairways and tee boxes. The initial symptoms manifest in the form of small purple black spots, […]

Coprinus comatus (O.F.Mull.) Pers.

Coprinus comatus is commonly known as shaggy mane or shaggy ink cap, and is frequently found growing as a saprophyte in home lawns, as well as disturbed locations during the fall. While this species is considered an inky cap from the breakdown of gills as the basidiocarp ages, it is placed within the family Agaricaeae. […]

Current Fungal Biology – Tripartite interactions in malarial dynamics

In a recent study by Angleró-Rodríguez et al. (2016) in the journal Science Reports showed that a tripartite interaction involving two microbes – the fungus Penicillium chrysogenum, and the protozoan Plasmodium falciparum – and the mosquito, Anopheles gambiae, leads to an increased susceptibility of the mosquito the the malaria parasite, P. falciparum, in the presence of the fungus. The fungus […]

Asterophora lycoperdoides (Bull.) Ditmar

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. […]