Genera and species within the Psathyrellaceae

The Psathyrellaceae form a well-defined family including the eponymous Psathyrella, the 'crumble caps', well named because of their fraglile caps, a consequence of the microscopic structure consisting of spherical cells (a hymeniderm) rather than hyphal strands that bind together. It includes most of the ink-cap species once placed in Coprinus. Phylogenetic data led to the restriction of Coprinus to C. comatus and allies that are unrelated to most of the remaining ink-caps, with Coprinus is now placed in the Agaricaceae. The same data led to the recognition of a number of related genera within the psathyrellacea: Coprinellus, Coprinopsis and Parasola. These are sometimes hard to distinguish and we provide a table of distinguishing features. Psathyrella has a hymeniderm cap structure like Coprinellus and Parasola but in the latter two genera the hymeniderm structure is a single layer over a normal hyphal subdermis, whereas in Psathyrella there are multiple layers, adding to its relative fragility. The family also contains the relatively large and recogniseable 'Weeping Widows' Lacrymaria.

Distinguishing characters for critical genera of Psathyrellaceae

Coprinellus

Coprinopsis

Parasola

Sometimes with trabecular cystidia (enlarged hymenial cystidia associated with auto-digestion) and a coprinoid hymenium (each basidium surrounded by 4 sterile pseudoparaphyses giving a regular lattice-like appearance) 

With trabecular cystidia and a coprinoid hymenium

Sometimes with trabecular cystidia and a coprinoid hymenium

Auto-digesting or not

Auto-digesting

Auto-digestion incomplete or lacking

Pileipellis hymeniform

Pileipellis a cutis

Pileipellis hymeniform

No veil or veil of globose cells

Always with veil (globose, hyphal, diverticulate)

No veilar structures

Caulocystidia often present

No caulocystidia(but stipe sometimes fibrillose)

No caulocystidia

Sometimes Ozonium state

No Ozonium state

No Ozonium state

Often pileocystidia

No pileocystidia

Sometimes pileocystidia

 

Coprinoid genera/section and diagnostic features

Genus/Section

Pilocystidia

Veil

Caulocystidia

Deliquescing

Cap structure

Notes

Coprinellus

Setulosi

Yes

Yes/No.

Like pilocystidia

Often not deliquescing

Hymeniform

Often pleated, like Parasola

Micacei

No

Globose cells with hyphal connectives. Pinkish in KOH

Yes (sometimes sparse when mature)

Deliquescing

Hymeniform

Domestici

No

Chains of fusiform to subglobose cells. Not pink in KOH. No clamps

Yes/No

Deliquescing

Hymeniform

Can resemble Lanatuli, but no clamps (e.g. C. lagopus versus C. flocculosus

Coprinopsis

Atramentarii

No

Evanescent/absent. Hyphal when present, sometimes diverticulate

None (stem with a ring-like line)

Deliquescing

Cuticular

Stem with a ring-like line

Lanatuli

No

Chains of unbranched elongate cells. With clamps.

None (but stem often hairy)

Deliquescing

Cuticular

Alachuani

No

Branched or diverticulate hyphal cells

None (but stem often floccose)

Deliquescing

Cuticular

Narcotici

No

Globose/subglobose with warts, not dissolving in acid

None (but stem often floccose)

Deliquescing

Cuticular

Strong smell and spores with sheath

Nivei

Globose/subglobose smooth or with crystalline encustation dissolving in acid

None (but stem floccose)

Deliquescing

Cuticular/hymeniform

No smell and spores without sheath

Parasola

Glabri  

No

None

None

Collapsing

Hymeniform

Cap pleated. See Setulosi

Auricomi

Yes

None

None

Collapsing

Hymeniform

Pilocystidia hair-like, thick-walled, golden.


Species within the genera

In each genus we have a mixture of native and exotic species, with some of the native species shared with Australia, Asia and South America and seemingly with relatively low diversity compared to many regions. Similar to many other groups we have a history of misapplied European names for indigenous species, for example species traditionally named Coprinellus micaceus and C. disseminatus  in New Zealand are not the same as the northern hemisphere originals. Both names represent species complexes with geographic variation across the world.

There will be more species present than are listed in each of these keys, even though the group as a whole is much less speciose here than in the northern hemisphere. Psathyrella in particular has been poorly documented in urban environments and many more introductions are likely to be found. The indigenous species are few, and poorly collected.  Animal dung (especially rabbit, deer, possum) if incubated on damp tissue paper in a container in a cool environment, will produce many small coprinoid species (Bell 1983). They are all likely to be introductions, given the absence of mammals in NZ until we came along. More work is required on the NZ members. Few of the documented species have vouchers, and even fewer have been confirmed through seqences.  Northern hemisphere concepts have been incorrectly applied, and many of our fungi have a regional origin (or are shared) and represent different species. For the northern hemisphere species there have been several relatively recent extensive treatments making delimitation much clearer, e.g. Richardson & Watling 1997, keys to Fungi on Dung, BMS; Doveri, 2004, Fungi Fimicoli Italici; Flora Agaricina Neerlandica vol6, 2005; Funga Nordica, ed2, 2012; and several online guides, e.g http://www.vielepilze.de/

If you want to be sure a key has worked then compare both the micro and macro features with a full description of the species (if you can find one). These keys were for my own benefit, so I can rapidly filter out things I have seen before.

Psathyrella

The crumble caps. Also recorded is P. macquariensis which may correspond to one of the undescribed taxa in this key. It is worth noting the P. gracilis/corrugis/microrrhiza group still seems to need some work. Most authors now treat P. gracilis as a synonym of P. corrugis, but current sequence data for samples with these names indicate clear separation of P. corrugis from a mix of material labelled P. microrrhiza and P. gracilis. Correct identification and/or synonmy seems unclear.

1

In sand dunes

P. ammophilae

1’

In other habitats

2

2

On rotting wood in natural habitats, cap densely spiky, but spines eventually washing off (see also couplet 7 if not spiny)

P.echinata

2’

On soil, or wood chips, modified or natural habitats

3

3

Tall, thin stemmed species, usually with wood chips, gill edge sometimes red, modified environments

4

3’

No so tall, in soil, often with wood, but not wood chips, modified or natural environments

6

4

Stem without pseudorrhiza (not strongly fibrillose at base), gill edge red or not

P. prona sensu lato

4’

Stem with pseudorrhiza (strongly fibrillose stem base), gill edge usually with red somewhere

5

5

Gill edge entirely red, when young with fibrillose veil

P. corrugis

5’

Gill edge patchily red, when young without veil

P. microrrhiza

6

Caps white/cream, growing clustered, on soil near wood, cap edge with appendiculate veil fragments. Two species in modified/natural environments

P. candolleana sensu lato

6’

Caps brown, without appendiculate veil, natural habitats. Gills tan coloured, especially when young. Poorly known species. Sometimes also on wood.

7

7

Cap less than 1.5cm broad. Not typically Psathyrella-like (more like Simocybe/Tubaria). Piluliformis group.

P. ‘Butterfly Creek’

7’

Caps more than 2cm broad at maturity

8

8

Veilar patches persistent in cap centre to maturity. Candolleana group (PDD 87699, jac14022).

P. JAC10427

8’

Fibrillose veil when young but bald when mature.

9

9

Cheilocystidia globose. Cap sometimes rugulose. Fibrillosa/fusca group  (PDD 95977, PDD 96201 = JAC11804)

P. JAC11589

9’

Cheilos utriform. Pygmea/fusca group (PDD87317 = JA10227)

P. JAC10227

Lacrymaria

The weeping widows. Like large grey Psathyrella species, with black gills weeping droplets in humid weather, and with rough spores. Sequence data and morphology indicate L. hypertropicalis from South America is very closely related, or a later synonym of L. asperospora.

1

Modified habitats. Cap fibrillose but not shaggy or granulose

L. lacrymabunda

1’

Indigenous habitats. Cap shaggy and/or granulose

L. asperospora

Coprinellus

Sometimes auto-digesting. Stem often minutely hairy with caulocystidia (but not in C. flocculosus and C. micaceous aff.). C. radians and C. domesticus are possibly present. Like Coprinopsis atramentaria they sometimes has an accompanying orange furry 'ozonium' state.

As mentioned elsewhere a number of our species are close, but not the same as northern hemisphere species, and they are listed in the key as '.aff'. The sequences show that C. micaceous aff. NZ forms a distinct clade of two different species similar to collections from Argentina and Hawaii but none are the true northern hemisphere species. The species complex includes C. truncorum and C. micaceous. The true version of the latter posesses caulocystidia, not present in NZ material. The absence of caulocystidia is shared with C. truncorum, a name used in Australia, but that has ellipsoid spores and NZ collections have distinctly mitriform spores. Morphologically NZ material is closest to C. saccharina, a rare northern hemisphere species, for which there are no current sequences. The name C. micaceous has been used a long time in NZ so shifting it to C. micaceous aff. seems for the best until the complex is known better. Similarly we have at least three different species that look like C. disseminatus but none of them fall within the clade containing the northern hemisphere version. Morphological differences between these species have yet to be worked out in detail. There are some differences in microscopic characters. At the moment all the NZ versions are called C. disseminatus aff.

1

On dung (rabbit, possum). Cap to 8mm. Cap with setules and globose cells. Autodigesting or not.

C. heptemerus

1’

On soil or wood

2

2

On soil. Cap purplish when young, to 2cm. No veilar remnants on cap. Slight autodigestion.

C. plagioporus

2’

Cap never purplish, on wood or soil

3

3

Caps consistently over 2cm broad, brown.

4

3’

Caps consistently less than 1.5cm, grey or brown

5

4

On wood chips or straw. Cap honey coloured, with fragments of felty veil, of filamentous hyphae. Autodigesting.

C. flocculosus aff.

4’

On wood, or soil near wood. Cap honey coloured, with flecks of veil with globose cells. Autodigesting.

C. micaceous aff.

5

Masses of grey fruitbodies, primordia white. Cap densely covered in flecks of veil of globose cells.  Not autodigesting. If not in masses see Coprinopsis coniophora

C. disseminatus aff.

5’

Cap brownish, distinctly pleated, not in masses. Veil of filamentous cells. Cheilocystidia globose. Autodigesting or not. A rare northern species collected in Auckland once

C. velatopruinatus

Coprinopsis

Always auto-digesting. Stem never with caulocystidia, but some floccose (e.g. C. lagopus).

Coprinopsis cinerea and C. macrocephala have both been recorded, but specimens I’ve examined are Coprinellus flocculosus aff. Amongst the other historically recorded dung fungi C. nivea is probably present, but requires confirmation. Other small (under 10mm) fungi on dung have also been recorded (see comments in the introduction). C. patouillardii requires confirmation because existing vouchers were found to be C. cordidpora. Material of C. filamentifer in the national collection was found to be C. stercorea, and there are no vouchers for C. poliomalla.

1

On dung. Cap < 15mm

2

1’

Not on dung

3

2

No smell. Spores heart shaped

C. cordispora

2’

Strong smell. Spores cylindrical

C. stercorea

3

Cap broader than 25mm at maturity

4

3’

Cap less than 20mm at maturity

6

4

Growing from wounds of living trees. Veil forming patchy yellowish scurfy fragments

C. mitrispora

4’

Growing on soil or wood chips or compost

5

5

On wood chips or compost.  Cap white/grey, with copious hairy/fibrillose veil

C. lagopus

5’

In soil on buried wood. Cap grey/brown, without veil.

C. atramentarius

6

With dune grasses. Cap to 15mm

C. ammophilae aff.

6’

Different habitats

7

7

Growing amongst mosses on on soil or wood. Cap pure white

C. laanii

7’

Not consistently with mosses AND cap not pure white.  

8

8

Associated with animal carcasses (presumably). Spores rough (unlike all other NZ Coprinopsis). Known through stimulaiton of fruiting in soil with added urea.

C. austrophlyctidospora

8'

Not associated with animal carcasses. Spores smooth.

9

9

On wood. Cap broader than tall. Grey, including primordia. C. disseminatus-like but not growing in sheets

C. coniophora cf.

9’

In soil (and primarily on wood elsewhere). Caps taller than broad, white with tan centre.

C. pseudofriesii

Parasola

Be wary of calling anything that looks parasol-like Parasola plicatilis, or even Parasola. That form occurs commonly throughout the psathyrellaceae, and P. plicatilis itself does not seem to be present in NZ. P. leicocephala aff. is a close look-alike of P. plicatilis. Genetically our version is different to European P. leicocephala. Along with the British I don't currently accept the synonymy of the US P. lactea with P. leiocephala. More sequence-based evidence is required.

In Parasola the frbs are sometimes auto-digesting, often partial. Stem never with caulocystidia.

In addition to the species listed here, which I have seen/sequenced, P. misera may also occur on dung, but without voucher material and P. hemerobia has also been reported but the name is of dubious status.

1

Cap with yellow hairs (lens/microscope)

2

1’

Cap without hairs

3

2

Cap opening to a pleated parasol shape

P. auricoma

2’

Cap remaining conical, not parasol-like

P. conopila

3

Spores > 13um long

P. hercules

3’

Spores <= 12um long

4

4

Spores smooth in outline, <= 8um wide

P. kuehneri

4'

Spores with an angled outline (smooth corners to angles), > 8um wide

P. leiocephala aff.

Sections for the coprinoid species

Genus/Section

Section

Coprinellus

C. disseminatus aff.

setulosi

C. heptemerus

setulosi

C. plagioporus

setulosi

C. velatopruinatus

micacei

C. micaceous aff.

domestici

C. flocculosus aff.

domestici

Coprinopsis

C. cordispora

nivei

C. coniophora cf.()

nivei

C. stercorea

narcotici

C. laanii

narcotici

C. mitrispora

lanatuli

C. ammophilae aff.

lanatuli

C. lagopus

lanatuli

C. atramentaria

atramentarii

C. austrophlyctidospora

Alachuani

C. pseudofriesii

Alachuani

Parasola

P. auricoma

auricomi

P. conopila

auricomi

P. hercules

glabri

P. kuehneri

glabri

P. leiocephala aff.

glabri

Posted by cooperj cooperj, August 04, 2016 01:22 AM

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That's very helpful. Thanks Jerry. I'll bookmark this.

Posted by jon_sullivan about 1 year ago (Flag)

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