The North American Species of Pholiota

85. Pholiota californica (Earle) comb. nov.

Flammula californica Earle, New York Bot. Gard. Bull. 2: 342. 1902.
Gymnopilus californicus (Earle) Murrill, Mycologia 4: 253. 1912.

Illustrations: Text figs. 121-122.

Pileus 4-7 cm broad, expanded, subumbonate, gregarious or caespitose, surface glabrous, viscid, subhygrophanous, pale ochraceous-brown, often darker on the disc, margin entire. Context cream colored, unchanging; odor and taste mild.

Lamellae subsinuate-decurrent, pale ochraceous to fusco-ferruginous, heterophyllus, crowded, broad, subventricose.

Stipe 5-6 cm long, 3-4 mm thick, pale brown, yellowish white at the apex, subequal, slightly enlarged at the apex and base, glabrous above, brown-fibrillose below, solid, white-mycelioid at the base.

Spores (5.5) 6-7 (8) x 3.5-4 µ, smooth, apical pore distinct and apex obscurely truncate in some, shape in face view oblong to elliptic, in profile oblong to elliptic or obscurely inequilateral, pale dull tawny to ochraceous in KOH, paler in Melzer's reagent, wall less than 0.25 µ thick.

Basidia 18-23 (25) x 4.5-6 µ, 4-spored clavate, yellowish in KOH and in Melzer's reagent. Pleurocystidia scattered to abundant 25-37 (44) x 6-12 µ, clavate-mucronate or fusoid-ventricose; content distributed throughout the cell and amorphous-granular, in KOH it is bright ochraceous, in Melzer's amber-brown or darker; wall smooth thin and collapsing over the cell content and not readily reviving. Cheilocystidia 22-30 x 5-8 µ, subfusoid to fusoid-ventricose, wall thin and smooth, content hyaline to yellowish but not coarsely granular. Caulocystidia in tufts, 36-54 x 7-13 µ, versiform: cylindric to capitate, ventricose or irregular variously, walls smooth and thin content mostly "empty".

Gill trama reviving poorly but a gelatinous subhymenial layer present. Pileus cutis a gelatinous layer of narrow (2-5 µ) smooth to slightly incrusted hyphae yellow in KOH, hypodermial region rusty ochraceous in color but hyphal detail not clear. Clamp connections present. All hyphae inamyloid.

Habit, Habitat, and Distribution: Under trees, probably attached to buried wood, California, December. Type studied.

Observations: Although it was originally described as being dry, the pileus cuticle of the type shows a distinct zone of gelatinous hyphae. The species appears to be rare; no reports of it have appeared since the type was collected in 1901. The pleurocystidia are its most interesting feature in that they are not typical chrysocystidia but must be included in this category in a broad sense.