The North American Species of Pholiota
186. Pholiota lubrica var. lubrica (Fr.) Singer. Agar. In Mod. Tax. p. 516. 1951.
Agaricus lubricus Fries, Syst. Myc. 1: 252. 1821.
Dryophila lubrica (Fr.) Quélet, Enchir. Fung. p. 70. 1886.
Pileus 4-8 cm broad (estimated), glabrous, very viscid, when young almost ivory-colored (pale yellowish) and with an almost blackish-red central spot, when older pale brown ochre with the spot more extended and dark reddish brown.
Lamellae almost white at first, finally colored as in P. lenta close, medium broad.
Stipe 5-8 cm long, 4-6 mm thick (estimated). Pallid in young specimens and faintly white floccose, as dried evenly melleous overall (about like the dried gills in color).
Spores 6-7.5 x 3.5-4.2 µ, smooth, apical pore barely visible under a 1.4 NA oil im. lens; shape in face view elliptic to oblong, in profile more or less oblong; color in KOH ochraceous to pale tawny, in Melzer's reagent about the same; wall about 0.25 µ thick.
Basidia 4-spored, 20-24 x 5-6.5 µ, narrowly clavate, hyaline in KOH and merely yellowish in Melzer's reagent. Pleurocystidia abundant 35-64 x 13-18(20) µ, fusoid-ventricose with obtuse apex to utriform, neck tapered from ventricose part to apex and 6-8 µ diam. near apex, smooth, thin-walled, wall hyaline to slightly yellowish; content homogeneous or with a plug of yellowish colloidal material (in KOH) in apical part, refractive particles present in this material in some, or present in cells not showing the colloidal material. Cheilocystidia 30-45 x 12-20 µ broadly subutriform to clavate, thin-walled, smooth, walls yellowish to hyaline, content yellowish to hyaline and homogeneous. Caulocystidia none found.
Gill trama a central strand of floccose thin-walled, yellowish parallel to somewhat interwoven hyphae 4-10 µ diam. or cells finally more inflated; subhymenium a thick layer of narrow gelatinous hyaline hyphae. Pileus with a thick gelatinous pellicle of narrow (2-5 µ) hyaline to yellowish smooth to incrusted hyphae grading into a hypodermial region of heavily incrusted brown hyphae 4-12 µ diam. Context of yellowish smooth hyphae, thin-walled (0.25-0.3 µ estimated), interwoven, and with cells inflated to 15 µ. All hyphae inamyloid and hyphae at apex of stipe yellowish to hyaline in KOH. Clamp connections present.
Habit, Habitat, and Distribution: Among mosses and Calamagrostis arundinacea on bouldery slope under beech and birch. Sweden (Lundell 5683).
Observations: That the problem of the identity of P. lubrica is an acute one is an understatement. Konrad (1936) gave the spore size as 8-9.5 x 4.5-5.5 µ. For this reason our data are all taken from a Lundell (no. 5683) specimen collected in Sweden. A Moser specimen studied by Hesler had thick walled cystidia and Moser (1953) gives the spores as 5-6 x 3-4 µ, a broader spore in relation to its length than we have found in any of this group. Fries' illustration Icones pl. 116 of Agaricus (Flammula) lubricus shows an ochraceous marginal area to the pileus and a brown disc. The stipe is white, staining brown at the base. In Systema, however, Fries described the pileus as "cinnamomeus." This is in line with (copied from) Persoon's description and hence is accepted as authentic for the color.
The following is a description of collections Smith 73892, 73678, 74181, and 74071 all from Upper Priest Lake in Idaho:
Pileus 4-8.5 cm broad, broadly convex with an incurved margin, expanding to plane or shallowly depressed, surface with patches of the pallid fibrillose veil over marginal area on the slime covering the surface, slime often dripping from edge of pileus; color reddish tawny over disc and pallid over margin mature, when very young the margin ivory yellow; veil pallid, leaving a fringe on margin at first. Context whitish with watery brownish line next to gills; taste mild, odor none, with FeSO4 green.
Lamellae whitish becoming dull cinnamon, broad, bluntly adnate, crowded, edges even.
Stipe 6-8 cm long, 9-11 mm thick, equal, pallid, soon rusty red to bay below, whitish above, fibrillose scurfy from remains of the veil, apex silky and yellowish pallid.
Spore deposit cinnamon brown. Spores 6-7 x 3.5 µ; pleurocystidia 50-65 x 9-16 µ, thin-walled mostly (especially when fresh or revived in Melzer's reagent), in KOH wall swelling to ± 0.5 µ in a fair number.
The critical features of these basidiocarps are: 1) relatively large size, 2) reddish tawny colors (which are within the "cinnamomeus" range, copious slime over the pileus on which at first are perched whitish (pallid) squamules of veil remnants, 3) whitish context, 4) whitish lamellae; and white veil and stipe with the latter staining brown to rusty brown from the base upward. The spores (6-7 x 3.5 µ) are the same as for the Lundell specimen and as given by Kühner & Romagnesi. This comes about as close to the type concept as one can expect in this group.
The problem in North America is greatly complicated by rather similar populations to the above, but differing to such an extent that one dealing mainly with morphological characters must give recognition to them if his classification is to be "honest." We have the following which are very close to P. lubrica: Pholiota coloradensis with subcylindric to utriform pleurocystidia, P. sublubrica with brownish patches of veil on pileus margin, and the stipe elongating as in Cortinarius subg. Bulbopodium, P. armeniaca with exceptionally pale colored spores in KOH and in Melzer's sol., but with colors about like Fries' illustration in the Icones, and P. avellaneifolia with a heavy pale but distinctly yellow veil and grayish brown gills when young. All of these are on conifer debris. P. verna has cystidia with thickened walls and occurs on debris of cottonwood.