The North American Species of Pholiota
91. Pholiota malicola var. malicola (Kauff.) A. H. Smith Ann. Myc. 32: 480. 1934.
Flammula sulphurea Peck, New York State Mus. Bull. 157: 26. 1912.
(non F. sulphurea Massee, 1902).
Flammula alnicola var. marginalis Peck, New York State Mus. Ann. Rept. 54: 167, 1901.
Flammula malicola Kauffman, Amer. Journ. Bot. 13: 24. 1926.
Pileus, 3-6 (10-15) cm broad, evenly obtusely conic at first, remaining so in age or becoming conic campanulate, finally nearly plano-umbonate, viscid at first but soon dry and shining, at first decorated with thin patches of brownish fibrils from the veil, glabrescent, evenly "wax-yellow," "straw-yellow," "zinc-orange," or with a greenish tinge and then sulphur yellow, fading as though slightly hygrophanous, margin opaque. Context thick on disc, thin on margin, whitish; pliant, odor and taste not distinctive or rarely slightly alkaline.
Lamellae adnate to sinuate, narrow, tapered evenly outward, close to crowded, concolorous with pileus at first, finally "Kaiser-brown" (reddish cinnamon) from the spores, edges white-fimbriate or eroded.
Stipe 4-12 cm long, 4-12 mm thick, equal or base clavate-enlarged, fibrous, solid, pallid to yellowish within, surface at first concolorous with pileus or apical region whitish, darkening to tawny below, veil remnants yellowish to pallid, distributed as patches of fibrils below the superior annulus, or annular zone, and becoming tawny like the base; annulus fibrillose or submembranous, at times poorly formed and evanescent.
Spore deposit ferruginous ("hazel" or "cinnamon rufous" or "amber-brown"); spores 8.5-11 (12) x 4.5-5.5 (6) µ in face view elliptic to ovate or a few obscurely fusoid, in profile obscurely to rather distinctly inequilateral, smooth, germ pore present but small, wall (in KOH) up to 0.8-1 µ thick, in Melzer's reagent 0.5-0.8 µ thick, as revived in KOH fairly dark dull yellow-brown (near "Dresden brown"), in Melzer's reagent reddish tawny.
Basidia 25-33 x 6-8 µ, 4-spored, clavate to subcylindric, yellowish in KOH and Melzer's reagent. Pleurocystidia none. Cheilocystidia 22-45 x 4-9 µ, fusoid-ventricose, utriform, or elongate-subcapitate, hyaline to yellow in KOH and Melzer's reagent, content homogeneous. Caulocystidia 25-52 (100) x 5-8 µ, clavate to subcylindric, thin-walled, hyaline in KOH, content homogeneous.
Gill trama parallel becoming somewhat interwoven, hyphae 3-6 (9) µ wide, at first but cells much more inflated in age, walls yellow in KOH, smooth, non-gelatinous; subhymenium a narrow zone of cellular structure (cells 3-7 µ diam.) non-gelatinous in KOH. Pileus cutis consisting of a well defined gelatinous pellicle of smooth narrow (2-4 µ) hyphae becoming irregular in outline in age or finally appearing somewhat roughened; hypodermial zone of more intensely ochraceous to rusty-ochraceous hyphae but not structurally differentiated. Context hyphae yellowish to hyaline in KOH, inflated to ± 15 µ in some, walls thin (near subhymenium some showing middle lamellae as revived in KOH). Clamp connections present. All hyphae inamyloid.
Habit, Habitat, and Distribution: Caespitose at the base of trees and stumps, or on debris of conifers and hardwoods, or attached to buried wood, New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and in Canada in Quebec and Ontario, July-November.
Observations: Massee described Flammula sulphurea in 1902. Later, Peck (1912) used the same specific epithet for a different taxon. Finally, Kauffman (1926) proposed for Peck's agaric the name Flammula malicola. Peck's F. alnicola var. marginata appears to be the same as P. malicola var. malicola.
It seems likely from Orton's description that his Pholiota aromatica would also fall in this group. It should be carefully compared with P. malicola. We are inclined to regard with suspicion the terrestrial habitat of any caespitose Pholiota since we suspect that the vegetative mycelium of all of them lives on wood or lignicolous debris concentrated in the soil, and it must be remembered that Orton himself specified "on ground near oaks."
Flammula connisans Fr. sensu Kauffman (1926) is a variant of P. malicola. The subgenus Flammula as defined here is badly in need of studies in culture as well as further field studies. The pattern which Smith is encountering in his field work is that the characters of odor, spore color, pileus shape, etc. occur in all possible combinations so the question naturally arises as to whether we have many "species" or (and more probably) an extremely variable complex.
Material Examined: MICHIGAN: Kauffman 9-22-24; Smith 32-508, 38240, 38241, 50622, 68798, 71448. NEW YORK: House 10-25-44. OHIO: Walters 12. PENNSYLVANIA: Overholts 16043. CANADA-ONTARIO: Groves 11923: Smith 4895. QUEBEC: Groves 9-9-54.