The North American Species of Pholiota
192. Pholiota polychroa (Berk.) Smith & Brodie Bot. Gaz. 96: 533-546. 1935.
Agaricus polychrous Berkeley, Lond. Journ. Bot. 6: 313. 1847.
Agaricus ornellus Peck, N.Y. State Mus. Ann. Rept. 34: 42. 1883.
Flammula polychroa (Berk.) Saccardo, Syll. Fung. 5: 824. 1887.
Pholiota appendiculata Peck, N.Y. State Mus. Bull. 94: 33. 1905.
Pholiota ornella (Pk.) Peck, N.Y. State Mus. Bull. 122: 151. 1908.
Gymnopilus polychrous (Berk.) Murrill, North Amer. Fl. 10: 204. 1917.
Pileus 1.5-10 cm broad, obtuse to convex when young, with the margin incurved, expanding to broadly convex or obtusely umbonate, surface glutinous to viscid, cuticle separable, glabrous, but at first decorated with the remnants of the veil as creamy to avellaneous superficial squamules, margin often appendiculate with veil remnants, of many colors: pale grass-green, blue-green ("turquoise green"), dark olive, or dark purplish-drab to purple-gray, gradually developing yellow hues, often mottled, often becoming dull orange to yellow on the disc, the margin olivaceous (color extremely variable). Context soft, moist, thick on the disc, white above, greenish below, thin on the margin; odor and taste not distinctive.
Lamellae varying in attachment from adnexed to decurrent, often seceding, close to crowded, moderately broad, at first lilaceous, or pale cream color to pallid young, soon gray-fuscous or avellaneous to wood brown, finally a dark purplish brown with an olive tone, edges white-fimbriate.
Stipe 2-6 (8) cm long, 3-5 (8) mm thick, often narrowed downward, fibrous and solid, finally hollow at times, with fairly copious veil remnants distributed over the lower part as squamules or patches and these terminating in a fibrillose to submembranous, greenish to dingy, evanescent annulus, glabrescent below in age, light blue-green or pallid to yellowish over the apical portion, becoming reddish brown below, often attached to the substratum by a mat of tawny hairs.
Spore deposit brown with a slight purplish tinge in moist state, after escape of moisture near cinnamon brown. Spores 6-7.5 x 3.5-4.5 µ, smooth, apical pore minute; shape oblong to elliptic in face view, rarely ovate, in profile mostly bean-shaped; color dark dull cinnamon in KOH, in Melzer's reagent paler; wall about 0.25 µ thick.
Basidia 18-25 x 4.5-6 µ, 2- and 4-spored, subclavate, hyaline to yellowish in Melzer's reagent or in KOH. Pleurocystidia 40-60 (70) x 9 -15 µ, fusoid-ventricose, apex obtuse, wall thin and smooth; content homogeneous or containing some rodlike particles (in Melzer's), yellowish to amber-brown in KOH fading to hyaline and then granular-colloidal in consistency; often with a slender pedicel. Cheilocystidia 28-42 x 7-10 (23) µ, broadly fusoid with obtuse apex to fusoid ventricose and similar to pleurocystidia. Caulocystidia 22-75 (150) x 5-9 (30) µ, large ones hyaline thin-walled and clavate to fusoid; smaller ones versiform: utriform, fusoid-ventricose, clavate etc., wall in some slightly thickened and ochraceous.
Gill trama of somewhat interwoven floccose hyphae, the hyphal cells 6-20 µ broad; walls thin hyaline and smooth; subhymenium a broad layer (relatively) of narrow hyaline interwoven gelatinous hyphae. Pileus cutis a thick gelatinous pellicle with narrow (2-3 µ) hyaline hyphae rather widely dispersed through it, the hyphal walls breaking down; hypodermial zone of smooth floccose hyphae 5-15 µ diam., the walls thin to slightly thickened and hyaline to ochraceous or brownish. Context hyphae hyaline smooth, the wall thin but seen as two walls cemented together, cells greatly enlarged. Clamp connections present. All hyphae inamyloid.
Habit, Habitat, and Distribution: On hardwood logs, stumps, and fallen limbs, more rarely on conifers, occasionally sawdust, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina, Florida, Louisiana, Tennessee, Texas, Michigan, and Oregon, July–November; reported from New England to Alabama, and west to Wisconsin (Murrill 1917), and from Canada (Glussow & Odell 1927).
Observations: This species is well marked for field identification by its varied colors, especially the olive and green hues in the earlier stages. These green tints often show to some degree in mature caps. The spore color is essentially brown, but in a good print there is a slight purplish tinge. Despite this spore-color, agaricologists consider it close to Pholiota (or Flammula, in older publications) than to any of the purple-spored genera, but this only goes to help point out the intergradations in spore color between Psilocybe, Stropharia and Pholiota.
Material Examined: INDIANA: Kanouse 10-11-47; FLORIDA: Hesler 21436; MICHIGAN: Harding 487; Kauffman & Pennington 8 -27-06, Kauffman 9-107a, 9-12-07b, 9-12-07c, 9-23-12, 9-25-29; Smith 10-10 -31, 32-598, 11008, 11083, 14952, 15255, 21155, 21909, 32054, 43545, 43711, 51216, 68743, 68782; MARYLAND: Kelly 435, 1447; Kauffman 9-1-19; NEW YORK: Kauffman 7-17-03; Peck (types of Agaricus (Flammula) ornellus and Pholiota appendiculata); NORTH CAROLINA (GSMNP): Hesler 17654; OREGON: Smith 68741; PENNSYLVANIA: Kauffman 9-24-09; TENNESSEE: Hesler 3682, 4261, 5396, 5397, 8076, 8019, 9545, 13797, 19522, 19840, 22180; TEXAS: Thiers 1905; VIRGINIA: Kelly 348, 349, 1696; CANADA (Ontario): Smith 4589.