The North American Species of Pholiota

72. Pholiota subcaerulea sp. nov.

Illustrations: Text figs. 67-69; pl. 25b.

Pileus 2-4 cm latus, obtusus, demum explanato-umbonatus, glutinus, albo-squamulosus, caeruleus vel aerugineo-caeruleus, demum subargillaceo-maculatus. Lamellae pallide brunneae demum subcinnamomeae, confertae, latae, adnato-decurrentes. Stipe 3-6 cm longus, 1.5-4 (8) mm crassus ad basin cum rhizomorphis albis, subcaeruleus, deorsum albofloccosus, sursum sericeus. Annulus membranaceus. Sporae 7-9 x 4-4.5 µ leves. Pleuro-chrysocystidia 24-36 x 9-12 µ. Specimen typicum in Herb. Univ. Mich. conservatum est. legit. prope Portland, Oregon, 11 Nov. 1954, Ruth Oswald No. 2.

Pileus 2-4 cm broad, obtuse, with incurved margin, expanding to obtusely umbonate and the margin finally spreading, surface glutinous and dotted with white flecks of the remnants of a white veil, blue to greenish blue but gradually fading out to cinnamon-buff in blotches, often retaining the greenish blue color when dried; flesh thin, bluish, odor and taste none.

Lamellae pallid brownish becoming more or less sordid cinnamon brown at maturity (not truly purplish brown), close, moderately broad, adnexed to broadly adnate-decurrent, edges even.

Stipe 3-6 cm long, 1.5-4 (8) mm thick, equal or slightly enlarged at the base, base with numerous white rhizomorphs, lower portion with white floccose patches of veil tissue scattered over it, annulus white, single, median, often evanescent, silky to fibrillose above, concolorous with pileus over all or a little paler, dry.

Spores 7-9 x 4-4.5 µ, smooth, ovate to subelliptic in face view, elliptic to obscurely inequilateral in profile, apex with a minute germ pore but apex not truncate, wall relatively thin; spores on annulus pale cinnamon-brown, in KOH dingy tawny brown, and in Melzer's brighter colored but not dextrinoid.

Basidia 22-26 x 6-7 µ, 4-spored, hyaline in KOH, yellowish in Melzer's reagent. Pleurocystidia abundant, 24-36 x 9-12 µ, clavate, fusoid-ventricose to clavate-mucronate, thin-walled, hyaline in KOH and with a highly refractive hyaline amorphous body, in Melzer's reagent the refractive body bright red to bay red and very conspicuous. Cheilocystidia: 1) 30-52 x 2.5-4 x 5-8 µ, narrowly subcapitate-pedicellate to narrowly clavate, hyaline, thin-walled, content homogeneous; 2) some smaller fusoid-ventricose cells 20-28 x 4-7 µ also present; 3) some cells resembling pleurocystidia also present at times. Caulocystidia numerous, clavate to nearly filamentose, 4-6 µ, diam. at apex, hyaline in KOH.

Gill trama of hyaline, parallel to somewhat interwoven, cells greatly inflated in age; subhymenium inconspicuous and somewhat gelatinous (including bases of basidia?). Pileus cutis a thick gelatinous pellicle of interwoven hyphae, the hyphae 3-4.5 µ diam., hyaline, walls smooth and very delicate, inamyloid; hypodermial region colorless, hyphae nongelatinous and slightly more inflated than those of context. Clamp connections present, hyphal walls all inamyloid.

Habit, Habitat, and Distribution: In small clusters in long grass under Douglas fir and dogwood, Portland, Ore. Nov. 11, 1954. Ruth Oswald No. 2.

Observations: Stropharia aeruginosa as we know that species has lamellae white to grayish and finally purplish brown. P. subcaerulea, which is closely related to it, is by generic definition relegated to Pholiota unless one wishes to go as far as to merge Geophila with Pholiota. The bright bay color of the inclusion in the pleurocystidia when mounted in Melzer's is a most striking feature and reminds one of the Melzer's reaction in the cystidia of many species of Tylopilus. Pholiota ochrochlora of Europe is related here, see Orton (1960). We have not found P. ochrochlora in North America.

Material Examined: IDAHO: Smith 74017. OREGON: Ruth Oswald 2. WASHINGTON: Flett 170a, 11-15-41.