Mycena metata (Fr.) P. Kumm.

Führer Pilzk. (Zwickau): 109 (1871)

© A. Aronsen

In groups in mossy lawns, under both conifers (mostly Picea) and deciduous trees, on fallen twigs and other vegetable debrise, not infrequently also on moss-covered los. Often very numerous on needle beds. Summer to late autumn. Very common. Widely distributed. Also in alpine sites. Recorded in all parts of Norway.

Pileus 5-25 mm across, narrowly to broadly conical or campanulate, sulcate, translucent-striate, pruinose, glabrescent, fairly dark brown to pale brown or greyish brown, darker and often with a pink shade at the centre. Lamellae 13-24 reaching the stipe, ascending, narrowly adnate, white to pale grey, often turning pale brownish flesh-colour to dingy pink. Stipe 25-90 x 1-2 mm, hollow, terete, equal, straight to curved, fragile, pruinose, glabrescent, whitish or grey to grey-brown, usually darker in lower parts, the base densely covered with long, white fibrils. Odour of iodine when drying (best experienced after having been kept in a box for a while). Taste insignificant.

Basidia 24-35 x 7-10 μm, clavate, 2-spored and 4-spored Spores 8-12.5(-14.5) x 5-6.3 μm (from 2-spored basidia) or 8.5-11.8 x 4.5-6.5 μm (from 4-spored basidia), Q 1.7-2.5, Qav~2, pip-shaped, smooth, amyloid. Cheilocystidia 18-76 x 9-27 μm, forming a sterile band, cylindrical, clavate, obpyriform, obovoid, spheropenduculate, or less frequently somewhat irregularly shaped, mostly stipitate (but sometimes sessile), ccovered with mostly evenly spaced warts or straight to curved or flexuous, cylindrical excrescences 2-10 x 0.5-1.5 μm. Pleurocystidia similar. Lamellar trama dextrinoid. Hyphae of the pileipellis 2-5.5 μm wide, diverticulate, covered with simple to branched excrescences, often forming dense, coralloid masses. Hyphae of the cortical layer of the stipe 2-4.5 μm wide, diverticulate, with excrescences 1-10 x 1-2 μm, terminal cells absent or rare. Clamps present in all tissues, both in 2-spored and 4-spored form.

Microphotos of cheilocystidia

Microphotos of hyphae of the cortical layer of the stipe

When Mycena metata is found in great numbers under Picea abies, and showing a pink shade at the centre of the pileus and on the lamellae, identification seldom causes any trouble. Sometimes the pink shade is quite distinctive; I have even collected specimens that have been entirely pink. This species can, however, appear in different colour varieties, and often there is no trace at all of a pinkish colour. Then it may be mistaken for Mycena filopes. This problem was treated by Maas Geesteranus (1984: 437):

Mycena filopes: a) Pileus surface giving the impression of being rimose, with the innate fibrils splitting much in the way of the superficial fibrils of the pileus of some Inocybe, and b) imparting a silvery lustre on drying out, c) pileus not becoming tinged with pink, d) lamellae not or only rarely turning slightly pinkish, e) sessile cheilocystidia often more frequent than the stipitate ones, f) stipitate cheilocystidia up to 30 µm long, g) terminal cells of the stipe cortex always present, numerous and easy to find.

Mycena metata: a) Pileus surface either not rimose or without apparent texture, b) without silvery lustre, c) pileus and / or lamellae usually becoming tinged with pink, d) stipitate cheilocystidia often more frequent than the sessile ones, e) stipitate cheilocystidia often greatly varying in size and the bigger ones usually more voluminous than their counterparts in M. filopes, reaching more than 70 µm in length, f) terminal cells of the stipe cortex absent or, if present, rare and mostly hard to find.

Because of the great morphological variation, it would be natural to think that more than one species is involved. This should be investigated with molecular methods. So far, preliminary results from the Norwegian Barcoding Project (NorBOL), are not indicating a complex.

Robich (2003) described a number of new species from Italy that would fit in with the M. metata species concept at this web site.


Microscopic illustrations.

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Go to sect. Filipedes.




© Arne Aronsen 2002-2023