Mycena vitilis (Fr.) Quél.

Mém. Soc. Emul. Montbél. II 5: 106 (1872).

© A. Aronsen

Solitary or two or three together, rarely more numerous. Growing on small pieces of bark or wood on the ground, or on more or less buried twigs of deciduous trees (mainly Quercus, but also other trees). Summer to late autumn. Common in the atlantic-nemoral-continental zones and apparently extended into the boreal zone. Widely distributed and very common in south Norway, but recorded all over the country.

Pileus 6-22 mm across, conical to campanulate, flattening with age, translucent-striate, sulcate, glabrous, somewhat lubricous when wet, becoming shiny when dry, grey-brown to pale grey, darker at the centre, paler to almost white at the margin. Lamellae 14-23 reaching the stipe, ascending, narrowly adnate to almost free, smooth but becoming veined to heavily ribbed with age, dorsally intervenose, white to whitish, sometimes more brownish, the edge concolorous to white. Stipe 30-80 x 1-2 mm, hollow, elastic-firm or even tenacious when wet, cartilaginous-brittle when dry, equal to somewhat widening below, terete, straight to curved, pruinose above, glabrous farther down, lubricous to almost viscid when wet, shiny when dry, pale grey-brown, usually with a whitish apex, sometimes with reddish brown spots below, the base sometimes rooting, densely covered with long, coarse, flexuous, whitish fibrils. Odour indistinctive, also reported as slightly fruity. Tast mostly noted as mild.

Basidia 28-42 x 9-11.5 µm, clavate, 4-spored, with sterigmata up to10 µm long. Spores 9.7-12.2 x 5.5-7.5 µm, Q 1.6-2.1, Qav 1.7-1.8, pip-shaped, smooth, amyloid. Cheilocystidia 15-40(-50) x 5-15 µm, forming a sterile band, clavate, fusiform. lageniform or more irregularly shaped, apically passing into a simple or furcate neck or more often with simple to branched, straight to curved or flexuous, coarse to very coarse excrescences up to 25x2-3.5 µm, in rare cases with no neck or excrescences at all. Pleurocystidia absent. Hyphae of the pileipellis 2.5-5 µm wide, covered with scattered to crowded, simple to much branched excrescences 2-20 x 1 µm which tend to become somewhat gelatinized and form very dense masses. Hyphae of the cortical layer of the stipe 2.5-4.5 µm wide, smooth or occasionally sparsely covered with short, cylindrical excrescences, more or less embedded in gelatinous matter, the terminal cells generally smooth but occasionally diverticulate and much inflated. Clamp connections absent or with some abortive clamps (very rarely with abundant clamps).

Microphoto of cheilocystidia.

Mycena vitilis is quite variable but it is seldom difficult to identify. It has no striking character in the field, however, except for the slippery, lubricous and elastic-firm stipe, which tends to be very shiny when dry. The variously shaped cheilocystidia are of good use for identification as well as the densely diverticulate hyphae of the pileipellis and the smooth and gelatinized hyphae of the stipe cortex. An important character is that this species generally lacks clamps. Robich (2003) reported that the Italian material of M. vitilis always possesses clamps but in my material from Norway clamps nearly always are absent, or there are only some very few abortive clamps. This observation corresponds with Maas Geesteranus (1992: 310). Recently, however, I have also seen M. vitilis with abundant clamp connections.

Large specimens of M. vitilis can sometimes resemble specimens of M. polygramma. They can be told apart as follows:

Mycena polygramma

Mycena vitilis


> 23

< 23

Hyphae of the stipitipellis

Not gelatinized


Spores Q average





Generally absent


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© Arne Aronsen 2002-2023