Phaeocollybia described at OMS

dwheeler at dwheeler at
Sat Oct 3 22:46:52 EST 1998

At the Sept. 28, 1998 meeting of the Oregon Mycological Society, Dr. Lorelei
Norvell presented her findings on the genus Phaeocollybia. Dr. Norvell has
just finished her Master's thesis into this little known genus which is
important as indicators for Northern Spotted owl habitat. According to
Norvell, species of Phaeocollybia have been found from San Francisco,
California north into British Columbia and east into Idaho. However, with
more people looking for these difficult to identify species, the range could

Phaeocollybia are small to medium-sized fungi distinguished by a long
tap-root like extension of the stem, which can extend 5-8 inches below the
ground. In addition, careful excavation of the fungus often reveals a
pseudorrhizomorph at the end of the stem, which may continue for several more

As Dr. Norvell succinctly put it, where ever Phaeocollybia is found, it is
immediately an indicator for the presence of Northern Spotted owl.
Unfortunately, it is often present for a matter of days. Added to this the
fact that most mycologists (and amateur mycologists) often overlook the genus
because of the difficulty in keying out the species, and you have what has
been a taxonomic mess. Dr. Norvell's research into the genus, comparison of
DNA and gas chromatography of specimens, yeilded at least 9 species new to

Dr. Norvell is the former president and newsletter editor of the Oregon
Mycological Society, co-author of over 60 scientific and popular articles for
Behefte Sydowia, Canadian Journal of Botany, Canadian Journal of Forest
Research, McIlvainea, Mycologia, Mycological research, Mycotaxon, and
Mushroom, The Journal. She is currently the editor of the Mycological Society
of America's newsletter Inoculum, and is founder and president of the Pacific
Northwest Mycology Service, a scientific and taxonomic consulting firm.

Dr. Norvell is especially noted for leading, along with Judy Rogers, the
Oregon Mycological Society's Cantharellus Study Project, a
discovery/tracking/ experimental project in the Bull Run Watershed, which
provides water for the Portland metropolitan area. This study has been
tracking chanterelle weight, size, fruiting, abundance, rainfall, and
associated fungi and plant communities. This real _watershed_ study has been
frequently cited, and was the first of its kind anywhere in the world.

Posted by
Daniel B. Wheeler

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