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Taxonomy and opinions (Was Re: shiitake substrate)

Nathan Wilson velosa at cinenet.net
Sun Sep 10 02:59:20 EST 2000

On Sat, 9 Sep 2000 truffler1635 at my-deja.com wrote:

> Until someone takes the time to do DNA analysis, and also learns to
> cultivate it, the species appelation is still somewhat in question, I
> believe.

The cool thing about Armillaria (meaning honey mushrooms) is that they
can be cultivated and tested for mating capatibility.  That's the
technique Tom Volk (and others) used to differentiate between the
different species.  I believe the current world-wide count is in the
30's.  I'm also pretty sure that Armillariella is now defunct and
Armillaria is the correct name for the honeys.  My understanding is
that it depends on whether you accept a brief description and 
illustratation of A. mellea as establishing the genus Armillaria or
if you accepted a later but more detailed description of "Armillaria
straminea" as the type.  Singer accepted Armillaria straminea and
so constructed Armillariella.  All of the recent texts I've seen
use Armillaria to mean the honey mushrooms and use Floccularia for
A. straminea and kin.  This is also indirectly related to calling
the west coast Matsutake, Tricholoma magnivelare, since under Singer's
definition of Armillaria it's Armillaria ponderosa.

> Ever since hearing about Eric Danell's DNA research into Cantarellus
> cibarius (which is no longer cibarius in the US BTW) I'm deeply curious
> to see what other species definitions will fall by the wayside.

I would love to hear what the state of Cantharellus names is for the west
coast.  The in category of large orange to white Cantharellus I can
consistently differentiate between seven forms based on color and habitat. 
In the Northern California fir/madrone forest I regularly see one with the
typical orange top and orange hymenium (tends to be the largest, up to
2lbs and most common), a more slender and delicate one with an orange top
and a pinkish orange hymenium, a more robust one with a yellow-orange top
and a pale yellow hymenium, and a robust all ivory one.  In the pine
forests there is a yellow/orange one which may be the same as the first
fir/madrone one, but it never gets as large, and an ivory one that is
distinctly smaller and more delicate than the fir/madrone ivory one and I
believe stains a darker brown.  Finally, there is the ubiquitous live
oak one all orange and of moderate size.

Originally I called the two ivory ones C. subalbidus, the one with the
pinkish hymenium C. formosus (based on the description from Agaricales of
California), and the rest C. cibarius.  I have since heard that C. 
cibarius probably doesn't exist in the Western US (Eric's work) and the
common, large all orange spruce/fir species in Oregon is C. formosus.  The
closest match in my experience would have to be the all orange one that
occurs in fir/madrone.  As for the rest I have no good idea what to call
them other than chanterelles and 'Good Eatin'.  For lack of any other
names I've started calling all the orangish chanterelles C. formosus, but
that doesn't make me very happy.  Are there others out there who care
about this issue?  If so what are you doing about it? 


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