Mycena maculata P. Karst.

Meddn Soc. Fauna Flora fenn. 19: 89 (1890)

Cespitose or fasciculate on decaying wood of both conifer and deciduous trees. Autumn. Collections in The Norwegian Mycology Database.

Pileus 10-45 mm across, conical to somewhat campanulate or convex to plano-convex, mostly without an umbo, glabrous, translucent-striate, sulcate, hygrophanous, pale grey to dark grey or greyish brown or dark brown with paler margin, sometimes with a reddish shadow in the centre, with age developing reddish brown spots and finally often becoming entirely dark red-brown with paler margin. Lamellae 20-23 reaching the stipe, elastic-tough, ascending, narrowly to broadly adnate, with or without a decurrent tooth, dorsally intervenose, pale grey to grey with white edge, with age developing red-brown spots. Stipe 40-80 x 1-5 mm, straight to somewhat flexuous, tough, equal, terete or sometimes flattened and fissured lengthwise, hollow, glabrous, often rooting, the base densely covered with wolly white fibrils; at first with whitish apex, becoming darker to brown to red-brown farther below, with age becoming red-brown. Odour indistinctive. Taste indistinctive, not farinaceous.

Basidia 25-40 x 6-9 um, slender-clavate, 4-spored, with sterigmata 4-8 um long. Spores 7.5-10 x (4.5-)5-6 um, Q = 1.5-2, Qav ≈ 1.6, pip-shaped to ellipsoid, amyloid. Cheilocystidia (10.5-)18-40 x 4.5-10(-13.5) um, forming a discontinuous sterile band, clavate to somewhat irregularly shaped, covered with fairly few unevenly spaced, coarse, simple to much branched, straight to curved or flexuous, cylindrical excrescences, one or two of which may be longer than the others, up to 20 um long. Pleurocystidia absent. Lamellar trama dextrinoid. Hyphae of the pileipellis 1.5-4.5 um wide somewhat gelatinized, mostly smooth or covered with scattered warts or cylindric excrescences 1-10 x 1-1.5 um, terminated by mostly diverticulate cells. Hyphae of the cortical layer of the stipe 1.8-3 um wide, smooth to sparsely diverticulate with excrescences 1-4.5-0.5-1.5 um, terminal cells up to 5.5 um wide and somewhat more densely diverticulate. Clamp connections present in all tissues.

Microphoto of cheilocystidia

Mycena maculata is a member of sect. Mycena. It may not always be easy to identify. The specific epithet is somewhat deceptive as it may give the false impression that unspotted specimens belong to another species. As one can se from the description above, particularly younger specimens may appear entirely without red-brown spots.

The colour of the pileus is usually relatively dark. Then it may be confused with dark forms of M. galericulata (Scop.) Gray. In the latter, however, the hyphae of the pileipellis are much more diverticulate and tending to form dense masses, the spores are larger than those of M. maculata, and the terminal cells of the stipe cortex are either absent or very hard to find. In addition the lamellar edge is entirely sterile in M. galericulata, while in M. maculata there are tracts of basidia scattered along the lamellar edge. According to my experience M. galericulata also has a fairly strong farinaceous taste.

Another species resembling unspotted M. maculata is M. hemisphaerica Peck. According to Maas Geesteranus (1992) it deviates from M. maculata on account of some minor microscopic differences as having the cheilocystidia forming a continuous sterile band, while they are forming a discontinous sterile band in M. maculata. In addition the stipe cortex of M. hemisphaerica is devoid of terminal cells, and the excrescences of the cheilocystidia are differently shaped.

Mycena atrochalybaea Huijsman, known from Switzerland and Italy, is also very close to M. maculata, and one wonders whether it really is a distinct species. Robich (2003: 492) mentioned some differences: The number of lamellae reaching the stipe is larger in M. atrochalybaea than in M. maculata, the hyphae of the cortical layer of the stipe are smooth in the former, and the terminal cells are smooth and not enlarged.

The differences can be tabulated as follows:

M. maculata
M. galericulata
M. hemisphaerica
M. atrochalybaea
Spores 7.5-10 x (4.5-)5-6 um 9-12 x 6-7 um 7-10 x 4-5 (-5.8) um 7-9 x 4.5-5.8 um
Hyphae of the pileipellis smooth to sparsely diverticulate densely diverticulate, tending to form dense masses smooth to sparsely diverticulate smooth to very sparsely diverticulate
Hyphae of the cortical layer of the stipe smooth to sparsely diverticulate sparsely diverticulate diverticulate smooth
Terminal cells fairly numerous, diverticulate, inflated quite rare quite rare or absent quite rare, smooth, not inflated
Lamellar edge discontinously sterile completely sterile completely sterile completely sterile
Cheilocystidia covered with fairly few, simple to much branched, tortuous to torulose, straight to curved or flexuous excrescences covered with few to fairly numerous, simple to branched, usually curved excrescences covered with comparatively few, usually simple, curved excrescences covered with fairly few, simple to branched, curved excrescences
Lamellae reaching the stipe
20 - 23
20 - 39
c. 19 - 22
30 - 40

One should be aware of that M. polygramma (Bull.) Gray also may become spotted with red-brown stains at the lamellae and hence may show some resemblance to M. maculata. M. polygramma, however, is a member of sect. Fragilpedes, which means that there are many other differences between the two species.

Further images on the Internet:


Yves Deneyer


© Arne Aronsen 2002-2015