Colourful Cortinarius

From an email by Jocie to the Botany Group on November 14.

Cortinarius is the biggest genus of gilled mushrooms in the world, with thousands of species. The Pacific coast is a hotspot for “corts,” with a rich abundance and diversity. A few distinct features of this genus:

  • Many have a “cortina” (from the Latin word for curtain) that forms a cobweb-like veil over the developing gills. Traces of the veil often appear as a ring-like band of fibrils on the stipe (stem).
  • Spore prints are typically rusty-brown.
  • All grow in soil or humus (never on wood) and are ectomycorrhizal.

Species in this genus come in a variety of sizes and colours. Some have brightly coloured gills (yellow, orange, red), and others have shades of green, lilac or purple. In a shaft of sunlight the gills can be spectacularly bright and satiny. Many more species are brown & dull, and these have a more subtle beauty.

Here are some examples of Cortinarius that I have seen this fall. These are all from four locations: Buttle Lake area, lakes north of Campbell River, the Merville Woods, and Miracle Beach Park. Note that #6 & 7 are a review of the lilac and purple corts discussed by Alison earlier in her debrief on green, blue and purple shrooms.

[Click a photo to enlarge it.]

  1. This yellow-gilled cort might be Cortinarius croceus.
  1. An orangy-gilled cort, possibly Cortinarius cinnamomomeus.
  1. A red-gilled cort, likely Cortinarius smithii.
  1. Close-up of the red gills of the above.
  1. A beautiful “viscid” cort that looks like it is covered in a glaze (which reflects the canopy above!) Possibly Cortinarius vanduzerensis. Note the purple blush at the base of the stipe.
  1. A lilac-coloured cort (there are many different lilac-toned species, which all look very similar!). Note the cortina on the stipe, which shows nicely here.
  1. Violet cort (Cortinarius violaceus).
  1. A brown-gilled cort…of some sort!
This entry was posted in Botany. Bookmark the permalink.