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Expert links: Clitocybe Ampulloclitocybe Infundibulicybe Lepista
Spodocybe Leucopaxillus/Aspropaxillus Catathelasma Cleistocybe Other

They are mostly found on the ground, although they are often saprophytic and members of the Tricholomatoid clade unless otherwise specified. Not hygrophanous unless noted.

The very brightly orange gilled Hygrophoropsis is actually a gilled bolete.
Hohenbuehelia petaloides, a shoehorn shaped oyster, usually grows on the ground with an eccentric stem. Learn to recognize it.
Melanoleuca and Lyophyllum (and Tephrocybe) may occasionally have decurrent gills, but that is not typical so they are found under "collybioid".
The pink-spored Rhodocybe sometimes has pale pink spores, enough to confuse it with Lepista (covered here) or even Clitocybe. It doesn't help that the characteristic angular spores of the Entolomataceae are less pronounced in Rhodocybe as well.
Some small colourful mushrooms may be waxy cap relatives, especially if they're on wood. Pseudoomphalina and other omphalinoid mushrooms can also be large enough to be confused with Clitocybe.


Leucopaxillus/Aspropaxillus - large mushrooms with easily removable gills that resemble Clitocybe but may be much tougher. Throw a clitocyboid mushroom at your friend's head and if it bounces off good as new it may be a Leucopaxillus. Aspropaxillus is one of our largest gilled mushrooms (up to 40 cm!) but not as dense. Microscopically, Leucopaxillus has amyloid warty spores (they darken in iodine) and Aspropaxillus has amyloid smooth spores. These all smell somewhat distinctive, usually farinaceous to some degree. Leucopaxillus are some of the only mycorrhizal mushrooms on this page, which probably makes them some of Tricholoma's closest relatives.

Leucopaxillus albissimus grp - <20cm, mostly white, strongly decurrent gills, taste often unpleasant or bitter. 

Leucopaxillus gentianeus grp ('amarus') - <15cm, brown cap, definitely bitter. Gills adnate.

Aspropaxillus septentrionalis - pale tan to grey, up to 40cm! C. maxima and I. geotropa may also get very large. Unpleasant odor and taste.


Catathelasma - Very large mushrooms (up to 40cm!) with decurrent gills separated from Clitocybe by their double partial veil. Farinaceous. They are also mycorrhizal. Amyloid spores (darkening in iodine). It is difficult to tell these two apart, and our local species is probably neither of the below but something new.

C. singeri ('imperiale') - said to be the largest, most viscid cap and perhaps darker.

C. ventricosum - still very large, perhaps paler, dryer capped


Cleistocybe - the only other genus with a partial veil, not nearly as large.

Cleistocybe vernalis - Much like a Clitocybe with a veil, which is pretty much what it is. Tricholomatineae. Dry felty cap around 5cm. Fruits in the spring.

'Cleistocybe' gomphidiodes - maybe only a hint of a partial veil, viscid red-brown cap, gills grey in age. Fall.


Clitocybe s.l. - there are a large number of Clitocybes that look similar. There are always specimens coming in during forays that can't be easily identified to species, so there is a chance that your Clitocybe won't be found here. The genus is not well understood in the PNW. Some have been found to be quite poisonous.

The smallest species have caps <5cm with stems <5mm thick. Stocky species may grow to have caps >10cm. Their stems will often be >1cm thick.

First, the whitish to greyish species, often covered in a white chalky pruina if you catch them in the right conditions, but usually neither hygrophanous nor striate. Some are easily confused with the pale Lepistas, which are never chalky.

C. glacialis - <8cm, snowbank, starts chalky white, becomes dark and greasy!

Leucocybe connata ('Clitocybe dilatata') - <15cm, stocky or slender, wavy margin, clustered on roadsides, chalky white. Resembles Lyophyllum and Lepista densifolia. Long mistakenly called Clitocybe dilatata.

C. 'rivulosa' ('dealbata') - small (<5cm), white, chalky, in grass. These species are smaller than L. densifolia.

Leucocybe candicans - similar, in forests under hardwoods/conifers with a tinge of yellow/grey to the cap.

C. phyllophila group - a large number of similar species in Clitocybe don't have good names or descriptions yet.

C. nebularis - <25cm, large, grey, stinks like a skunk!

Atractosporocbye inornata - medium, chalky cap, grey cap and gills, cylindrical spores. Stem may darken.

Atractosporocybe sclerotoidea - (needs to be renamed from Clitocybe) - <5cm yet stocky chalky greyish white parasite on a white sclerotium mass of Helvella vespertina. May have notched gills.

Harmajaea harperi - A large, chalky-grey funnel cap that may be felty with a sometimes disagreeable odor and taste and greying flesh

Next, watery brownish, hygrophanous species, usually striate when wet, with or without an odor.

Leucocybe salmonilamella - (needs to be moved from Clitocybe). A pink tinge to the gills and usually a pale rim.

C. deceptiva - <5cm, pale greyish-tan watery hygrophanous look. Smells like black licorice! Pale pink/white spores.

C. brunneoceracea - sometimes clustered.

C. subditopoda/vibecina/metachroi/diatreta group - <5cm, grey-brown watery hygrophanous. Some are farinaceous. Which species are here (or how many) is not known yet, but it's a lot.

Other interesting Clitocybes:

C. odora - <10cm, a greenish-blue mushroom! Smells and tastes like black licorice. Blue can fade. Rarely grows waxy with unpleasant odor and then goes by the name Hygrophorus caeruleus.

Bonomyces subsinopicus (C. 'sinopica') - <5cm, reddish-orange-brown, scaly cap in age, farinaceous, like Rhodophana nitellina, I. squamulosa and Hygrophoropsis.

C. subsocialis, similar, pale stem and distant gills, unpleasant odor.

Rhizocybe albirhiza - (needs to be renamed from Clitocybe) <10cm fading orange/white concentric zones. Rhizomorphs (thick mycelium) on stem base. Spring, bitter.

Rhizocybe vermicularis subsp americana - spring, darker orange and more funnel shaped than R. albirhiza. Mild. See also I. squamosa and L. subalpina.

Rhizocybe (Clitocybe) rhizoides - similarly odorless with many rhizomes but dark brown in colour. Found here once in spring at Mt. Rainier.


Lepista - the primary features of Lepista are microscopic, a slightly coloured spore print and subtly warty spores. Half of them are larger and stockier than the average Clitocybe and more on the adnate side than decurrent, but the other half very much resemble Clitocybe. This group includes the famous "Blewit", so-called because it looks like a blue hat, L. nuda. It is probably not correct to separate these species as a separate genus, since at least 3 clades of Lepista appear inside Clitocybe, but since the Clitocybe section is already so big, I am going to do it anyway.

L. nuda group - <15cm, stocky, purple when young, said to smell like Tang. Many Cortinarius look similar!

L. sordida (tarda) - <10cm, similar colours, but slender. Purple can fade! Hygrophanous.

L. glaucocana - <15cm, stocky, a uniform pale pink/lilac. Unpleasantly farinaceous.

L. luscina (subconnexa) - <30cm, large off-white, in dry grass or sagebrush, variable odor.

L. brunneocephala - very similar, like a purple-less blewitt.

Paralepista gilva - <10cm. orange, funnel shaped! May have a spicy odor. Hygrophanous. I. 'gibba' is paler pinkish-orange.


Ampulloclitocybe - two similar mushrooms in the Hygrophoraceae clade have evolved to very much resemble Clitocybe. They have grey or brown slightly umbonate (yet depressed in age) caps, strongly decurrent white gills and inamyloid spores. They somewhat resemble Pseudoclitocybe (without the umbo and with amyloid spores) and Cantharellula (with forking gills that stain red and amyloid spores).

A. 'clavipes' - <10cm, somewhat bulbous stem base, often with a grape bubble gum smell!

A. avellaneialba - <10cm but sometimes much bigger. Not as bulbous, no odor, and perhaps darker with a slightly ribbed cap margin. May be found on or near rotting wood.


Spodocybe - small felty grey capped clitocyboids in the Hygrophoraceae.

Spodocybe 'trulliformis' group - <5cm, grey, felty! Hygrophoraceae.

Clitocybe senilis - only slightly felty.


Infundibulicybe - strongly funnel shaped in the Tricholomatoid clade but outside of Clitocybe. Not all of them have formally been moved yet, but they likely will be.

I. squamulosa group - <8cm, both species can be either bright orange or dark brown. Spring, slightly scaly cap centre.

C. mitis - related?, darker, red-brown cap, spring.

C. coacta - similar looking, hygrophanous.

I. 'gibba' - <8cm, pinkish orange, very funnel shaped! Slender. Lepista inversa is more orange.

C. alnicola - similar, farinaceous taste and cartilaginous cap cuticle.

'Clitocybe' maxima - stocky variety of I. 'gibba' up to 20cm or more, stocky, usually orangish. Leucopaxillus giganteus is even bigger but greyer.

I. geotropa - very similar but slight umbo, paler with less colour. Leucopaxillus giganteus has no umbo and easily removable gills.


Other miscellaneous genera:

Cantharellula umbonata - <5cm, grey or brown, gills that fork and flesh that can stain red. Sharp umbo in the centre of the cap. Amyloid spores. Hygrophoraceae.

Cantharocybe gruberi - pale to bright yellow, large (up to 20cm) and sometimes with an eccentric stem like Pleurotus, as shown here, but this grows on the ground. Hygrophoraceae.

Hygrophoropsis spp. - actually gilled boletes, differentiated by their much brighter orange gills than the orange Clitocybes. Different species have caps that are brown, orange and whitish.

Gamundia striatula - may also look mycenoid or omphalinoid. The spores are minutely spiny like Lepista. Hygrophanous greyish-brown cap that becomes umbilicate. Striate when moist. Gills usually adnate to decurrent. Difficult to ID. Tricholomatineae.

Myxomphalia maura - dark brown, hygrophanous and only growing on burnt ground, similar to Arrhenia, which are even more strongly umbilicate and decurrent and not found on burnt ground. Possibly Tricholomatoid clade. May also be mistaken for a collybioid. Amyloid spores (darkening in iodine).

Pseudoomphalina  angelesiana (Neohygrophorus angelesianus) - somewhat waxy and with a viscid cap. Not hygrophanous. Mostly found in the spring near melting snow. Amyloid. Tricholomatoid clade.

Pseudoomphalina intermedia - not bitter

Pseudolaccaria pachyphylla - bitter


The following miscellaneous genera grow on wood, but they are often buried so they can appear terrestrial, so they are duplicated here from the miscellaneous wood inhabiting page. Both have amyloid spores (darkening in iodine). 

Gerronema atrialbum (Clitocybula atrialba) - <10cm, distinguished from Clitocybe by its long thin stem and dark cap and stem. On hidden hardwood but appearing terrestrial. Resembles Pseudoclitocybe. Belongs to the Marasmioid clade. 

Pseudoclitocybe cyathiformis - <10cm. Like Ampulloclitocybe and Cantharellula with its dark cap and stem, but without an umbo, never large and with darker gills. Also found on buried wood growing from the ground, but hygrophanous. Amyloid spores. In the Tricholomatoid clade.


There is no full-colour recent treatment of Clitocybe, but we sure need one! It is one of the more confusing and little understood genera. Bigelow's two volume North American Species of Clitocybe (not illustrated) is the standard work on the subject but doesn't really clear things up about which species are here.

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