The Santa Cruz Mycoflora Project

A Comprehensive Reference to the Macrofungi of Santa Cruz County

Genus: Cortinarius

Family: Cortinariaceae

Cortinarius cisqhale

Cortinarius cisqhale

Cortinarius cisqhale Cortinarius clandestinus group Cortinarius infractus Cortinarius ponderosus
Cortinarius xanthodryophilus

Known Species in the County

Approximately 27 species in Santa Cruz County.

Cortinarius Records from Santa Cruz County:

Any one who has spent time learning to identify mushrooms has probably run across fearsome language about the genus Cortinarius. Although they are extremely diverse (the largest genus of gilled mushrooms on Earth, with over 1,000 species) and often difficult to identify, they are often rather beautiful and satisfying to work with.

The morphological diversity of fruitbodies within the genus is stunning; comprising forms both sequestrate and gilled, tiny and enormous, dull and brilliantly colored. All are ectomycorrhizal, forming associations with both hardwoods and conifers as well as some woody shrubs.

Uniting features of all Cortinarius are:

To make the task of identifying a Cortinarius less overwhelming, it is extremely useful to learn to recognize the subgroups below. Keep in mind that not all of these groups are 'natural' (they are not necessarily phylogenetically supported), and not every species will fit neatly into these groups.

In Santa Cruz county, Cortinarius are not commonly sought out for being good edibles. However, many more species are likely edible than was once thought. Keep in mind that at least a few are deadly toxic (mostly Leprocybe), although representatives of this group are very rare or absent in our area.

Important identification characters include coloration when young as well as in age, texture (dry or viscid? smooth or scaly?), shape of the stipe base, odor, KOH reactions on all parts, bruising reactions, and host tree species, as well as many microscopic characters.

* This species may occur in the county but no verifiable collection has been made.