Panaeolus in NZ

Panaeolus are brown mushrooms characterised by black (or dark brown) spores and the sides of the gills with a mottled appearance. The caps have a minutely sparkly appearance (hand-lens) as a consequence of spherical cap cells, unlike the filamentous hyphae found in the cap of many (dark spored) fungi. In this respect they are superficially similar to members of the psathyrellaceae, but phylogenetically Panaeolus is closer to the brown spored bolbitaceae. They are saprobes on soil and dung and all introduced except P. fimbriatus and perhaps P. nirimbii. The hallucinogenic P. cyanescens (=Copelandia cyanescens) is said to occur in New Zealand (in Taranaki dunes) but there is no confirmed material in the national collection and it is possible the reports are erroneous and refer to one of the indigenous Psilocybe species in the Psilocybe subaeruginosa/cyanescens complex on decaying wood, or perhaps Panaeolus antillarum on horse/donkey dung. The common name 'Blue meanies' is used for P. cyanescens elsewhere, but in New Zealand has been used for the secotioid and hallucinogenic Psilocybe weraroa. P. cinctulus is also hallucnogenic, and confirmed as present. P. subfirmus is also recorded but without accessible material or photograph. It may have been confused with P. acuminatus but it is confirmed from sub-antarctic islands. P. semiovatus is also recorded on horse/donkey dung but records may be misidentifications of P. antillarum (without a ring). A number of other species names have been used (P. sphinctrinus, P. campanulatus) but I believe it's possible the use of those names (in NZ) refer to environmental/developmental variants of other species. It seems the the presence/absence of veilar remnants on the cap edge is variable. The status of P. olivaceous is also questionable as sequence data do not confirm a unique interpretation of that name. Indeed the current GenBank sequence data imply much confusion in the application of names commonly applied to Panaeolus species. In general Panaeolus species could possibly be confused with other small, pale brown mushrooms, such as Conocybe, Agrocybe, Stropharia, Psathyrella , Psilocybe, and Deconica.


Growing on rotten wood

Panaeolus fimbriatus


Growing on soil or dung



Fruitbody secotioid, long and thin

Panaeolopsis nirimbii


Fruitbody with expanded cap and normal gills



Gills brown, spores distinctly verrucose, in lawns and parks

Panaeolus foenisecii


Gills grey/black, spores smooth or minutely rugulose, on soil, dung or wood chips



Stem with appendiculate ring, stem 80-200 mm and cap 30-800 mm. If similar but without ring then P. antillarum or P. subfirmus

P. semiovatus


Stem without ring, smaller stature



Spores minutely rugulose (requires oil immersion)

P. olivaceus


Spores smooth



Gills with thick walled cystidia, frb blueing (see also P. cinctulus & Psilocybe)

P. cyanescens


Gills without thick walled cystidia



Spores < 15um long on average. Cap perimeter without veilar remnants



Spores > 16um long on average. Veilar remnants present or not.



Stem 1.5-3mm diam., cap remaining convex. Spore Q > 1.6.

P. acuminatus


Stem 3-8mm. diam, cap becoming flattened (sometimes faint blueing of stem). Spore Q < 1.6.  

P. cinctulus


On dung. Cap not hygrophanous. Perimeter often with veil remnants.Spores < 17um.

P. papilionaceus


In grassland (with cows/sheep), large (like P. semiovatus), cap hygrophanous. Spores often > 17um

P. subfirmus

Posted on July 27, 2016 09:45 PM by cooperj cooperj


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