The Stropharia, Hypholoma, Pholiota, Leratiomyces, Clavogaster series in NZ

Below is a very draft key to the NZ species I know in this related group of genera. The key is based on macro-features only, which makes it easy to use, but will probably fail. Many of the species cannot be reliably identified on macro-features alone. There are quite a number of undescribed species in the group and in some cases the genera are not clear and new genera may be required. As a whole the group sits within the Strophariaceae, the boundaries of which (and overlap with Hymenogasteraceae) are not settled, in my opinion. In a broad sense there are similar looking species in Deconica, Psilocybe, Galerina, Agrocybe (sensu stricto), Flammula, Gymnopilus, Kuehneromyces and Protostropharia. Photographs of all the species below can be found on the NZFUNGI2 website.

Clavogaster is marginally supported by phylogenetic data as an independent genus, and C. virescens is most closely related to Stropharia hornemannii in current data. C. virescens is a bit similar to the grey and blue/green staining Psilocybe weraroa. Clavogaster 'Whakapapa' has been collected a few times and prefers woody debris and is only semi-secotioid with gills and a cap that opens partially. It has been referred to Nivatogastrium (Mushroom Observer), a secotioid North American snow-bank genus within Pholiota. The NZ species is not one of Egon Horak's New Zealand species of Nivatogastrium, none of which are related to Pholiota and require re-disposing.  Clavogaster 'Whakapapa' is also not a Pholiota in disguise. A number of the Clavogaster, Leratiomyces and 'Pholiota' species listed below show a brilliant fluorescence under ultra-violet light.

Pholiota multicingulata is quite variable in colour, often with an olivaceous hue and Hyphloma-like. The phylogeny indicates P. multicingulata var. hanmerensis falls within the same broad species group. P. multicingulata is known also from Australia and Asia. The Australian P. communis is probably a synonym of P. multicingulata. It was established at varietal rank and does not have priority.

Pholiota glutinosa is part of the species complex around P. aurivella/adiposa. Our species (and the Australian version) is phylogenetically different to European/North American material as adiposa/aurivella and is more closely related to (but still a different species from) collections from Asia.

Hypholoma fasciculare does not seem to occur in New Zealand. All specimens under this name examined so far are either H. australianum or H. subviride aff.

Hypholoma australianum in NZ is phylogenetically slightly different to the original from Australia, but not enough to warrant a different name. It is variable in appearance and historically incorrectly identified in New Zealand as various species, including H. fasciculare, H. frowardii and H. sublateritium. Red forms should be compared with Cortinarius rubrocastaneus. The NZ Hypholomas can be distinguished from the other genera treated here by their consistently dark brownish-purple spore print, which is paler brown in the other genera. The traditional character of bitter taste for Hypholoma is true for some some NZ species, and not for others. Non-related species similar to Hypholoma, like Pholiota chrysmoides , are also bitter.

Hypholoma subviride cf looks like a small H. fasciculare with a cap 2-3cm at most. It is not H. subviride, or H. marginata and appears to be an undescribed indigenous species. The Tasmanian Hypholoma fasciculare var. armeniaca appears to be distinct. Phylogenetically there is a species complex showing regional differentiation.

Protostropharia 'Te Wera' and P. 'Hanmer'  seem to be related to the northern hemisphere P. semiglobata, and in some analyses to Phaeonematoloma myosotis and also to the Australian 'Pholiota' fieldiana but may not belong to Protostropharia or Phaeonematoloma. Similar to Protostropharia they often have a slimy stem.  'Pholiota cerea'P. chrysmoides and  P. 'Borland' are closely related and represent an undescribed genus.  Pholiota pallidocaulis (= sp. 'Tahakopa') and P. 'Hinewai' are also closely related. 'P. cerea' is an unpublished name used by Horak for a yellow viscid-capped species on wood. Karl Soop named P. chrysmoides as a larger yellow terrestrial species. In a number of Karl's publications on Cortinarius he figures a species he called P. cerea which is P. 'Borland' of this treatment, and is not Egon Horak's species. Pholiota 'Hinewai' is related to the rare northern hemisphere P. henningsii found in similar habitats. Pholiota pallidocaulis described from Tasmania posesses yellow rhizoids.

Stropharia aeruginosa has been documented a few times in NZ but so far all collections have turned out to be the related S. caerulea (=S. cyanea auct) with a less pronounced ring and paler gills.

Stropharia 'Kennedy' is an undescribed species morphologically and phylogenetically close to S. jilinensis from China, which has a greyish purple cap rather than brown. It is similarly squamulose. It might be related to S. formosa from Tasmania.

P. brunnescens is presumably an introduction from North America. It is associated with fire sites and related to P. carbonaria . Our species in this fire-adapted groups are not Crassisporium/Pachylepyrium.

P. subflammans was originally described from Chile and is the name given to a very common and variable species in NZ. It is closely related to P. terrestris. Sequence data indicates P. subflammans is identical to P. nubicola from Venezuela (originally Pachylepyrium nubicola) and P. squarrosipes from Australia. P. oblita from Argentina seems to be yet another synonym. If these are all synonyms then P. subflammans is the correct name. The similar northern hemisphere P. squarrosoides is a different. The introduced Pholiota gummosa is similar but the NZ taxon has a cap that becomes rapidly dry and without copious veil remnants..


On wood or with wood chips



On soil, sometimes with wood chips or buried wood, or with mosses



Cap tan to dark olive or dark brown



Cap with reddish, orange, yellow colours



Cap with white flecks, sometimes lost at maturity

Hypholoma brunneum


Cap without flecks, sometimes on wood chips, smaller tha H. brunneum. See also Galerina patagonica/marginata

Pholiota multicingulata


Cap semi-secotioid, yellowish brown, on well-rotted wood

Clavogaster ‘Whakapapa


Cap opening normally. Cap colour yellowish to range reddish



Cap slimy, golden colour, with brown scales. Often growing from cut logs. 

Pholiota glutinosa


Cap without golden slime



Relatively large species, reminiscent of Hypholoma fasciculare but with a shaggy stem base. Gills with greenish tinge. Cap variable and can be yellow, orange, red. If on soil and cap lemon yellow see Pholiota chrysmoides

Hypholoma australianum


Smaller species, stem not shaggy, gills with greenish tinge or not



Gills without a greenish tinge and mild tasting, with yellow rhizoids at stem base

Pholiota  pallidocaulis


Gills usually with a greenish yellow tinge and always bitter tasting



Cap always with central pimple

Hypholoma acutum


Cap becoming flat, without pimple, looking like a small H. fasciculare. This is not H. subviride sensu stricto and is an undescribed local species. H. fasciculare sensu stricto does not seem to occur in NZ.

Hypholoma subviride cf.


Frutibody secotioid, blue or red. See also Clavogaster ‘Whakapapa’ and NZ Nivatogastrium species



Fruitbody not secotioid



Fruitbody powder blue. If greyish blue see Psilocybe weraroa

Clavogaster virescens


Fruitbody scarlet red. If no stalk see also Paurocotylis pila.

Leratiomyces erythrocephala


Cap with purple, red, or blue/green colours



Cap with other colours, less striking



Large species with purple/brown cap and ring (pale colour variants are known)

Stropharia rugosoannulata


Smaller. Cap bright red or with blue/green colours



Cap red. Very common on wood chips

Leratiomyces ceres


Cap with blue/green colours. Modifed habitats. 

Stropharia caerulea


Fruitbody arising from a hard buried tuber

Hypholoma tuberosa


Not arising from a tuber



Cap brown. Associated with bonfire sites and burnt ground

Pholiota brunnescens


Not associated with bonfire sites



Stem with well defined ring, sometimes evanescent (but not just a ring zone)



Stem without a well defined ring, but sometimes with ring zone



Cap smooth



Cap scurfy, stipe base with rhizoids, unmodified habitats

Stropharia ‘Kennedy’


Slender species with tacky caps and stem, ring evanescent, in native habitats



Realtively stocky, caps and stem not slimy, ring persistent, in lawns/parks

Stropharia coronilla


Growth densely fasciculate. Stem shaggy and cap fibrillose or with veil fragments.



Growth not fasciculate, without veil remnants on cap



Cap tan coloured, viscid in wet weather, with veil fragments that rub off. Occurring in both native and modified habitats

Pholiota subflammans


Cap eventually dirty olive yellow and surface drying fibrillose/squamulose but without veil fragments even when small. Often associated with buried wood. Probably introduced into NZ in modified habitats.

Pholiota gummosa


Cap dry, lemon yellow, but ageing tan. Hypholoma fasciculare-like

Pholiota chrysmoides


Cap sticky when fresh, not looking like Hypholoma fasciculare. All the following species are placed in Pholiota for convenience. 



Small, always with mosses in damp, open habitats. Reminiscent of some Galerina.

Pholiota ‘Hinewai’


In forests and scrub



Cap brown, stem thin (< 3mm), stem base with pinkish violet mycelium

Protostropharia ‘Te Wera’


Stem thicker (> 4mm)



Cap yellow. Stem with rhizoids.

Pholiota cerea ined.


Cap brown. Stipe without rhizoids. Yellow colours present or not. This is P. cerea sensu Soop, non sensu Horak

Pholiota ‘Borland’

Posted on September 22, 2016 03:44 AM by cooperj cooperj


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