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Hypomyces lactifluorum (Schwein.) Tul. and C. Tul.
Life   Fungi   Ascomycota   Hypocreaceae   Hypomyces

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  • Hosts

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Hosts · map
FamilyScientific name @ source (records)
Agaricaceae  Agaricus lactifluus @ BPI (1)
Boletaceae  Boletus sp @ BPI (1)
Fagaceae  Castanea dentata @ BPI (1)

Quercus sp @ BPI (2)
Fungiidae  Cantharellus sp @ BPI (3)
Hygrophoraceae  Hygrophorus sp @ BPI (1)
Russulaceae  Lactarius piperatus @ BPI (8)

Lactarius sp @ BPI (68)

Russula delica @ BPI (2)

Russula sp @ BPI (10)
_  Agaricaceae @ BPI (11)

Substrate @ BPI (99)

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California Fungi—Hypomyces lactifluorum Hypomyces lactifluorum © Michael Wood
(Photo: © Michael Wood)

Hypomyces lactifluorum (Schwein.) Tul. & C. Tul.
Annls Sci. Nat., Bot., sér. 4 13: 11. 1860.

Common Name: Lobster Mushroom

  • Sporocarp

    Fruit-body a bright-orange mold growing on the surface of members of the Russulaceae (in California usually Russula brevipes ); gills of the parasitized host reduced to folds; in age, minute, reddish-orange perithecial mounds develop (use hand lens); context of host firm, brittle, if Lactarius , then oozing a latex; odor at first fungal, then of shellfish; taste mild in R. brevipes , potentially peppery if Lactarius .

  • Spores

    Ascospores 35.0 x 43.0 x 6.0-7.5 µm, spindle-shaped, apiculate, equally two-celled, thin-walled, warted, contents globular; asci uniserate; spores white in deposit.

  • Habitat

    Parasitic on Russula brevipes , and possibly other members of the Russulaceae; north coastal in distribution; fruiting shortly after the fall rains; occasional to common.

  • Edibility

    Edible Edible and very good.

  • Comments

    This Ascomycete parasite transforms its host, often Russula brevipes , from white to brilliant orange, and causes the gills to abort their development. The "gills," still produce spores, but only those of Hypomyces lactifluorum . These emanate from countless reddish-orange perithecial mounds which dot the surface at maturity.

    While Hypomyces lactifluorum is most conspicuous member of the genus, other species are occasionally encountered. These include: Hypomyces chrysospermum which forms the familiar white to yellow cottony growths on boletes; Hypomyces lateritius , which despite its name meaning "reddish," produces a cream to pale-tan growth on the gills of Lactarius deliciousus and L. sanguifluus ; Hypomyces aurantius is a yellowish-orange mold found on the spore-bearing surface of senescent polypores; Hypomyces luteovirens is an olive-colored species, occasional in California, that attacks the gills of Russula spp; Hypomyces cervigenus is the common whitish to pinkish mold seen on the surface of Helvella lacunosa ; finally Hypomyces hyalinus , is a pallid species which attacks Amanita species, especially Amanita novinupta .

  • References

    Arora, D. (1986). Mushrooms Demystified. Ten Speed Press: Berkeley, CA. 959 p.
    Desjardin, D.E., Wood, M.G. & Stevens, F.A. (2015). California Mushrooms: The Comprehensive Identification Guide. Timber Press: Portland, OR. 560 p.
    Rogerson, C.T. & Samuels, G.J.
    (1994). Agaricicolous Species of Hypomyces . Mycologia 86: 839-866.
    Siegel, N. & Schwarz, C. (2016). Mushrooms of the Redwood Coast. Ten Speed Press: Berkeley, CA. 601 p.

  • Other Descriptions and Photos Main Photo
    • Arora (1991): p. 248 (D & CP)
    • Lincoff: p. 373 (D). pl. 294, 429 (CP)
    • McKenny: p. 207 (D & CP)
    • Miller: sp. 422 (D & CP)
    • Orr & Orr: p. 44 (D). pl. 10 (CP)
    • Phillips: p. 312 (D). p. 313 (CP)
    • Smith (1975): sp. 16 (D & CP)

    (D=Description; I=Illustration; P=Photo; CP=Color Photo)

The Fungi of California
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Updated: 2021-01-17 00:15:34 gmt
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