Hundreds of species of mushrooms compose the genus Clitocybe
. They are characterized by white spore prints
, gills running down the stem, and pale white to brown or lilac coloration. They are primarily saprotrophic
, decomposing forest ground litter.
A few members of the genus are considered edible; many others are poisonous, containing the toxin muscarine among others. Distinguishing individual species of Clitocybe is generally prohibitively difficult to non-experts, requiring the analysis of microscopic characters. Therefore, with the exception of a few charismatic and readily identified members, Clitocybe mushrooms are rarely collected for consumption.
Recent molecular work has shown the genus to be polyphyletic, with many members seemingly distantly related and other fungi, such as the field blewit and wood blewit, now known as Clitocybe saeva and C. nuda respectively, are more closely related. As C. clavipes is the type species, those most distantly related to it would be likely to be reclassified in the future.
The consumption of two species, Clitocybe acromelalga
from Japan, and Clitocybe amoenolens
from France, has led to several cases of mushroom-induced erythromelalgia
which lasted from 8 days to 5 months.
List of species
The bioluminescent jack o'lantern mushroom (Omphalotus olearius) was formerly placed in this genus as Clitocybe illudens.
- Bessette, A. E., Roody, W. C. & Bessette, A. R. (2000). North American boletes: A color guide to the fleshy pored mushrooms. China: Syracuse UP. 399 pp.
- Bruns, T. D. & Palmer, J. D. (1989). Evolution of mushroom mitochondrial DNA: Suillus and related genera. Journal of Molecular Evolution 28: 349-362.
- Smith, A. H., Smith, H. V. & Weber, N. S. (1981). How to know the non-gilled mushrooms. Dubuque, Iowa: Wm. C. Brown. 324 pp.