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Gymnopus

Field characters

Pileus: convex to planar, smooth, dry to viscid usually colored buff or light brown
Annulus: absent
Stipe: fragile and cartilaginous
Stature: usually Collybioid
Ecology: saprophyte (parasite?)
97J14U_5_1_Collybia_dryophila_Bull_ex_Fr_Kumm.jpg

Micro characters

Basidiospores: usually small, subglobose, inamyloid without germ pore
Cystidia: cheilocystidia usually present, pleurocystidia usually absent
Spore Print: white to cream
Lamellae: free to adnate, crowded
Lamellar Trama: regular
Pileipellis: a clavicutis or an ixoclavicutis

Notes

The genus Agaricus tribe Collybia Fries (1821) originally included white spored small mushrooms with a fleshy-membranous pileus and a hollow stipe (Halling, 1983). In that monograph and then later (www.nybg.org/bsci/res/col/colintro.html) Halling separated Collybia into three genera: Rhodocollybia, Collybia and Gymnopus. The reader is referred to the website for keys to the genera. Much of the separation is based upon the structure of the pileipellis, although Rhodocollybia has pink spores.

Not all accept this breakup of Collybia. For instance, Arora, 1986 and Bessette et al., 1997 still use Collybia, while Barron, 1999 and Roody, 2003 accept the separation. Barron, 1999 notes that most of our common species now belong to the genus Gymnopus , e.g. G. dryophila and G. confluens. The former is very common on leaf litter in the Berkshire all summer through early fall..

The Mushroom Expert.com has an interesting take on this debate. See:

Kuo, M. (2004, January). Key to Collybia, what used to be Collybia, and mushrooms kind of like what used to be Collybias, in North America. Retrieved from the Mushroom Expert Web site: www.bluewillowpages.com/mushroomexpert/collybioid_01.html