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Inocybe

Field characters

Pileus: fibrous / fibrillose, often splitting radially, with remains of cortina on the edges, usually brown in color; umbonate to conic
Annulus: a cortina usually present
Stipe: a fine powder present at the apex.
Stature: Tricholomatoid, Naucorioid, Clitocyboid
Ecology: saprophytic on humus (ectomycorrhizal, according to Arora, 1986, and www.mycokey.com)

Micro characters

Basidiospores: spores smooth or nodose (with knobs), no germ pore.
Hyphae: with clamps
Cystidia: pleuro- and cheilocystidia generally present and quite large
Spore Print: brown
Lamellae: adnexed, adnate, often sinuate, often with a light-colored edge
Lamellar Trama: regular
Pileipellis: rectocutis or trichoderm (www.mycokey.com)

Notes

Clearly not Arora, 1986's favorite mushrooms:
"Inocybe is a large listless and lackluster assemblage of mundane, malodorous brown mushrooms that are of little interest to the average mushroom hunter except that many are poisonous…They come in an endless, senseless progression of boring browns, yucky yellows, gratuitous grays and wishy-washy whites…Almost without exception they not only qualify as LBM’s, but as BUM’s. And it is necessary to know the size and shape of the spores and cystidia before an accurate identification can be made."

Get out the microscopes!

This is a large genus. Bessette et al., 1997 describe six common species.

There seems to be some disagreement over the type species of this genus. As I said in the introduction, I am following Singer, 1986 for now.