Cortinarius albescens

Cortinarius albescens A.H. Sm., Lloydia 7 (3): 180 (1944) [MB#285690]

Cap 25-90 mm across, at first convex with broad umbo, spreading to plane, glutinous, variable in color from violaceous grey, buff, drab, cream to yellow-ochre on disc, cortina white, gills lavender, grayish-lavender, grey to cinnamon-brown, lavender tones may persist, stipe 50 – 120 mm long, 6 – 14 mm wide at apex, thick, solid, equal to bulbous base, ridged at first, flesh pale grayish-lavender to lavender-streaked, then cream with yellow context in base and violaceous-grey at stipe apex, taste strongly bitter, odor sharp to indistinct on WA specimens, but CA specimens have odor of green corn, KOH yellow on flesh to no rxn.

Sequenced: SDA 659 – A pale collection with violaceus-grey young fruit-bodies and yellow-grey mature specimens. All were sharply bitter in taste.
A California collection showing darker young gills with lilac tones, darker mature gills and warmer ochre cap coloration. Overall stature and tones are constant, as is bitter cap and flesh. However, collections in this region have odor of green corn not noted in Smith’s description.
SDA 676 – A WA State collection in wet conditions showing more purple in the gill and more grey in the cap than earlier collections.
SDA 612 is an older more mature specimen with more pronounced yellow and cinnamon-yellow tones.

Cortinarius albescens is notable for it’s violaceous-grey gills, subdued cap tones (in shades from grey through buff to yellow ochre), long, firm, equal white stipe and small bulbous, marginate base. Smith suspected it was a Glaucopoid, and differentiated it by it’s bitter taste and “long white stipe at maturity”.

More recent phylogentic studies have placed C. albescens in Section Caerulescentes. A close NAm species appears to be Cortinarius volvatus.

In the most recent phylogenies, Cortinarius albescens is part of Section Caerulescentes. Source: Soop, K, Dima, B & Cooper. J et al (2019)

ITS: SDA 659 and NS4664 are a match to NR_130244.1 Cortinarius albescens MICH 10312 ITS region; from TYPE material

>SDA_659 & NS4664


Smith, Alexander H. “New and Interesting Cortinarii from North America.” Lloydia 7 (September 1944): 163–235.

Soop, K., B. Dima, J.A. Cooper, D. Park, and B. Oertel. “A Phylogenetic Approach to a Global Supraspecific Taxonomy of Cortinarius ( Agaricales ) with an Emphasis on the Southern Mycota.” Persoonia – Molecular Phylogeny and Evolution of Fungi 42, no. 1 (July 19, 2019): 261–90.

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  1. Hmm is anyone else encountering problems with the pictures on this blog loading? I’m trying to find out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.


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