The Santa Cruz Mycoflora Project

A Comprehensive Reference to the Macrofungi of Santa Cruz County

Genus: Mycena

Family: Mycenaceae

Mycena aurantiomarginata

Mycena aurantiomarginata

Mycena aurantiomarginata Mycena bulliformis Mycena californiensis Mycena capillaripes
Mycena galopus Mycena haematopus Mycena oregonensis Mycena pura

Known Species in the County

Approximately 21 species in Santa Cruz County.

Mycena Records from Santa Cruz County:

Mycena are very familiar mushrooms of the winter conifer forests, often fruiting in immense numbers and forming 'carpets' in the duff. The typically broadly-conical to conical striate caps, tall, very slender stature, and pallid gills distinguish the genus from most others. Atheniella are very similar in most respects, and were only recently segregated from Mycena. Most (with some exceptions) of the species in our area are evenly brightly colored.

All are saprobic, preferring deep leaf and/or needle duff, but some grow on moderate-sized wood debris. None are valuable as food, and none are known to be toxic.

The diversity of the genus in our area is uncertain but likely quite high. The gray and brown species are difficult to distinguish from one another without familiarity and practice.

Important identification characters include coloration, texture of the cap and stipe surface (this can be very fine and delicate so handle the fruitbodies carefully), presence or absence of liquid exuding from the base of the stipe when broken, substrate (needles, leaves, wood, duff?), and many microscopic details of the pileipellis, lamellar and stipe cystidia, and spores.