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Favolaschia calocera R. Heim - Orange Porecap

Phylum: Basidiomycota - Class: Agaricomycetes - Order: Agaricales - Family: Mycenaceae

Favolaschia calocera, Orange Porecap, Cornwall, England

Look out for these rare poroid mushrooms in damp deciduous broadleaf or mixed woodlands, where they grow most often on fallen twigs and branches.

Favolaschia calocera, Orange Porecap, southwest England

Most members of the family Mycenaceae species have dull caps, central stems and pale gills, but these bright orange relatives of the bonnet mushrooms have large pores and lateral stems, giving them the appearance of miniature ping-pong bats.

Distribution

In Britain the Orange Porecap is a recent introduction (or maybe the appearance of this sub-tropical species is the result of global warming); it is currently recorded from Devon and Cornwall. This striking pored member of the family Mycenaceae originated in Madagascar, from where it spread - presumably when timber was being shipped - to Australia and New Zealand. Over the past couple of decades the Orange Porecap has been spreading acroos Europe, and its range now includes parts of Italy, Spainlittle bonnet mushroom occurs throughout mainland Europe and many other parts of the world including North America.

Favolaschia calocera on dead fallen branch

Taxonomic history

French mycologist Roger Heim (1900 - 1979), who recorded this little wood-rotting fungus as early as 1945, created the first valid description of this species in 1966, giving it the scientific name Favolaschia calocera by which it is still known today. (Heim worked for some time in Mexico with the ethnomycologist Robert Gordon Wasson, studying, inter alia, hallucinogenic mushrooms in the genera Psilocybe and Stropharia.)

Etymology

Calo- as a prefix means beautiful, while the extension -cera comes from ancient Greek and means 'like wax', so that the specific epithet calocera translates to 'beautiful and waxy'

Identification guide

Cap of Favolaschia calocera

Cap

0.5 to 2cm across; broadly convex,infertile surface (left) smooth when young then developing undulations in a pattern corresponding to the pores on the fertile surface; lobed either side of the lateral stem to for a kidney shape; bright orange when fres, turning brownish orange when dry.

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Pore surface of Favolaschia calocera

Pores

0.3 to 2.5mm across, larger ellipsoidal pores nearest to the stem and smaller more angular pores near the cap margin; bright orange.

Stems of Favolaschia calocera

Stem

0.8 to 2.5mm diameter, 1.5 to 15mm long; cylindrical or tapering slightly towards apex; orange, smooth; no stem ring.

Cheilocystidium of Favolaschia calocera

Cheilocystidia

Cystidia on the pore edges are acanthocysts (cystidia covered in tiny rod-like projecting diverticulae); 8.5-14 x 35-52µm, mostly cylindrical to subclavate, apex rounded.

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Pleurocystidia of Favolaschia calocera

Pleurocystidia and pileocystidia

Cystidia on the tube walls and in the pileipellis are mainly cylindrical or narrowly clavate gloeocysts (filled with oily/granular dark-coloured material); 8.5-12.5µm diameter and typically 30µm long..

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Spore of Favolaschia calocera

Spores

Ovoid or ellipsoidal, smooth, 9-12.5 x 6.5-8.5µm; hyaline; weakly amyloid. (Basidia mostly two-spored.)

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Spore print

White.

Odour/taste

Not distinctive.

Habitat & Ecological role

Saprophytic, gregarious on rotten wood such as Elder Sambucus nigra, Sycamore Acer pseudoplatanus, and Beech Fagus sylvatica.

Season

July to November in Britain and Ireland.

Similar species

Orange Porecap is very distinctive and unlikely to be confused with any other species in Britain; however, it's worth noting that elsewhere in the world there are more than 50 other Favolaschia species.

Culinary notes

These little fungi are of no culinary interest. It is unclear whether they are toxic or not.

Favolaschia calocera, view oif pore surfaces

Reference Sources

Invasion of the Orange Ping-Pong Bats: the rapidly changing distribution of Favolaschia calocera; A. Martyn Ainsworth, David Farley, Paul Gainey, Pauline Penna & Laura M. Suz; Field Mycology Volume 16 (4) Oct. 2015, British Mycological Society.

The basidiomycete genus Favolaschia in New Zealand; P.R. Johnston , S.R. Whitton , P.K. Buchanan , D. Park , S.R. Pennycook , J. E. Johnson & J. M. Moncalvo; New Zealand Journal of Botany, 2006, Vol. 44: 65-87

Dictionary of the Fungi; Paul M. Kirk, Paul F. Cannon, David W. Minter and J. A. Stalpers; CABI, 2008

Taxonomic history and synonym information on these pages is drawn from many sources but in particular from the British Mycological Society's GB Checklist of Fungi and (for basidiomycetes) on Kew's Checklist of the British & Irish Basidiomycota.

Acknowledgements

This page includes pictures kindly contributed by Simon Harding.

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