Cortinarius argentatus

Cortinarius husseyiKey to Gilled Mushrooms     Key
This is a key to gilled mushrooms, that is, mushrooms having a definite cap with a fertile surface consisting of gills. The fruiting body usually also has a stem, although that may be lateral or absent (usually, then, the mushroom is growing from wood). You can use this key to identify mushrooms that you find.

TricholomaAgaricales     Order
Fruiting body containing fibers (usually in the stalk)

Inocybe pyriodoraBrown, Olive, Orange or Tan Spored     Suborder
Gills not free
Spore print tan, orange, deep ochre, yellowish olive, olive brown, rusty or cinnamon brown or deep brown
Ring usually either absent or not membranous

Cortinarius semisanguineusTerrestrial Brown Spored     Family
Growing on the ground

Cortinarius JD1Cortinarius     Genus
With a cobwebby partial veil called a cortina
Stem often much wider at the base
Spore print usually rusty brown or cinnamon brown

Cortinarius obliquusSericeocybe     Subgenus
Not sticky anywhere
Cap not hygrophanous
Fruiting body with purple to lilac coloration

Cortinarius obliquusSilvery Lilac Sericeocybe     Section
Entire fruiting body silvery lilac
Flesh white to pale lilac, not mottled
Gills usually purple, until colored rusty brown by developing spores

Cortinarius argentatus     (Persoon: Fries) Fries

Here are the characters that distinguish this species from the others in its group. For its more general characters, see higher up on the page.
If there's just a few words or a microscopic feature here, a more thorough description can be found above.


Microscropic Characters


There seem to be several different conceptions of this species floating around. It is given by several authors as a lookalike for Cortinarius alboviolaceus (along with its lookalike, Cortinarius subargentatus), but lacking the white universal veil material on the stalk base.

In comparing it with Cortinarius alboviolaceus, Arora (1986) says that C. argentatus has a bigger basal bulb, is bluer but tends to turn ochre in age, and has a radishlike odor. In his view, Cortinarius subargentatus is identical but lacks the odor.
R. Phillips (1991) simply gives Cortinarius subargentatus as a lookalike, but says that it lacks the sheating universal veil material.

N. S. Weber & A. H. Smith (1985) do not discuss similarities between the taxa and only give an entry for C. argentatus. However, white patches are clearly visible on the base of the clavate stalk in their photo; perhaps they consider it synonymous with Cortinarius alboviolaceus. As you can see the spores are about the same size, but then almost all Sericeocybes have spores that size, so who knows how significant that is.
Lincoff (1987) and A. E. Bessette, D. W. Fischer & A. R. Bessette (1997) are discreetly silent on this issue.

As soon as I learn The Truth, I will let you know...