Xerula     Genus

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)

Amanita onustaWhite Spored     Suborder
Spore print "light-colored": white or buff, sometimes tinged with pink or tan. Greenish and (except for the Russulales) yellow spore prints also go here
Stalk fibrous, not fracturing like a piece of chalk

TricholomataceaeTricholomataceae     Family
None of the special features distinguishing the other white-spored genera:
Gills not free, as in the Lepiotas and Amanitas
Basidia not extra-long, as in the Hygrophoraceae
Spores smooth, except for Lentinellus

TricholomaTerrestrial Trich     Subfamily
Growing on the ground

Xerula megalosporaWoodland Rooting Trich     Tribe
Stalk growing into the ground like a root
Growing in woods

Xerula     Genus     R. Maire

Xerula megalospora


Microscropic Characters


Some of our local Xerulas. The one on the right is probably a different species than the two on the left, but we never did get them positively identified
Redhead, Ginns & Shoemaker (1987) , the modern authority for this genus, lists the stems on all of these as up to 5" long, but it seems to me that I've found them much taller than that. A. E. Bessette, D. W. Fischer & A. R. Bessette (1997) 's measurement of up to 8" for Xerula furfuracea seems much more reasonable.
I'm willing to accept 5" on the others :-)

Narrow down your identification:

Xerula furfuraceaXerula furfuracea
Cap up to 4 3/4" across
Stem covered with brown iridescent caulocystidia, often distributed in bands

Xerula megalosporaXerula megalospora
Cap up to 3" across, more on the greyish side than the other species
Odor of geraniums or carrots
Stem white
Spores quite long

Xerula radicataXerula radicata
Stem white
No odor
Spores smaller, rounder

Xerula rubrobrunnescens
Gill edges rusty brown
Entire fruiting body staining a darker rusty brown when cut or bruised
Cap a little more reddish than the other species

Xerula megalosporaXerula rugosoceps
Cap up to 2 1/2" across, pale brown to yellowish brown, with radiating ridges (not striations: too big and widely spaced)
Stem up to 3" long, pale brown