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Cortinarius archeri (Family Cortinariaceae)

Distribution:

Cortinarius archeri is widespread in eucalypt forests and woodlands. The distribution shown on the map is based on herbarium records and reliable sightings. It is likely that this species has a wider distribution than that shown on the map. However there has been little work on the distribution of Australian fungi and there are surprisingly few herbarium specimens of even the common species. (ACT, NSW, QLD, VIC, SA, TAS, WA).

Features:

This mushroom usually has a sticky to slimy cap, though it may be dry in warm or dry conditions. The cap is often up to 10 cm in diameter and occasionally reaching 15 cm. The caps are initially violet or purple but turn brown with age. In young specimens the cap is convex but flattens with age and may end up quite flat, or even with the margins slightly raised above the centre. When young there is a sticky, cobwebby, purplish partial veil that extends from the edge of the cap to the stem. As the cap expands, it ruptures the veil, but you may be able to make out the fibrillose remnants high on the stem. The stem can also be quite slimy and is coloured purple below the veil attachment, paler lilac above that point. In contrast to the cap, the stem keeps the purplish colours. The gills are brown, but with lilac tints.

Occasionally you may see just one mushroom, but mostly they appear in small groups, sometimes in small clusters with the bases of the stems touching.

Spore print: rusty brown. Basidiomycete.

Ecology/Way of Life:

The mushrooms of this mycorrhizal fungus appear on the ground.

Other Comments:

The type specimen of this endemic species was collected in Tasmania. There are a couple of macroscopically similar species – Cortinarius microarcheri and Cortinarius subarcheri. They are easily distinguished by spore features, but in the latter two species the mushroom caps are smaller – with diameters between 2 and 6 cm.

Further Reading:

Bougher, N. & Syme, K. (1998). Fungi of Southern Australia, University of Western Australia Press.

Grgurinovic, C.A. (1997). Larger Fungi of South Australia. Botanic Gardens of Adelaide and State Herbarium.

Acknowledgments:

Text and map by Heino Lepp. Image by Bruce Fuhrer.
More images of this and other fungal species available in: A Field Guide to Australian Fungi

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