Leucocoprinus birnbaumii

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Leucocoprinus birnbaumii
Leucocoprinus.JPG
Leucocoprinus birnbaumii in flowerpot
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Agaricales
Family: Agaricaceae
Genus: Leucocoprinus
Species: L. birnbaumii
Binomial name
Leucocoprinus birnbaumii
(Corda) Singer (1962)
Synonyms[1]

Leucocoprinus birnbaumii is a species of gilled mushroom in the family Agaricaceae. It is common in the tropics and subtropics, but in temperate regions frequently occurs in hothouses and flowerpots, hence its common names of flowerpot parasol and plantpot dapperling. Basidiocarps (fruit bodies) are poisonous, if consumed.

Leucocoprinus birnbaumii
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Mycological characteristics
gills on hymenium

cap is ovate

or campanulate
hymenium is free
stipe has a ring
spore print is white
ecology is saprotrophic
edibility: poisonous

Taxonomy[edit]

The species was first published as Agaricus luteus by the Yorkshire mycologist James Bolton who described and illustrated it from a pine-stove (pineapple hothouse) near Halifax in 1785.[2] Unfortunately, the name A. luteus had already been published for a different fungus, making Bolton's A. luteus illegitimate. Nonetheless, many popular North American books continued to use the name Lepiota lutea until the 1980s.[3][4] In 1839 Czech mycologist August Corda described the same species from Prague where it was found growing in a greenhouse by a garden inspector named Birnbaum, hence the epithet birnbaumii.[5]

English names[edit]

In the UK, Leucocoprinus birnbaumii has been given the recommended common name of "plantpot dapperling".[6] In North America, it has also been called the "yellow parasol",[3] "flowerpot parasol",[3] "yellow houseplant mushroom",[7] "lemon-yellow lepiota",[4] or "yellow pleated parasol".[8]

Description[edit]

Fruit bodies of Leucocoprinus birnbaumii are agaricoid (mushroom-shaped) and occur singly or in small clumps. All parts are bright, pale sulphur-yellow, but fade with age. When young, the cap is usually taller than broad, later becoming convex and around 20–60 mm (1–2.5 in) across. The cap surface is smooth but dotted with fine, easily detached scales, and often develops shallow, radial grooves near the margin. The gills are free (not attached to the stem) and are covered by a partial veil when young, which ruptures to leave a fragile, evanescent ring on the stem. Microscopically, the species is distinguished by its thick-walled, ellipsoid spores that are dextrinoid, have a germ pore, and measure around 8–12 by 5–9 μm.[9]

Yellow flowerpot parasol.

Similar species[edit]

Leucocoprinus straminellus is a similar, slightly paler (sometimes entirely whitish) species that may also occasionally appear in hothouses and plantpots in temperate regions. It is best distinguished microscopically by its smaller spores that lack a germ pore.[9] Leucocoprinus flavescens, described from North America, is also small-spored and has a yellowish cap with a brownish centre.[10] Leucocoprinus sulphurellus is a yellow species that occurs in the Caribbean area, but has gills that bruise bright blue-green.[5]

Habitat and distribution[edit]

Like all Leucocoprinus species, L. birnbaumii is a saprotroph, living on very decayed plant matter (humus or compost). The fungus is common throughout the tropics and subtropics, extending into warmer parts of the temperate zones. Rarely, it appears in cooler areas, fruit bodies having been recorded as far north as England,[11] but these seem to be temporary introductions. In these areas (such North America, Europe, and Australia) it is more usually found in hothouses and plant pots than in the wild.[7][12]

Toxicity and chemistry[edit]

Fruit bodies of Leucocoprinus birnbaumii are poisonous if consumed, causing significant stomach problems.[12][13]

The yellow pigment in the fruit bodies comes from novel alkaloid compounds that have been dubbed "birnbaumins".[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Vellinga EC. 2009. Nomenclatural overview of lepiotaceous fungi (Agaricaceae), Version 4.7 http://nature.berkeley.edu/brunslab/ev/vellinga_nomencl_v47_feb2009.pdf
  2. ^ Bolton, James (1788). An history of fungusses, growing about Halifax 2. Huddersfield, UK: self-published. p. 50. 
  3. ^ a b c Arora D. (1986). Mushrooms Demystified. Berkeley, USA: Ten Speed Press. p. 668. ISBN 0-89815-169-4. 
  4. ^ a b Lincoff GH. (1981). National Audubon Society field guide to mushrooms - North America. New York: AAKnopf. p. 381. ISBN 0-394-51992-2. 
  5. ^ a b Roberts P, Evans S. (2011). The Book of Fungi. Chicago, USA: Chicago University Press. p. 656. ISBN 978-0-226-72117-0. 
  6. ^ Holden EM. 2003. Recommended English names for fungi in the UK http://www.plantlife.org.uk/uploads/documents/recommended-english-names-for-fungi.pdf
  7. ^ a b Volk T. (2002). "Fungus of the Month for February 2002". Retrieved 2011-08-21. 
  8. ^ McKnight VB, McKnight KH. (1987). A field guide to mushrooms, North America. Boston, Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin. p. 448. ISBN 0-395-91090-0. 
  9. ^ a b Vellinga EC. (2001). Leucocoprinus in Flora Agaricina Neerlandica 5. Lisse, Netherlands: Balkema. pp. 76–84. ISBN 90-5410-494-5. 
  10. ^ Kuo M. (2007a). Leucocoprinus flavescens Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/leucocoprinus_flavescens.html
  11. ^ Legon NW, Henrici A. (2005). Checklist of the British & Irish Basidiomycota. Kew, UK: Royal Botanic Gardens. p. 517. ISBN 1-84246-121-4. 
  12. ^ a b Kuo, M. (2007b). Leucocoprinus birnbaumii. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/leucocoprinus_birnbaumii.html
  13. ^ Hall IR, et al. (2003). Edible and poisonous mushrooms of the world. Portland, USA: Timber Press. p. 371. ISBN 0-88192-586-1. 
  14. ^ Bartsch A, Bross M, Spiteller P, Spiteller M, and Steglich W. (2005). "Birnbaumin A and B: two unusual 1-hydroxyindole pigments from the "flower pot parasol" Leucocoprinus birnbaumii". Angewandte Chemie International Edition 44: 2957–2959. doi:10.1002/anie.200500082.