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Clitocybe nebularis Italy.jpg
Clitocybe nebularis
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Agaricales
Family: Tricholomataceae
Genus: Clitocybe
(Fr.) Staude (1857)[1]
Type species
Clitocybe nebularis
(Batsch) P.Kumm. (1871)
  • Agaricus subtrib. Dasyphylli Fr. (1821)
  • Agaricus trib. Clitocybe Fr. (1821)
  • Trigonipes Velen. (1939)
  • Clitocybe subgen. Pseudolyophyllum Singer (1943)
  • Singerella Harmaja (1974)
  • Pseudolyophyllum (Singer) Raithelh. (1979)

Clitocybe is a genus of mushrooms characterized by white, off-white, buff, cream, pink, or light-yellow spores, gills running down the stem, and pale white to brown or lilac coloration. They are primarily saprotrophic, decomposing forest ground litter. There are estimated to be around 300 species in the widespread genus.[3]

Clitocybe means sloping head.

A few members of the genus are considered edible; many others are poisonous, containing the toxin muscarine among others. Distinguishing individual species of Clitocybe is generally prohibitively difficult to non-experts, requiring the analysis of microscopic characters. Therefore, with the exception of a few charismatic and readily identified members, Clitocybe mushrooms are rarely collected for consumption.


Clitocybe was originally proposed by Elias Fries in 1821 as a tribe in the genus Agaricus. Friedrich Staude elevated it to generic status in 1857.[1]

Recent molecular work has shown the genus to be polyphyletic: many members are seemingly distantly related and other fungi, such as the field blewit and wood blewit, now known as Clitocybe saeva and C. nuda respectively, are more closely related.

As C. nebularis is the type species,[4] those most distantly related to it would be likely to be reclassified in the future. In a 2003 paper, Finnish mycologist Harri Harmaja proposed C. geotropa and twelve other Clitocybe species be split off into a new genus Infundibulicybe on the basis of spore properties. His C. clavipes was later transferred to the genus Ampulloclitocybe by Redhead and colleagues,[4] that genus name taking precedence over Harmaja's proposed Clavicybe.[5] Other former Clitocybe species have been placed in the genera Atractosporocybe, Leucocybe and Rhizocybe.[6]


The consumption of two species, Clitocybe acromelalga from Japan,[7] and Clitocybe amoenolens from France,[8] has led to several cases of mushroom-induced erythromelalgia which lasted from 8 days to 5 months.[9]

Clitocybe odora

Many small Clitocybe species contain the toxin muscarine, which was originally found in small amounts in the famous fly agaric. However, the small white Clitocybe species contain muscarine in dangerous amounts, and two species in particular, the closely related Clitocybe dealbata and Clitocybe rivulosa, contain muscarine in such amounts that deaths have been recorded for eating those two Clitocybe species.

Selected species[edit]

The bioluminescent jack o'lantern mushroom (Omphalotus olearius) was formerly placed in this genus as Clitocybe illudens.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Staude F. (1857), Die Schwämme Mitteldeutschlands, in besondere des Herzogthums (in German), 1, pp. 1–150, Wikidata Q105666208
  2. ^ "Synonymy: Clitocybe (Fr.) Staude". Species Fungorum. CAB International. Retrieved 2015-03-24.
  3. ^ Kirk PM, Cannon PF, Minter DW, Stalpers JA (2008). Dictionary of the Fungi (10th ed.). Wallingford, UK: CABI. p. 152. ISBN 978-0-85199-826-8.
  4. ^ a b Redhead, S.A.; et al. (2002a). "Phylogeny of agarics: partial systematics solutions for core omphalinoid genera in the Agaricales (euagarics)". Mycotaxon. 83: 19–57."Archived copy" (PDF). Mycotaxon. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-09-20. Retrieved 2009-03-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ Harmaja, Harri (2003). "Notes on Clitocybe s. lato (Agaricales)" (PDF). Annales Botanici Fennici. 40: 213–18.
  6. ^ Alvarado P, Moreno G, Vizzini A, Consiglio G, Manjón JL, Setti L (2015). "Atractosporocybe, Leucocybe and Rhizocybe, three new clitocyboid genera in the Tricholomatoid clade (Agaricales) with notes on Clitocybe and Lepista". Mycologia. 107 (1): 123–36. doi:10.3852/13-369. PMID 25344261. S2CID 22901826. Retrieved 2015-03-01.
  7. ^ Ichimura, J (1918). "A new poisonous mushroom". Bot Gaz (Tokyo). 65: 10911.
  8. ^ Saviuc PF, Danel VC, Moreau PA, Guez DR, Claustre AM, Carpentier PH, Mallaret MP, Ducluzeau R (2001). "Erythromelalgia and mushroom poisoning". J Toxicol Clin Toxicol. 39 (4): 403–07. doi:10.1081/CLT-100105162. PMID 11527236. S2CID 32805160.
  9. ^ Diaz, James H. (2005). "Syndromic diagnosis and management of confirmed mushroom poisonings". Critical Care Medicine. 33 (2): 427–36. doi:10.1097/01.CCM.0000153531.69448.49. PMID 15699849. S2CID 24492593.
  10. ^ Phillips, Roger (2010). Mushrooms and Other Fungi of North America. Buffalo, NY: Firefly Books. p. 59. ISBN 978-1-55407-651-2.
  11. ^ "Cultivation of Giant clitocybe".

External links[edit]