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Mycena galericulata 60303.jpg
Mycena galericulata
Scientific classification

(Pers.) Roussel (1806)
Type species
Mycena galericulata
(Scop.) Gray (1821)
See text
Mycena sp.
View the Mycomorphbox template that generates the following list
Mycological characteristics
gills on hymenium
cap is conical
hymenium is adnate
stipe is bare
spore print is white
ecology is saprotrophic
Mycena rubroglobulosa, Wellington, New Zealand.
The blue Pixies' Parasol (Mycena interrupta) growing on a log in East Gippsland (Australia).

Mycena is a large genus of small saprotrophic mushrooms that are rarely more than a few centimeters in width. They are characterized by a white spore print, a small conical or bell-shaped cap, and a thin fragile stem. Most are gray or brown, but a few species have brighter colors. Most have a translucent and striate cap, which rarely has an incurved margin. The gills are attached and usually have cystidia. Some species, like Mycena haematopus, exude a latex when the stem is broken, and many species have a chlorine-like odor.


Mycenas are hard to identify to species and some are distinguishable only by microscopic features such as the shape of the cystidia. Some species are edible, while others contain toxins, but the edibility of most is not known, as they are too small to be useful in cooking. Mycena cyanorrhiza stains blue and contains the hallucinogen psilocybin[1] and Mycena pura contains the mycotoxin muscarine.

Over 33 species are known to be bioluminescent,[2][3] creating a glow known as foxfire. These species are divided among 16 lineages, leading to evolutionary uncertainty in whether the luminescence developed once and was lost among many species, or evolved in parallel by several species. One advantage of bioluminescence may lie in its potential to attract insects that can disperse the mushroom's spores.[4]

Alexander Smith's 1947 Mycena monograph identified 232 species; the genus is now known to include about 500 species worldwide.[5] Maas Geesteranus divided the genus into 38 sections in 1992, providing keys to each for all the species of the Northern Hemisphere. Many new species have been discovered since then, and four new sections have been proposed. Taxonomy is complex, as most sections are not truly homogeneous, and the keys fail for some species, especially those that satisfy some criteria for only part of their life cycle. Some sections contain only one species.

The name Mycena comes from the Ancient Greek μύκης mykes, meaning "mushroom."[6] Species in the genus Mycena (and in Hemimycena) are commonly known as bonnets.[7]

Selected species[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gaston Guzman, John W. Allen & Jochen Gartz, "A Worldwide Geographical Distribution of the Neurotropic Fungi, An Analysis And Discussion",Vol14(1998), 189–280, 2000.[1]
  2. ^ Desjardin DE, Perry BA, Lodge DJ, Stevani CV, Nagasawa E (2010). "Luminescent Mycena: new and noteworthy species". Mycologia. 102 (2): 459–77. doi:10.3852/09-197. PMID 20361513.
  3. ^ Desjardin DE, Oliveira AG, Stevani CV (2008). "Fungi bioluminescence revisited". Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences. 7 (2): 170–82. doi:10.1039/b713328f. PMID 18264584.
  4. ^ Oliveira et al. 2015. Circadian Control Sheds Light on Fungal Bioluminescence. Current Biology, 25(7).
  5. ^ "National Geographic Photo in the News article". Archived from the original on 2018-01-23. Retrieved 2006-11-02.
  6. ^ Rea, Carleton (1922). British Basidiomycetaceae: a Handbook to the Larger British Fungi. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. p. 373.
  7. ^ "Recommended English Names for Fungi in the UK" (PDF). British Mycological Society. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-16.
  8. ^ a b c Chew AL, Tan YS, Desjardin DE, Musa MY, Sabaratnam V (2014). "Four new bioluminescent taxa of Mycena sect. Calodontes from Peninsular Malaysia". Mycologia. 106 (5): 976–88. doi:10.3852/13-274. PMID 24891424.
  9. ^ Takahashi; et al. (2016). The Agaric flora in Southwestern Japan. p. 209.

Further reading[edit]

  • Smith, Alexander Hancett. North American Species of Mycena. Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press, 1947.

External links[edit]