Mycena leaiana

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Mycena leaiana
The orange mycena, photographed in West Virginia, USA.
Mycena leaiana var. australis.jpg
Mature Mycena leaiana var. australis (note the faded orange colour) in Mount Field National Park.
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Agaricales
Family: Mycenaceae
Genus: Mycena
M. leaiana
Binomial name
Mycena leaiana
(Berk.) Sacc. (1891)
  • Agaricus leaianus Berk. (1845)
Mycena leaiana
View the Mycomorphbox template that generates the following list
gills on hymenium
cap is conical
hymenium is adnexed
stipe is bare
spore print is white
ecology is saprotrophic
edibility: unknown

Mycena leaiana, commonly known as the orange mycena or Lea's mycena, is a species of saprobic fungi in the genus Mycena, family Mycenaceae. Characterized by their bright orange caps and stalks and reddish-orange gill edges, they usually grow in dense clusters on deciduous logs. The pigment responsible for the orange color in this species has antibiotic properties. A variety of the species, Mycena leaiana var. australis, can be found in Australia[1] and New Zealand.[2]


Originally named Agaricus leajanus by the English biologist Miles Joseph Berkeley in 1845, Pier Andrea Saccardo was later (1891) to move it to the genus Mycena when the large genus Agaricus was divided. The species was named after Thomas Gibson Lea (1785–1844), a mushroom collector from Ohio who had sent a collection of specimens to Berkeley for identification.[3][4]


The hygrophanous cap is 1 to 4 centimetres (0.39 to 1.57 in) in diameter, and initially rounded or bell-shaped but becoming expanded and convex with age, often with a depression in the center.[5] The color is a bright orange that fades as the mushroom matures. The surface of the cap is sticky, especially in moist weather, and smooth, while the margin often has striations. The trama is soft, watery, and white. The gills are adnexed in attachment (gills narrowly attached/tapering toward stem so that their attachment is almost free), crowded together, and yellowish in color, with the color deepening to bright orange-red at the edges. The deepening in color at the edges is due to an orange pigment that is contained largely within cells called cheilocystidia.[4] If handled, the yellow pigment will rub off and stain the skin.[6]

The stipe is typically 3 to 7 centimetres (1.2 to 2.8 in) long by 2–4 mm thick.[5] The diameter of the stipe is more or less equal throughout its length, although it may be slightly enlarged at the base. It is orange in color, and has fine hairs on the upper portion, and denser hairs at the base. The orange mycena has no distinctive taste, and a slightly mealy odor.[5] Spores are elliptical in shape, smooth, amyloid, and have dimensions of 7–10 × 5–6  μm.[5] The spore print is white.

The species is regarded as nonpoisonous.[7]

Mycena leaiana var. australis is a variety of Mycena leaiana found in Australia[1] and New Zealand.[2] In all but the color it is similar to M. leaiana. However, M. leaiana had been found primarily in the east of the United States (and specifically not on the Pacific coast at all) upon the discovery of specimens in Australia. Given this wide geographical separation (as well as the difference in cap color) a new varietal name was proposed.[1]

Habitat and distribution[edit]

Mycena leaiana is a common species, and grows in dense cespitose clusters (with stipes sharing a single point of origin) on hardwood logs and branches. It is a North American species, and has been reported throughout the eastern and central United States and Canada.[8] The variant Mycena leaiana var. australis can be found in Australia[1] and New Zealand.[2]

Bioactive compounds[edit]

Mycena leaiana produces the orange pigment leainafulvene, a member of the class of chemical compounds known as isoilludanes. Leainafulvene has weak antibacterial activity against Acinetobacter calcoaceticus, and has pronounced cytotoxic activity towards tumor cells. It also has mutagenic activity, as measured by the Ames test.[9]

Similar species[edit]

Mycena texensis A.H. Sm. (1937) is closely related, but has been described as having "grayish colors of the cap".[10] It is better distinguished microscopically: it has smaller spores, shorter and narrower basidia, and distinctive cystidia.[10]


  1. ^ a b c d R. W. G. Dennis (1955). "New or Interesting Queensland Agaricales". Kew Bulletin. Springer. 10 (1): 107–110. doi:10.2307/4113925. JSTOR 4113925.
  2. ^ a b c "Mycena leaiana var. australis". New Zealand Fungi Names Databases (NZFUNGI). New Zealand: Landcare Research. Archived from the original on 2 June 2022. Retrieved 3 June 2022. Biostatus: New Zealand - Present in region. Indigenous. Non endemic
  3. ^ Schalkwijk-Barendsen, Helene M. E. (1991). Mushrooms of Western Canada. Edmonton: Lone Pine Publishing. p. 275. ISBN 0-919433-47-2.
  4. ^ a b "Mycena leaiana, the orange Mycena, Tom Volk's Fungus of the Month for September 2005". Archived from the original on 2017-04-21. Retrieved 2009-02-11.
  5. ^ a b c d Rosanne A. Healy; Huffman, Donald R.; Lois H. Tiffany; George Knaphaus (2008). Mushrooms and Other Fungi of the Midcontinental United States (Bur Oak Guide). Iowa City: University of Iowa Press. p. 147. ISBN 978-1-58729-627-7.
  6. ^ "Mycena leaiana". Archived from the original on 2008-03-27. Retrieved 2009-02-11.
  7. ^ Miller Jr., Orson K.; Miller, Hope H. (2006). North American Mushrooms: A Field Guide to Edible and Inedible Fungi. Guilford, CN: FalconGuide. p. 166. ISBN 978-0-7627-3109-1.
  8. ^ "University of Michigan Herbarium Fungus Monographs: North American species of Mycena". Archived from the original on 2011-05-22. Retrieved 2009-02-10.
  9. ^ Harttig U, Anke T, Scherer A, Steglich W. (1990). "Leaianafulvene, a sesquiterpenoid fulvene derivative from cultures of Mycena leaiana". Phytochemistry 12: 3942–3944. Abstract Archived 2008-09-12 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ a b Smith AH. (1937). "Studies in the genus Mycena. IV". Mycologia 29(3): 338–354.