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Psathyrella spec. - Lindsey 1a.jpg
Psathyrella gracilis
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Agaricales
Family: Psathyrellaceae
Genus: Psathyrella
(Fr.) Quél. (1872)
Type species
Psathyrella gracilis
(Fr.) Quél. (1872)

Psathyrella is a large genus of about 400 species,[1] and is similar to the genera Coprinellus, Coprinopsis, Coprinus and Panaeolus, usually with a thin cap and white or yellowish white hollow stem. The caps do not self digest as do those of Coprinellus and Coprinopsis. Some also have brown spores rather than black. These fungi are often drab-colored, difficult to identify, and all members are considered inedible or worthless (for eating) and so they are oft overlooked. However they are quite common and can occur at times when there are few other mushrooms to be seen. The first report of a gilled mushroom fruiting underwater is Psathyrella aquatica.[2]

The genus name Psathyrella is a diminutive form of Psathyra, derived from the Greek word meaning "friable", psathuros (ψαθυρος).


In order to identify the species it may be necessary to take into account the presence and nature of any veil remnants on cap (which may only be visible on very young fruiting bodies), the colour of young fruiting bodies, which is often more vivid than with older ones, whether the cap is hygrophanous (it can well be a translucent brown or ochre colour in a humid state but a pure opaque white on drying out), and the spore size and the presence and nature of cheilocystidia, pleurocystidia and caulocystidia, distinctive sterile cells on the gill face, gill edge and stipe respectively.

Gordon Hillman incident[edit]

In the BBC series "Wild Food", Gordon Hillman recalled an incident where he was accidentally given a sample of an unknown Psathyrella species instead of edible mushrooms. After consuming it, Hillman drank a glass of beer and suffered an adverse reaction, suffering blue-and-white monochrome vision followed by memory problems and breathing difficulties. Hillman wrote "Psathyrella" on a piece of paper which he attached to his chest and later recovered after having his stomach pumped.

Selected species[edit]

For complete list see List of Psathyrella species


  1. ^ Kirk PM, Cannon PF, Minter DW, Stalpers JA. (2008). Dictionary of the Fungi (10th ed.). Wallingford, UK: CAB International. p. 564. ISBN 978-0-85199-826-8.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  2. ^ Frank JL, Coffan RA, Southworth D. (2010). "Aquatic gilled mushrooms: Psathyrella fruiting in the Rogue River in southern Oregon". Mycologia. 102 (1): 93–107. doi:10.3852/07-190. PMID 20120233.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  • Marcel Bon : The Mushrooms and Toadstools of Britain and North-Western Europe (Hodder & Stoughton, 1987). ISBN 0-340-39935-X

External links[edit]