Squamanita paradoxa

Dr. Adolf Ceska contributed today’s photographs as well as a portion of the write-up. Until his retirement, Adolf worked as a botanist with the British Columbia Conservation Data Centre. He is also responsible for Botanical Electronic News, which he’s published since 1991. He and his partner Oluna are two of British Columbia’s pre-eminent field botanists.

Adolf writes:

Squamanita paraxoda, or powdercap strangler, is an extremely rare fungus and this is the first record for Canada. It is a parasitic fungus that grows from another mushroom, the common widespread Cystoderma amianthinum. The “wellingtons” at the base are in fact remnants of the host.”

“Oluna and I found it on November 27, 2009 on Observatory Hill in Victoria, exactly five years after Oluna started her inventory of macrofungi of Observatory Hill. So far, her inventory has yielded about 835 species from the area of about 75 hectares.”

For more on fungi parasitizing other fungi (mycoparasites), see Tom Volk’s entry on Hypomyces lactifluorum, the lobster mushroom (he jokingly refers to the phenomenon as “mycological cannibalism”). If you are keen on learning more about the genus Squamanita, Ian Gibson of the South Vancouver Island Mycological Society has assembled this key to

Squamanita paradoxa
Squamanita paradoxa

16 responses to “Squamanita paradoxa”

  1. Meg Bernstein

    Very fascinating.

  2. fuchsiafred

    what an unexpected survival strategy!

  3. tammy

    That is incredibly cool! I have heard of 1 other parasitic fungus of fungi, but this is a first for this one!

  4. EJ

    835 species seems like a lot to me, but I know nothing about macrofungi. Is it a high number?

  5. Stewart Wechsler

    Is that moss it is with Rhytidiadelphus loreus?

  6. Old Ari

    The important thing:- Is it edible?

  7. Stewart Wechsler

    No doubt it is edible, but the question is which organisms can eat it and to what effect.

  8. Derek

    835 does seem like a lot. Very impressive. Are they including lichen in that count?

  9. Margaret-Rae Davis

    This is wonderful to see and the write-up was so interesting. I will look into the book mentioned and the links also. I am so happy to be learning more each day.
    Thank you,

  10. elizabeth a airhart

    this page is more interesting every day
    i have been following the links
    do not miss them
    i can fathom the number florida blooms
    with mushroons after a rain all colors
    i will visit the mountain surely will
    if only by a virtual path
    thank you retired really fine photo


    Highly informative information.We don’t this kind of mushrooms in these parts.

  12. mario evangelista

    i found the whole picture very interesting… apparently touching.

  13. Leanne

    Great find! Thanks for sharing. I love the mushrooms and moss photos particularily.

  14. C.Wick

    Yeaaahhh! Again, we get to see fungi and it’s family here (neither of which are plants!). In my area of Kansas…we’ve now listed over 1500 species of fungi and mushrooms. This does not include molds or lichens. What an amazing world we are a part of.

  15. Lisa

    Love the “wellingtons”! I’m with Stewart, all mushrooms are “edible”… My question is, is it any good for making a dye from? (kidding, but it is an interest…)

  16. Marilyn Shaw

    “All mushrooms are edible. . . . . . some only once.”

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