This section is from the book "Studies of American Fungi: Mushrooms, Edible, Poisonous, Etc.", by George Francis Atkinson. Also available from Amazon: Studies of American Fungi: Mushrooms, Edible, Poisonous, Etc..
The genus Gomphidius has a slimy or glutinous universal veil enveloping the entire plant when young, and for a time is stretched over the gills as the pileus is expanding. The gills are somewhat mucilaginous in consistency, are distant and decurrent on the stem. The gills are easily removed from the under surface of the pileus in some species by peeling off in strips, showing the imprint of the gills beneath the projecting portions of the pileus, which extended part way between the laminae of the gills. The spores in some species are blackish, and for this reason the genus has been placed by many with the black-spored agarics, while its true relationship is probably with the genus Hygropkorus or Paxillus.
The description given by Peck for this plant in the 48th Report, p. 12, 1895, reads as follows :
"Pileus convex, or nearly plane, pale, brownish red, covered with a tough gluten, which becomes black in drying, flesh firm, whitish; lamellae distant, decurrent, some of them forked, white, becoming smoky brown, black in the dried plant; stem subequal, longer than the diameter of the pileus, glutinous, solid, at first whitish, especially at the top, soon blackish by the drying of the gluten, whitish within, slightly tinged with red toward the base; spores oblong fusoid, 15-25 µ long, 6-7 µ broad. Pileus 1-2 inches broad; stem 1.5-2.5 inches long, 2-4 lines thick."
"This species is easily known by the blackening gluten which smears both pileus and stem, and even forms a veil by which the lamellae in the young plant are concealed. In the dried state the whole plant is black."
"Under pine trees, Westport, September."
What appears to he the same plant was collected by me at
Blowing Rock, N. C, under a pine tree, in September, 1899 (No. 3979 C. U. herbarium).
The notes taken on the fresh plant are as follows :
Very viscid, with a thick, tough viscid cuticle, cortina or veil viscid, and collapsing on the stem, forming coarse, walnut-brown or dark vinaceous reticulations, terminating abruptly near the gills, or reaching them.
The stem is white underneath the slimy veil covering, tough, fibrous, continuous, and not separable from the hymeno-phore, tapering below.
The pileus is convex, the very thin margin somewhat incurved, disk expanded, uneven, near the center cracked into numerous small viscid brownish are-oles; pileus flesh color, flesh same color except toward the gills. Gills dark drab gray, arcuate, distant, decurrent, many of them forked, separating easily from the hymenophore, peeling off in broad sheets, and leaving behind corresponding elevations of the hymenophore which extended between the laminae of the lamellae. Pileus 7 cm. in diameter; stem 4-5 cm. long by 2 cm. diameter.
Gomphidius nigricans. Side and under view showing forked gills, and reticulate collapsed patches of dark slime on stem. Cap flesh color, gills dark gray; entire plant black when dried (natural size). Copyright.
In drying, the entire plant as well as the gluten becomes black, on the pileus a shining black.
The spores are rusty to dark brown, or nearly black, fusoid or oblong, and measure 15-22 x 5-6 µ.
In Fig. 50 a side and under view of the plant are given, and in Fig. 51 a view after a portion of the lamellae have been peeled off, showing how nicely the separation takes place, as well as showing the forked character of the lamellae and the processes of the pileus, which extend between the laminae of the lamellae.
Gomphidius nigricans. Under view with portion of gills stripped off from hymenophore, showing forked character of gills (natural size). Copyright.
This plant seems to be very near Gomphidius glutinosus (Schaeff.), Fr., if not identical with it, though the illustrations cited in Schaeffer and in Krombholz seem to indicate a stouter plant. The descriptions say nothing as to the appearance of the dried plant.