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Cortinarius caperatus (gypsy mushroom)

The specific name caperatus means wrinkled or creased. Before DNA studies on mushrooms, names were based on morphological features- the ones easily seen by the human eye. The use of better microscope later caused some changes in taxonomy. But the biggest changes have come about because of DNA analysis. Through this molecular study, mushrooms morphologically similar were found to share very little common genetic background. Conversely, mushrooms quite different from one another had very similar genetic histories. DNA analysis, therefore, has rewritten fungal taxonomy. Cortinarius caperatus is one of the species renamed because of DNA analysis. Formerly called Agaricus caperatus in 1796, it was renamed Rozites caperata, it has been moved around several genera, ending up Cortinarius for the second time in 2000. Unlike all other Corts, it has a membranous ring (easily seen here) instead of the cobwebby partial veil. This is one of the few choice edible Corts, minus the stem. Cortinarius caperatus has been quite common in the woods around Gander this year, first appearing in late August in some areas.

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Taken on September 28, 2011