Traditionally Cortinarius includes mushrooms with a central stalk, extremely variable in size and colour, but always with a rusty-brown or cinnamon brown spore print and a "cortina" - a web-like veil covering the gills when immature, and remaining as a few whispy fragments on the stalk when mature. All ectomycorrhizal, these are the most common mushrooms on the ground in Nothofagus forests in autumn.
In recent years molecular studies have shown that features used to distinguish several Cortinarius-like genera, such as the presence of the robust ring on the stalk (e.g. Rozites), gelatinous caps or stalks (e.g. Myxacium, Phlegmacium) and truffle-like fruiting bodies (e.g. Thaxterogaster), have each evolved indepedently several times, and for now many of these genera have been incorporated into a morphologically extremely variable and taxonomically much expanded Cortinarius that is morphologically extremely variable..
More than 100 species of Cortinarius have been described from New Zealand, and many more species are known but remain undescribed. Rarely, if ever, found outside of native forests, where this ectomycorrhizal genus is restricted to forests with either Nothofagus or tea-tree.


NZFungi Entry

Cortinarius peraureus

One of the most common Cortinarius species in beech forest.

Thaxterogaster aurantiacus
(=Cortinarius peraurantiacus)

Thaxterogaster aurantiacus (= Cortinarius peraurantiacum), very short stalk, but well-developed internal columella.

Thaxterogaster porphyreus
(=Cortinarius porphyroideus)

Thaxterogaster porphyreus (= Cortinarius porphyreus). Common, bright purple species.

Cortinarius austrocyanites

One of the species with blue pigments in the flesh.

Cortinarius chrysma

A striking, bright golden-yellow species.

Cortinarius magellanicus

A bright purple species covered with a sticky slime. Genetically distinct from the macroscopically similar South American species given the same name.

Rozites castanellus
(=Cortinarius subcastanellus)

This dark brown species is the most common of New Zealand's Rozites species.

Rozites pallidus
(=Cortinarius achrous)

Characterised by the white, fibrillose patches embedded with the glutinous layer on the cap.