Can. J. Bot. 57(16): 1724. 1979.
Common Name: none
Fruiting body hypogeous, subglobose, obovoid, to pulvinate, 10-15 tall x 10-25 mm broad; surface even to bumpy with shallow furrows and depressions, typically attached to substrate with conspicuous white rhizomorphs; peridium white, thin, less than 1 mm thick, discoloring brownish where handled or bruised (pinkish with 5% KOH), glabrous at first, often overlain with rhizomorphs at maturity; gleba white, unchanging, firm to rubbery, densely packed with small, white, gel-filled locules, 1-2 per mm, fresh specimens exuding a white, sticky fluid when sectioned; odor indistinct to variable: when fresh like that of maple sugar with a hint of acetone, reported to be like celery salt when dried; taste untried.
Spores globose to subglobose, 9.5-12.5 µm including ornamentation, hyaline, covered with short spines embedded in a thick sheath, inamyloid.
Solitary to gregarious, buried in duff of conifers: pines (Pinus spp.), Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and true fir (Abies spp.); widely distributed; fruiting spring and fall in the Sierra Nevada and northern Coast Ranges; locally common.
Leucophleps spinispora is a small, white basidiomycete “truffle,” often found buried in the duff with attached white rhizomorphs. It is recognized by a whitish, irregularly shaped fruiting body discoloring brown when bruised, and a white, dense, loculate gleba that exudes a whitish gel-like liquid when cut. Microscopically the spores of Leucophleps spinispora are distinctive: globose with a thick exterior sheath in which are embedded short spines. A less common Leucophleps species, but with a similar distribution and host preference, L. magnata, has a white to pale yellow peridium and larger spores, 15-17 microns in diameter. Leucophleps spinispora can be confused with a number of unrelated whitish basidiomycete “truffles.” Two Hysterangium species, H. separabile and H. crassirhachis, common under montane conifers in the spring, mimic Leucophleps spinispora with a whitish peridium, but their fruiting bodies bruise pinkish to pinkish-brown (not medium brown) and their gleba/s are olive green. Several hypogeous members of the family Russulaceae are also similar but can be distinguished by spores with amyloid ornamentation.
Albee-Scott, S. (2007). The phylogenetic placement of the Leucogastrales, including Mycolevis siccigleba (Cribbeaceae), in the Albatrellaceae using morphological and molecular data. Mycol. Res. 111(6): 653-662.
Fogel, R. (1979). The genus Leucophleps (Basidiomycetes, Leucogastrales). Can. J. Bot. 57: 1718-1728. (Protologue)