Trial key to the species of PHOLIOTA in the Pacific Northwest

Prepared for the Pacific Northwest Key Council
By Kit Scates and Tina Gospodnetich
And the North Idaho Mycological Association 1981
Copyright © 1981, 2003 Pacific Northwest Key Council
Photo copyright held by each photographer
Do not copy photos without permission

Reformat and name changes by Ian Gibson 2003, 2007.

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 Note on Revision

 Introduction

 Acknowledgements

 Key to Species

 Glossary

 Index

 

NOTE ON REVISION

The following name changes were made. Stropharia albivelata replaces Pholiota albivelata. Stropharia silvatica replaces Pholiota silvatica. Stropharia pseudocyanea replaces Pholiota subcaerulea. Hypholoma elongatum replaces Pholiota elongatipes. Hypholoma myosotis replaces Pholiota myosotis. Pachylepyrium carbonicola replaces Pholiota subangularis. Pholiota alniphila replaces Pholiota occidentalis. Pholiota lignicola replaces Pholiota vernalis. Tubaria confragosa replaces Pholiota confragosa. The Kuehneromyces species were left in Pholiota (see Jacobsson, Stig. 1989. "Studies on Pholiota in culture". Mycotaxon 36(1): 95-145. for justification). An error was corrected in the discussion of Pholiota ferruginea group. Otherwise, the key is as written in 1981. It should be noted that Hesler and Smith examined collections of almost 50 other species from the Pacific Northwest that are reported in their monograph.

 

INTRODUCTION

The genus Pholiota contains mushrooms with usually central stems, mostly growing in clusters or groups on wood or other dead organic matter. Their spores are brown, ranging in shades from rusty brown to light dingy yellow-brown. Species of Gymnopilus, which overlap in many field characters, are best differentiated by the bright rusty orange shade of their spores and mature gills usually. More technically, spores of Pholiota are smooth, whereas spores of Gymnopilus are roughened.

Caps range in size from 1 to 20 cm, in surface texture from bald to scaly and from dry to slimy with all degrees in between; colors are mostly in the yellow-brown to red-brown series; the shape is usually +/- convex; the margin is frequently decorated with the remains of a fibrillose (thread-like) veil. The flesh varies in color when young and occasionally in odor. The gills vary in color from whitish to brownish when young and develop to different shades of brown in age; mostly the gills are adnate (broadly attached) to adnexed (barely attached); if the caps uplift in age, they may look somewhat decurrent.

The stems are mostly central and in different species vary in surface texture as much as the caps, due to considerable variation in the development of the veil(s) when young. A few species retain a membranous ring, but most have bits of hairy or scaly veil remnants when young that slowly disappear with age.

Edibility: None are known to be deadly poisonous, but several species are reported to cause gastric upsets in some people.

As always, you will have the best success in following this key if you have a good collection that includes young, mature and old specimens in good condition. Habitat should be noted at the time of collection, such as growing in a burned area, on rotting conifer wood or moss, etc. We have attempted to use features which are as stable as possible, but you will have to make certain adjustments in descriptions to make allowance for recent weather. The degree of viscidity is important: in dry weather, one can apply the "kiss test" for stickiness or look for bits of forest debris glued to the surface.

In many species considerable change in appearance often occurs during the life span of the mushrooms. Those with a thick gelatinous layer in the cap cuticle can vary from extremely slimy in wet weather to sticky most of the time, or dry (but often appearing varnished) in dry weather. Scaly tufts of hairs perched on top of such a gelatinous layer will often be washed off in prolonged rainy spells. In hygrophanous species, considerable change in color occurs between youthful stages when the cap is moist and dark in color and mature stages because the cap fades as it dries out. Partial veils also undergo considerable change, being much more obvious in young stages. In nearly all species the stem grows darker from the base upward as the specimens age.

Considerable importance is currently attached to microscopic characters such as the shape and size of spores, presence or absence of pleurocystidia and if present their type, such as chrysocystidia, and other technical details. Pholiota has at times been put into the Cortinariaceae and at other times into the Strophariaceae by professional mycologists because it has features of both families.

The apparent intergradation between species will perhaps in time be solved by continuing cultural experiments and other scientific studies.

We have attempted to "translate" the exact color terms used in the Smith-Hesler monograph into words understandable by the lay person because the Ridgway color book is no longer available to most people. However, there are too many recognizable shades of "brown" to use such a term often and still have the reader understand what color is meant. Even "tan" means different colors to different people. As used by us to approximate and exact Ridgway color name, we have placed an explanation of this and other terms in the Glossary.

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This key is based mostly on The North American Species of Pholiota by Alexander H. Smith and L. R. Hesler (click on title for online text of this monograph). We wish to express our sincere appreciation to Dr. Smith for considerable help to the Pacific Northwest Key Council in the preparation of this and other keys. We also wish to thank Dr. Daniel Stuntz for his unfailing generous assistance and Dr. David and Ellen Farr for their contribution.

 

KEY TO SPECIES

1a Growing on burned wood or ground (after forest fires, slash burns, etc.)

1b Not growing in burned areas

2a Average stem diameter 4 mm or less

2b Average stem diameter greater than 4 mm

3a Veil remnants orange-brown; cap with tough gluey coating

................................................................................Pholiota fulvozonata

CAP 1-2 cm, conic to bell-shaped, brownish orange in center and whitish over marginal area; flesh pallid. ODOR and TASTE mild. GILLS attached, crowded, pallid at first. STEM 1-3 x 0.3-0.4 cm, pallid beneath the veil remnants. HABIT and HABITAT growing in groups in burned areas in the fall. EDIBILITY unknown. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 6-7.5 x 4-4.5 um; pleurocystidia 33-46 x 9-16 um.

3b Veil remnants pallid; cap moist but not truly sticky

................................................................................Pachylepyrium carbonicola

(previously known as Pholiota subangularis A.H. Sm. & Hesler)

CAP 1-3 cm, broadly convex, dingy reddish brown at first but gradually becoming paler medium brown, fading to a bright or dingy brownish orange; slippery, bald or with a faint marginal zone of pallid threads from the thin veil; flesh fragile. ODOR and TASTE none. GILLS attached, broad, edges somewhat fringed, pale tan first and darkening with age. STEM 3-5 x 0.25-0.35 cm, lower three fourths silky from remnants of a thin veil and at first with a high thready zone where the veil breaks, naked and shining above, watery brown above, darker brown below and becoming dark brown from the base upward in age. HABIT and HABITAT in dense groups on burned soil; summer. EDIBILITY unknown. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 8-11.5 x 6-6.5 x 7-9 um, angular ovate in face view varying to ovate or to kite-shaped with a thick wall (0.5-1.8 um); pleurocystidia none.Pachylepyrium carbonicola
Pachylepyrium carbonicola
Andrew Parker

4a Average stem diameter less than 0.8 cm

4b Average stem diameter 0.8-1.0 cm

................................................................................Pholiota brunnescens

CAP 2-7 cm, convex to flat, slimy-sticky, dull yellow-brown to dark reddish brown, +/- dull orange when faded, at first sparsely decorated with small, whitish veil remnants forming temporary thready scales; edge at times fading to apricot-orange; flesh rather thick, dingy watery brown. ODOR and TASTE mild or slightly disagreeable (in older caps). GILLS narrow, crowded, whitish at first then +/- cinnamon. STEM 4-6 x 0.8-1.0 cm, pallid, zones of veil on stem clear yellow, staining brownish orange in age. HABIT and HABITAT growing in clusters or groups in recently burned areas; fall. EDIBILITY unknown. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 6-7 x 4-4.5 um; pleurocystidia 48-70 x 9-16 um.Pholiota brunnescens
Pholiota brunnescens
Ben Woo

5a Cap pale yellow beneath dull rusty red veil remnants

................................................................................Pholiota carbonaria A. H. Sm.

CAP 2-4 cm, convex, sticky, pale yellow, veil remnants scattered over the cap and hanging from its edge at first, cap in age +/- cinnamon brown; flesh watery brown. ODOR and TASTE mild. GILLS narrow, crowded, grayish at first. STEM 3-6 x 0.4-0.6 cm, ground color yellowish. HABIT clustered to scattered. HABITAT often abundant in recent burns; summer and fall after rains. EDIBILITY unknown. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 6-7 x 3.5-4 um; pleurocystidia 50-88 x 9-14 um.

5b Cap orangy brown to red-brown with sparse pallid to buff veil remnants

................................................................................Pholiota highlandensis

(P. carbonaria (Fr.) Singer is a synonym.)

CAP 2-6 cm, convex to flat-depressed, sticky, bald except for veil remnants along the edge at first, fading to pale tan; flesh pallid or yellowish. TASTE at times +/- disagreeable. GILLS broad, close, pallid to yellowish, finally +/- cinnamon brown. STEM 2-4 x 0.3-0.6 cm, whitish to yellowish above, lower part soon dark brown, veil remnants leaving a temporary thready ring zone. HABIT in clusters or scattered. HABITAT in recent burns; spring to fall; common. EDIBILITY poisonous. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 6-8 x 4-4.5 um; pleurocystidia 36-75 x 7-15 um.Pholiota highlandensis
Pholiota highlandensis
Steve Trudell

6a Average width of caps 3 cm or less OR growing on moss

6b Average width of caps more than 3 cm, not growing on moss

7a Odor distinctive of green corn

................................................................................Pholiota humii

CAP 1-3 cm, convex, expanding, sticky, when young dark dull reddish brown, finally reddish brownish orange, the margin paler brown; bald, even; flesh pallid. TASTE slight. GILLS attached, close, medium narrow, at first whitish then brown. STEM 2.5-4 x 0.2-0.5 cm, with scattered threads, pallid or pale brownish orange, base dull winy-brown. VEIL cobwebby, yellowish. HABIT grouped to scattered. HABITAT on or around rotten conifer logs. EDIBILITY unknown. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 5.5-7 x 4-4.5 um; pleurocystidia 45-75 x 9-17 um, wall up to 3 um thick in ventricose part.

7b Odor, if any, not like green corn

8a Growing usually on wood or wood debris

8b Growing on moss or mossy spots; average diameter of stems under 0.5 cm, usually under 0.3 cm; stems often longer than 1 1/2 x cap diameter, usually silky and not scaly

9a Stem base with pseudorhiza (rootlike extension of stem)

9b Stem base lacking pseudorhiza

10a Flesh staining yellow when cut; taste bitter; gills narrow and pale yellow when young

................................................................................Pholiota olympiana

CAP 2.5-4 cm, expanded to flat or with a +/- slight blunt knob, surface at first coated with whitish silky threads but soon becoming bald or threads +/- persistent near margin; moist; pale tan to dingy yellowish brown in center and paler and yellower on margin; flesh hard and thick when fresh, abruptly thinner toward the edge, pallid. ODOR not distinctive. GILLS close, narrow, attached but breaking away in age, cream-buff when young, dark yellow-brown in age and often with dark rusty spots; edges even and pale yellowish. STEM 5-7 x 0.3-0.6 cm, equal above a long tapered pseudorhiza; tubular to hollow; surface densely white-thready from veil remnants, top yellowish and powdery, becoming yellowish where handled and finally dark sordid brown; in age +/- becoming bald. HABIT grouped to scattered. HABITAT around Douglas-fir stumps; fall. EDIBILITY unknown. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 6-7.5 x 4-4.5 um; pleurocystidia 22-36 x 9-15 um.

10b Flesh not staining when cut; no bitter taste; gills broad and white when young

............................................................................... Stropharia silvatica

(This is the currently accepted name for Pholiota silvatica (A.H. Sm.) A.H. Sm. & Hesler, but the description below is derived from the Smith & Hesler description of P. silvatica: the spore deposit on the top of the stem was said to be dull tawny.)

CAP 2-4 cm, edge incurved slightly at first, flat or with a slight knob, edge at first decorated with veil fragments but otherwise bald; sticky to slimy; evenly orangish brown to moderate brown in buttons, soon fading to yellow along the margin and in age only the center orangish brown, the remainder pale yellow; flesh cap-colored, watery. GILLS attached with a tooth, broad (0.5-0.6 cm), close, white when young becoming deep olive-buff then dark yellow-brown in age; readily breaking away. STEM 8-16 x 0.3-0.5 cm, equal above a long (4-6 cm) pseudorhiza; solid or with narrow hollow center, viscid over the lower two-thirds and sordid honey-yellow, upper part whitish but becoming pale yellow; a thin white inner thready veil present beneath the glutinous veil, temporary ring zone at the top with banded ring zones of drying gluten below. HABIT solitary. HABITAT under cedar and hemlock in the spring. EDIBILITY unknown. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 10-13 x 5.5-7.5 um; pleurocystidia abundant, 34-42 x 10-12 um.

11a (9b) Stem more than 0.3 cm thick

11b Stem less than 0.3 cm thick

12a Stem over 8 cm long, cap with olive hue

............................................................................... Hypholoma myosotis

(This is the currently accepted name for Pholiota myosotis (Fr.) Singer.)

CAP 1.5-3.0 cm, conic to convex, bald or at first with threads along the edge; sticky, opaque or with faint radial lines at times, olive-green to olive-bronze before fading, coating thick and tough; flesh olive-colored. ODOR and TASTE not distinctive. GILLS attached, broad, subdistant, olive-colored then brown, edges slightly fringed. STEM 10-15 x 0.2-0.5 cm, hollow, very rigid, olive-colored patches and zones of veil threads with dense white powder above veil-line. HABIT solitary to grouped. HABITAT on muck and in bogs during hot dry summers. EDIBILITY unknown. MICROSTRUCTURES spores very large, 14-17 x 7-9 um; pleurocystidia present as chrysocystidia, 35-50 x 10-15 um.

12b Stem less than 8 cm long, cap brownish orange or buff-colored

13a Gills broad, whitish; veil remnants on stem white

................................................................................Pholiota agglutinata

CAP 1-4 cm, rounded with an incurved margin, finally flat with a knob; tan to rusty brown over center, cream to whitish toward the edge, sticky, variously streaked from thready clumps, edge fringed at first with veil remnants; flesh pallid, rusty brown around worm holes. ODOR and TASTE mild. GILLS squarely attached, close, broad, whitish becoming dull brown. STEM 2-4 x 0.3-0.5 cm, solid, pallid within, veil leaving thready streaked surface, whitish but soon rusty brown in basal area, top white and silky, faint thready zone left by white veil. HABIT scattered. HABITAT on moss under spruce, late summer. EDIBILITY unknown. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 5.5-6.5 x 3.5-4 um; pleurocystidia abundant, 55-80 x 8-12 um.

13b Gills narrow, yellowish; veil remnants on stem buff

................................................................................Pholiota paludosella

CAP 3-6 cm, convex to flat, knobbed in center, pale cream color, brownish orange in the scaly center, +/- sticky at first, buff-colored flattened patches of veil remnants around edge; flesh yellowish. ODOR somewhat fragrant. GILLS notched, close, narrow, yellowish becoming cinnamon brown. STEM 3-8 x 0.3-0.5 cm, yellowish above, soon rusty brown below, with +/- scaly patches up to the veil line. HABITAT common on mossy hummocks, sphagnum bogs in late summer and fall during dry years. EDIBILITY unknown. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 7-12 x 4.5-6 um; pleurocystidia 36-52 x 9-12 um.

14a (11b) Base surrounded by white mycelium, cap cinnamon to brownish orange in center when young

................................................................................Pholiota humidicola

CAP 1.0-2.0 cm, convex to flat, dull cinnamon to brownish orange in center; surface bald, moist; margin yellow-brown and gradually becoming paler, in age olive; flesh yellowish when young, thin. ODOR none. GILLS broadly attached and in age with a decurrent tooth; very broad, pallid to dingy pale yellow. STEM 4-6 x 0.15-0.25 cm, pallid to dingy yellow above, soon dull rusty brown below, thin, flattened threads of veil remnants to almost bald surface, powdery at top; tough; base surrounded by white threads. HABIT scattered to grouped. HABITAT on moss in coniferous forests. EDIBILITY unknown. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 9-11 x 5.5-6.3 um; pleurocystidia 44-58 x 8-12 um.

14b No white mycelium surrounding base; cap yellow in center when young

............................................................................... Hypholoma elongatum

(This is one current name used for Pholiota elongatipes (Peck) A.H. Sm. & Hesler.)

CAP 0.6-2.0 cm, flat in age, pale to medium yellow, paler when drying out, surface bald, edge paler yellow or with olive cast; flesh pale yellow. ODOR and TASTE none. GILLS attached, rather distant, whitish to pallid yellowish at first, gradually becoming yellow-brown to light grayish brown with white fringe on the edges at times. STEM 4-10 x 0.15-0.25 cm, pallid above at first but soon yellowish, silky above, with thready flecks downward from the remains of the thin veil, becoming brownish orange from the base upward in aging; straight to twisted; fragile, hollow. HABIT scattered to grouped. HABITAT on sphagnum moss during late summer and fall. EDIBILITY unknown. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 8-11 x 5-6 um; pleurocystidia of two kinds: chrysocystidia 26-34 x 8-12 um and leptocystidia 30-36 x 5-9 um.

15a (8a) Growing only in spring and summer (P. vernalis group)

15b Growing in fall (P. scamba & P. curvipes groups)

16a Gills broad, stem length 1 - 1 1/2 x diameter of cap

................................................................................Pholiota obscura

CAP 1-2.2 cm, bluntly conic then flattening in age; translucent-striate to central area when moist, then dull tan fading to cinnamon buff; surface "greasy" to shining and slippery; edge straight or slightly wavy; flesh cap color, thin, watery. GILLS attached, broad, tan and not changing color markedly with age, edges slightly fringed. STEM 2-3 x 0.2-0.3 cm thick, dark reddish brown below, brownish orange above, at first faintly thready from grayish buff veil threads; veil very thin and soon disappearing; faintly powdery and at first striate above veil; watery and fragile. HABIT and HABITAT clustered on rotten wood in June. EDIBILITY unknown. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 7-10 x 3.5-4.5 um; pleurocystidia 20-28 x 7-12 um.

16b Gills narrow and crowded, stem length more than 1 1/2 times cap diameter

17a Cap sharply conic, surface dryish; stem solid

................................................................................Pholiota conica

CAP 1-2.5 cm, sharply conic when young, edge flaring outward in age; tan fading to pale tan, surface dry or slightly sticky, edge fringed with threads at first and usually scarcely translucent striate; flesh butterscotch-color, becoming pallid. ODOR and TASTE none. GILLS attached, narrow, crowded, pallid brownish becoming colored like moist cap. STEM 4-9 x 0.3-0.6 cm, darker rusty brown below, butterscotch above, finally reddish brown over all; very faintly thready from remains of a thin veil; fragile. HABIT and HABITAT clustered on conifer logs; spring and summer. EDIBILITY unknown. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 5.5-7 x 3.5-4 x 4-4.5 um; pleurocystidia none.

17b Cap more broadly rounded with knob in center, surface viscid; stem hollow

................................................................................Pholiota lignicola

(P. vernalis (Peck) A.H. Sm. & Hesler is a synonym.)

CAP 1-3.5 cm, convex to nearly flat, honey color to yellow-brown, fading to pale tan; translucent-striate; moist, slightly sticky, bald or with veil remnants along edge at first; flesh pale tan. GILLS attached but pulling away from stem with age; very narrow, very crowded, pale tan then dark cinnamon, edges sometimes slightly fringed. STEM 3-6 x 0.15-0.5 cm, pale brown above, darkening toward base, surface threaded with grayish to buff veil remnants, leaving a ring zone as well as scattered patches and zones below, interior darkening to dark brown in lower portion; hollow. HABIT and HABITAT grouped to clustered on conifer or hardwood; spring and summer. EDIBILITY unknown. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 5.5-7.5 x 3-4.5 um; pleurocystidia none.Pholiota lignicola
Pholiota lignicola
Steve Trudell

18a (15b) Caps viscid, silky, pale-colored; with broad gills; (pleurocystidia present)

18b Caps dry; tan, brown or brilliant yellow; (pleurocystidia absent)

19a With slightly fragrant odor; stem usually under 0.3 cm diam., very woolly with coarse-hairy base; (spores thin-walled)

................................................................................Pholiota scamba

CAP 1.5-2 cm, convex to flat, overall pallid yellow to pallid cinnamon; silky-thready surface, slimy, soon dry; edge with veil fragments; flesh watery yellowish. TASTE mild. GILLS attached, broad, close, pale yellow when young. STEM 1.5-3 cm x 0.1-0.3 cm, clear pale yellow above, brownish below, surface woolly to scaly with veil remnants, base coarse-hairy. HABIT and HABITAT in groups on wet conifer wood early summer to fall. EDIBILITY worthless. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 7-9 x 4.5-5.5 um; pleurocystidia 28-40 x 8-14 um.

19b Fragrant odor lacking; stem more or less than 0.3 cm diam., with thin remains of thready veil; (spores with walls over 0.5 um thick)

20a Cut flesh staining inky-gray; stem 1-2 cm long

................................................................................Pholiota pulchella v. brevipes

CAP 2-3.5 cm, convex to flat, winy brown, at first decorated with thready scales from the veil, becoming bald, margin edge pale olive buff drying near ochre yellow, retaining veil remnants; flesh yellow, when cut staining inky gray. ODOR and TASTE none. GILLS broadly to narrowly attached, broad in middle, close, pale yellow becoming dull orangy-brown. STEM 1-2 x 0.2-0.35 cm, silky and yellow above, becoming brownish to reddish at base, surface at first with yellowish scales up to the yellow thready zone, bright yellow within, solid. HABIT and HABITAT in groups in conifer forests; summer and fall. EDIBILITY unknown. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 6.5-8 x 5-6.5 x 4-5 um; pleurocystidia 50-81 x 12-16 um.

20b Cut flesh not staining; stem usually 3-6 cm long

................................................................................Pholiota pulchella v. pulchella

CAP 2-3.5 cm, rounded to bell-shaped or with center knob, dingy pinkish brown to olive-gray, surface thready-scaly at first from delicate yellow scales, margin edge for a time has hanging veil remnants; flesh olive colored. TASTE usually bitter, mild at times. GILLS attached, rather distant, pale olive to olive-brown in age, edges with fringe. STEM 3-6 x 0.3-0.45 cm, greenish yellow, decorated with yellow-brown veil remnants, base thready to coarse-hairy. HABIT and HABITAT scattered or solitary on conifer debris; fall. EDIBILITY unknown. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 6.5-8.5 x 5-7 um; pleurocystidia 50-81 x 12-16 um.

21a (18b) Cap brilliant yellow aging rusty; taste bitter in some variants; stem yellow, often curved, with ragged woolly fibrils

................................................................................Pholiota curvipes

CAP 1-5 cm, rounded and at times with low knob in center, brilliant yellow to rusty yellow or reddish brown, surface dry, opaque, surface layer becoming broken up into small flat to upturned scales with center scales often small and inconspicuous, at times the edge torn and thready or ragged from remains of the thin veil; flesh yellow, thin, pliant. TASTE mild to bitter in some varieties. GILLS attached, whitish in small buttons but soon yellow and finally +/- cinnamon from the spores, edges even but soon with small scallops. STEM 2-5 x 0.2-0.5 cm, often curved, colored much like cap, clear yellow above becoming +/ rusty brown from handling; ragged woolly threads of veil remnants, veil pale yellow forming a temporary zone where it breaks; stem hollow. HABITAT on logs, stumps and sawdust of hardwoods or conifers; fall. EDIBILITY worthless. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 6-8.5 x 3.5-4.5 um; pleurocystidia none.

21b Cap brown; taste not distinctive

22a Cap surface dry, appearing spiny at center from tiny erect scales, color yellow-brown; stem lacking flaring ring

................................................................................Pholiota curcuma

CAP 1.0-2.0 cm, bluntly conic to nearly flat, bay to rusty-orange-brown finally tan, evenly colored, surface dry, appearing spiny from tiny erect scales, appearing granular and scales poorly formed around edge; flesh pale dingy yellow-brown when mature, thin. ODOR and TASTE none. GILLS bluntly attached, close, moderately broad, dingy ochre-yellow, scarcely changing. STEM 1.5-3 x 0.15 cm, slightly enlarged above, dingy brownish and in age becoming darker rusty brown from the base upward; thinly covered by flattened buff-colored threads from a very thin veil. HABIT and HABITAT single or grouped on aspen logs; summer and fall. EDIBILITY unknown. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 7-9 x 3.5-4.5 um; pleurocystidia none.

22b Cap moist and hygrophanous, red-brown with a covering of downy white threads; stem with flaring membranous ring

.............................................................................. Tubaria confragosa

CAP 1-4 cm, convex to nearly flat, when fresh dark reddish cinnamon to deep winy-cinnamon, fading to pale cinnamon buff or retaining a reddish tone; surface moist and paler when drying out, beneath a whitish covering of threads which become grouped into tiny scales causing the surface to appear faintly downy; flesh colored like cap, thin, fragile. ODOR and TASTE not unusual. GILLS bluntly adnate to slightly decurrent, close, moderately broad, pale brownish orange to cinnamon becoming dark reddish cinnamon in age, edges pallid and minutely fringed. STEM 2-6 x 0.15-0.5 cm, sometimes enlarged downward, pallid above the ring, silky to powdery, in age pinkish tan, below the ring more or less colored like cap or paler, ring flaring and membranous, veil remnants variously distributed, base usually with white matted hairs; soon becoming hollow. HABIT and HABITAT clustered or in groups on rotting logs of hardwoods and conifers; fall. EDIBILITY unknown. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 6.5-9 x 4-5 um; pleurocystidia none.

23a (6a) If you know you have a "typical" Pholiota, you may skip to

23b Stem with persistent membranous ring and cap lacking scales (both features)

23c Species lacking one or both features described above; stem lacking persistent ring and/or cap showing scales. (When in doubt, make this choice.)

24a Cap yellow-orange overall

24b Cap yellow-brown to dingy brown to pinkish brown

25a Surface of cap, stem and underside of sheathing annulus granular

................................................................................Phaeolepiota aurea

(also known as Pholiota aurea (Fr.) Kummer)

CAP 5-15 cm, blunt to convex with broad knob in center, dull orange-yellow becoming paler in age, surface covered with grains that wash away with age, bits of veil remnants along edge; flesh pallid. ODOR mild. TASTE biting. GILLS adnate, close, moderately broad in age, pallid becoming orange-brown. STEM 10-15 x 3-5 cm, +/- club-shaped and broader at the base, colored like cap, grains on surface extending up to and including the under side of the skinlike ring. HABIT and HABITAT groups and clusters on compost piles and rich humus, often under alder; fall. EDIBILITY questionable, some reports of illness related to this species. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 10.5-13 x 5-6 um; pleurocystidia absent to very rare.Phaeolepiota aurea
Phaeolepiota aurea
Steve Trudell

25b Cap bald (looks much like Gymnopilus spectabilis)

................................................................................Pholiota oregonensis

CAP 5 cm or broader, convex, light yellowish brown to orangy-tan, bald, dry, edge curved inward; flesh creamy, thin. TASTE nutty or almond-like in dried specimens. GILLS adnate, distant, with cross veins in between, yellow or yellowish brown becoming darker. STEM 6-10 x 0.8-2.0 cm, often enlarged downward, yellowish above, dark orangy-brown below; small, scattered, similarly colored, floccose scales pointing upward, but gradually disappearing with age; veil forming an irregular, yellowish white ring high up; solid. HABIT and HABITAT large clusters on living willow; fall. EDIBILITY unknown. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 7.5-10 x 4-5 um; pleurocystidia none.

26a (24b) Cap slimy, center pinkish brown; veil remnants on stem white; growing on debris under conifers; often with many white "root-threads" at base; not common

............................................................................... Stropharia albivelata

(This is the currently accepted name for Pholiota albivelata Murrill., but the description is derived from the Smith & Hesler description for P. albivelata; the spore deposit was said to be "cinnamon-brown" - dull yellow-brown.)

CAP 4-8 cm, broadly convex to flat, often with darker knob in center; pale to dark winy-brown, edge paler; bald, sticky; flesh whitish. ODOR and TASTE mild. GILLS adnate, close, +/- broad, white then grayish brown. STEM 5-10 x 0.4-1.0 cm, white and floccose above the ring, discolored below near base, tiny flakes below ring, but base nearly bald, base often surrounded by white threads, stem hollow. HABIT and HABITAT single to scattered on debris in conifer forests; fall. EDIBILITY questionable. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 7-9 x 4-5 um; chrysocystidia 30-50 x 5-12 um.

26b Cap moist and hygrophanous but not truly viscid, often appearing two-toned when drying; veil remnants on stem forming dense brownish scales; usually growing directly on rotting wood, often in great clusters; common

................................................................................Pholiota mutabilis

(also known as Kuehneromyces mutabilis (Fr.) Singer & A.H. Sm.)

CAP 1.5-6 cm, rounded to flat retaining a low, broad knob in center; reddish cinnamon to yellow-brown, center fading first with edge remaining darker; surface bald or with tiny white threads of veil material when young, slightly sticky, striate edge when wet, opaque when faded; flesh pallid, watery to moist. ODOR weakly spicy. TASTE mild. GILLS adnate to decurrent in age, close, broad, pallid when young aging to dull yellow then cinnamon. STEM 4-10 cm x 0.2-1.2 cm, pallid becoming brownish then blackish brown from base upward, below ring covered almost to base with pallid to brownish curved scales, base either naked or covered by white soft hairs, veil forming a skinlike ring sometimes scaly on the lower side, or at times ring merely a zone of threads, stem stuffed becoming hollow. HABIT and HABITAT clustered or grouped on hardwood logs, stumps; spring and fall. EDIBILITY good with caution, not for beginners because of similarity to poisonous Galerina autumnalis. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 3.3-7.5 x 3.7-4.5 um; pleurocystidia none.Pholiota mutabilis
Pholiota mutabilis
Michael Beug

27a (23c) Cap surface very scaly when young and white becoming brownish; stem large and club-shaped

................................................................................Pholiota destruens

CAP 8-16 cm, convex, expanding with age, pallid whitish to dull creamy yellow, at times darkening brown from the center outward, surface conspicuously covered with whitish to pale gray-cream-colored patches of copious veil remains which may flatten or wash away with age, edge shaggy with veil remnants; flesh white, thick, firm. ODOR and TASTE mild. GILLS adnate or notched, broad, close, white becoming dark red-brown from spores. STEM 5-12 x 1-3 cm, enlarged near base to 5-7 cm thick, white at first, brownish in age below; covered with remains of the thick, white, floccose veil up to the cottony disappearing ring, silky above; solid, hard. HABIT and HABITAT clustered on logs and dead wood of aspen, cottonwood, poplar; late fall. EDIBILITY worthless. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 7-9.5 x 4-5.5 um; pleurocystidia none.Pholiota destruens
Pholiota destruens
John Davis

27b Cap surface not covered by heavy white scales when young; stem variable

28a Cap with unusual color (bluish, greenish, pinkish gray, orangy-pink)

28b Cap with common color for Pholiota (yellow, tan, red-brown, brown)

29a Cap bluish (looks much like Stropharia aeruginosa)

............................................................................... Stropharia pseudocyanea

(This is the currently accepted name for Pholiota subcaerulea A.H. Sm., but the following description is derived from the Smith & Hesler description of P. subcaerulea: the spores on the annulus were said to be pale cinnamon brown.)

CAP 2-4 cm, convex, blue overall at first, fading to pale dingy tan; surface slimy, dotted with white flecks of outer veil remains when young; flesh bluish, thin. ODOR and TASTE none. GILLS adnate to almost free, close, moderately broad, brownish becoming cinnamon brown. STEM 3-6 x 0.15-0.4 (0.8) cm, colored as cap or slightly paler, white floccose patches of veil tissue below ring, ring white and often disappearing, silky to fibrillose above, base with numerous white rhizomorphs (threads). HABIT and HABITAT single or in small clusters on soil and debris; fall. EDIBILITY unknown. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 7-9 x 4-4.5 um; chrysocystidia 24-36 x 9-12 um.

29b Cap not bluish

30a Cap greenish with reddish tinges at center; mycelium reddish; rare

................................................................................Pholiota gummosa

CAP 2-5 cm, at first very rounded with a broad knob in center, finally convex, often +/- depressed in center; when young slightly green, then clear, pale yellow, often showing reddish to brownish red on center; sticky at first, then dry, decorated with flattened brownish scales, often not apparent at maturity; edge rolled inward, becoming straight or wavy; flesh clear yellow. ODOR of herbs. TASTE mild or +/- like radishes. GILLS adnate to +/- decurrent, close, +/- narrow, pale yellow, finally yellowish brown with paler edges. STEM 5-8 x 0.3-0.8 cm, often crooked or twisted, some narrowed downward, at first pale yellow, becoming brownish orange below, with traces of reddish threads around base, stem decorated with patches of veil remnants, veil pale yellow, remains disappearing almost entirely, stem stuffed. HABITAT on wood or soil in spring or fall. EDIBILITY worthless. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 5.5-7 x 3.5-4 um; pleurocystidia none.

30b Cap not greenish

31a Cap bright orangy-pink; taste bitter; on conifer wood

................................................................................Pholiota astragalina

CAP 2-4 cm, conic or convex with knob in center, slight knob usually retained in age, brilliant pinkish orange, fading in age and soon developing blackish discolorations; sticky, bald except for scattered veil remnants along edge; edge expanding upward and may become wavy; flesh reddish orange, soon yellowish orange. ODOR none. TASTE bitter. GILLS adnexed or at times appearing +/- free, broad, bright yellow, discoloring where bruised. STEM 5-9 x 0.4-0.7 cm, pale yellowish from the yellow veil, base tinged like cap and soon dingy orange where handled; smooth; hollow, inside cream-colored above, dull yellow-orange near base. HABIT and HABITAT small clusters on conifer wood, late summer or fall. EDIBILITY worthless. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 5-7 x 3.8-4.5 um; pleurocystidia 35-60 x 8-14 um, some resembling chrysocystidia.Pholiota astragalina
Pholiota astragalina
Michael Beug

31b Cap pale pinkish gray to pinkish buff; taste unknown; on hardwood

................................................................................Pholiota lenta

CAP 3-7 cm, convex to flat, whitish to pinkish buff or pinkish gray, darker in center, at times with yellowish tinge, very slimy surface with scattered white scales from veil especially along edge; flesh white, firm. ODOR and TASTE mild. GILLS adnate, close, +/- narrow, edges fringed; white becoming grayish to yellowish brown. STEM 3-8 x 0.4-1.2 cm, white above, brownish at the base, white-mealy threads from heavy white veil on surface, leaving a cobwebby ring that soon disappears; solid or spongy. HABITAT on humus and debris of hardwoods; summer and fall. EDIBILITY worthless. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 5.5-7 x 3.5-4.5 um; pleurocystidia 42-60 x 8-14 um.Pholiota lenta
Pholiota lenta
Ben Woo

32a (23a, 28b) Cap and/or stem often sticky; cap and stem bald, silky or scaly

32b Neither cap nor stem obviously sticky, at least when young (dry P. squarrosa group)

33a Caps sticky to slimy, with flattened or upturned reddish brown scales on yellowish background (P. aurivella group)

33b Caps and stems not combining features described above

34a Stem with scattered broad rusty brown gelatinous scales or patches over its mid-portion; gills with persistently yellow edges

................................................................................Pholiota hiemalis

CAP 4-11 cm, rounded when young expanding to flat with slight knob, surface yellow with rusty brown gelatinous scales; very slimy; flesh yellow, tough. ODOR unpleasant. TASTE mild. GILLS adnate to almost free, close, broad, yellowish. STEM 4-9 cm long, 0.6-1.5 cm thick at top enlarging downward to flaring base; yellow with rusty-brown gelatinous patches or scales similar to those on cap, silky threads above from remains of veil which at times leaves a fairly thick loosely thready ring or ring zone; stuffed with pallid pith. HABIT and HABITAT clustered on rotting conifer logs; fall. EDIBILITY poisonous. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 7-9 x 4-5 um; pleurocystidia 30-50 x 8-15 um.

34b Stem with dry scales; gills not pallid with persistently yellow edges

35a Stem with a thick persistent floccose ring (with cottony patches on underside); on conifer wood

................................................................................Pholiota filamentosa

CAP 5-16 cm, convex; lemon to ochre yellow, with rusty brown spotlike scales which gelatinize; viscid; edge fringed at first; flesh whitish, yellow-brown around worm holes. GILLS yellow at first, rusty brown in age, broad, close, attached. STEM 4-8 x 1-2 cm, base flanged; yellowish throughout at first but becoming rusty brown below, ring +/- persistent, heavy and thick, with tawny patches on under side. HABIT and HABITAT clustered on conifer wood; fall. EDIBILITY unknown. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 6-7.5 x 3.5-4.2 um; pleurocystidia 25-40 x 6-13 um.

35b Stem lacking a thick persistent floccose ring but may have a series of scales; habitat variable

NOTE: In Western North America members of a large and confusing group of variants are commonly found; they were usually called P. aurivella or P. squarroso-adiposa. Research and culture work (by Farr, Miller, & Farr) resolved them into three non-crossbreeding species, all similar in looks and differing only in spore size. Besides the names already mentioned, other Western variants, sometimes called separate species, are P. abietis, P. connata, and P. limonella. Of all the names involved, P. limonella was used first and thus has priority. It is much the most common of the three non-crossbreeding species, and you will be right about 90% of the time if you use it. P. aurivella does occur in North America but is not common. P. adiposa is almost unknown from this continent.

The following three non-interbreeding species are all too similar in looks to be distinguished accurately without a microscope, since the only consistent difference discovered thus far is spore size. All would fit under the description of P. limonella given below, which is much the most common.

36a Spores 5-6 x 3-4 um (thought to be very rare in North America)

................................................................................P. adiposa

36b Spores larger than 5-6 x 3-4 um

37a Spores 8.5-10.2 x 5-6.5 um (per Farr et al.)

................................................................................P. aurivella

37b Spores 6.5-9.3 x 3.7-5.6 um (per Farr et al.)

................................................................................Pholiota limonella

CAP 3-10 cm, convex to broadly knobbed, sticky to slimy; covered with triangular red-brown fibrous scales (flat or with upturned tips, scattered or in concentric rings), ground color dull light yellow to yellowish orange, center sometimes yellowish brown from closely spaced scales; flesh pallid, tan, or light yellow. ODOR and TASTE mild. GILLS broadly to barely attached, close; pallid, pale yellow, or dull creamy yellow when young; dull yellowish brown, brownish orange to brown when mature. STEM 4-15 x 0.4-2.0 cm, equal or tapering either way, ground color tan to light yellow, scales brownish yellow to red-brown, woolly, upturned, scattered or arranged in loose rows, ring disappearing or fibrillose veil remnants creating a ring-zone, base hairless or covered with tufts of tan to white mycelium. HABITAT on hardwood or conifer wood; fall. EDIBILITY uncertain. Because of the large number of variants included in this variable species, extreme caution is urged. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 6.5-9.3 x 3.7-5.6 um; pleurocystidia 24-65 x 6.5-13 um; chrysocystidia present.Pholiota limonella
Pholiota limonella
Michael Beug

38a (33b) Partial veil and remnants on stem composed of brown threads or clear slime

38b Partial veil and remnants on stem composed of white to yellow threads

39a Partial veil composed of clear slime (like Gomphidius glutinosus)

................................................................................Pholiota velaglutinosa

CAP 3-6 cm, convex becoming flat or wavy on the margin which is decorated with thin hairy patches; often with remains of glutinous veil on edge of cap; bright to dingy winy brown overall but becoming dark yellow-brown; flesh pliant, greenish yellow to tan in age. ODOR and TASTE none. GILLS adnate and with a slightly decurrent tooth, broad, close, light avellaneous (light gray-yellow-brown) becoming "wood-brown" (darker gray-yellow-brown) at maturity, edges even. STEM 3-6 x 0.4-0.8 cm, silky and greenish yellow above, coated with flat, yellow hairy patches or zones below the glutinous disappearing annulus, rusty-stained where handled and dark brown below in age; hollow. HABIT and HABITAT scattered in humus under pines. EDIBILITY unknown. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 6-7.5 x 3.7-4.5 um; pleurocystidia 55-82 x 9-15 um.

39b Partial veil and remnants brown

40a Caps hygrophanous (darker when wet and paler on drying) and often appearing two-toned; surface lacking scales; gill edges not distinctive; common in Pacific Northwest (See key entry 26b for description)

40b Caps not hygrophanous; dark orange-brown; surface with scale-like veil remnants; gills with white uneven edges; usually growing on hardwoods; rare in Pacific Northwest

................................................................................Pholiota albocrenulata

CAP 2.5-8 cm, broadly conic to convex or with a broad knob, deep orange-brown when young, aging dark winy brown; decorated with superficial brownish hairy scales, edge often decorated with remnants of veil; flesh pallid. ODOR not distinctive. GILLS broadly adnate to subdecurrent or notched; very broad; close; whitish to grayish becoming rusty dark brown; edge scalloped and beaded with droplets when fresh. STEM 3-10 x 0.5-1.5 cm, stuffed becoming hollow, pallid to grayish above to dark brown below with brown scattered scales up to the ring; powdery at the top. HABIT and HABITAT solitary or in groups of 2 or 3 on hardwood, rarely on conifers. EDIBILITY unknown. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 10-15 x 5.5-7.5 um; pleurocystidia none.

41a (38b) Possessing following two features in combination: veil remnants on stem white AND cap center orange-brown, red-brown or dull-brown; scaly or bald

(For combination of yellow veil remnants and caps colored as above see 44a, Pholiota ferruginea group.)

41b Not combining two features listed in 41a; veil remnants on stem yellow AND/OR caps glabrous (bald) with mostly yellow to tan coloring, sometimes with greenish tints

(For combination of light yellowish caps and whitish veil remnants, see 49-50 P. subochracea group.)

42a Cap bald, seeming bi-colorous with dark reddish brown center and whitish edge

................................................................................Pholiota lubrica and varieties

CAP 4-8.5 cm, convex to flat, pale yellowish with dark reddish brown to blackish red center, bald, sticky, edge decorated with hanging pieces of veil; flesh whitish. TASTE mild. GILLS bluntly adnate, broad, crowded, whitish aging to dark cinnamon. STEM 5-8 cm x 0.4-0.6 cm (estimated for European material), 6-8 x 0.9-1.1 cm in collection from Idaho; pallid to brown, scurfy from remains of a veil, top silky and pale yellow. HABITAT on or near conifer wood or on soil rich in organic material. EDIBILITY unknown. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 6-7.5 x 3.5-4.2 um in European material, 6-7 x 3.5 um in Idaho collection; pleurocystidia 35-64 x 13-18 in European material, 50-65 x 9-16 um in Idaho collection. REMARKS P. verna (see 43e) closely resembles this species but has thick-walled cystidia and grows on cottonwood.

42b Cap usually with scales or scale-like spots

43a Average stem diameter over 0.9 cm, not in spring on cottonwood

................................................................................Pholiota sublubrica

CAP 4-10 cm, convex to plane, center tan to dull orange, margin yellowish, veil remnants on cap brown; sticky; flesh white. ODOR and TASTE none. GILLS adnate, close, broad, at times with rusty spots in age. STEM 4-10 x 1-1.5 cm, whitish with rusty brown base and color change progressing upward, aging brown overall, pallid ring forming silky zone and below it the surface ragged from the pallid veil. HABIT and HABITAT usually appearing to be terrestrial; clustered on or near rotting wood, often lodgepole pine; summer and fall. EDIBILITY unknown. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 5.5-7 x 3.2-4 um; pleurocystidia 45-83 x 9-16 um.Pholiota sublubrica
Pholiota sublubrica
Ben Woo

43b Average stem diameter less than 0.9 cm, or in spring on cottonwood

................................................................................Pholiota decorata group

CAP 3-8 cm, convex aging flattish, orangish brown to reddish brown to winy-brown, sometimes very dull and dark when young and wet, the edge often paler; surface slimy to sticky, with many rows of flattened scales above the gelatinous layer, with age and weathering the scales washing away and surface seeming merely streaked; edge often fringed with white threads when young; flesh moderately thick; white to (in age) yellowish. ODOR faintly fragrant or lacking. TASTE mild. GILLS adnate to notched, close, moderately broad, thin, white to ivory when young aging finally dingy yellowish brown. STEM 4-8(11) x 0.3-0.8 (1.0) cm, ring lacking but covered by a sheath of white threads which breaks into woolly scales, base covered by additional dingy reddish brown woolly scales. HABITAT usually on small branches and debris rather than logs; fall; often abundant. EDIBILITY not recommended. (Caution and moderation advised.) MICROSTRUCTURES spores 6-7.5 x 3.5-4.5 um; pleurocystidia 50-90 x 9-18 um, some with thick walls in every mount.Pholiota decorata
Pholiota decorata
Steve Trudell

This is the description for P. decorata itself. A few variants from the "collective species" and their outstanding special features are listed below:

43c Common on hardwood debris, particularly Red Alder: cap color lighter toward pale cinnamon

................................................................................P. alniphila

(formerly Pholiota occidentalis A.H. Sm. & Hesler)

43d Odor very fragrant; stem bulbous from white mycelium at base; cap dark red-brown

43e Occurring in the spring on cottonwood; stem 4-6 cm long x 1.0-1.2 cm thick; cap 6-12 cm broad; (pleurocystidia thick-walled)

43f With pleurocystidia 60-115 um long and walls 2-3 um thick

44a (41b) Caps orange-brown with yellowish margins; veil remnants and flesh yellow; (pleurocystidia often with thick walls)

................................................................................Pholiota ferruginea group

(What follows is the description of P. ferruginea, with differences of the other two species outlined in REMARKS.)

CAP 4-8 cm, rounded with edge curved inward, expanding to nearly flat with broad central knob and edge curved downward; orange-brown overall, edge aging more orange or dull yellow; surface sticky and essentially bald; flesh yellowish. ODOR and TASTE mild. GILLS adnate, sometimes with small bit running down stem in age; medium broad, close; pale yellow or soon becoming so, finally dull tawny from spores. STEM 5-8 x 0.3-0.8 cm, equal; pale yellow above veil line, thready below and becoming dark rusty brown from base upward; veil threads abundant, yellowish, leaving a temporary zone where it breaks. HABIT and HABITAT in groups on debris under conifers; fall. EDIBILITY unknown. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 6-7 x 3.5-4 um; pleurocystidia abundant, 45-65 x 9-14 um with walls 1.5-4 um thick. REMARKS P. ferrugineo-lutescens is similar but stem stains yellow where handled and stem rind turns yellow when cut, cap coloring is a bit more yellow, gills turn dull grayish brown in age, stem base often has dense radiating white fibrils. P. rufodisca is also similar, but it has somewhat darker reddish brown coloring. It has caulocystidia which P. ferruginea and P. ferrugineo-lutescens lack, and its pleurocystidia have somewhat less thick walls than P. ferruginea (1.5 to 2.5 um).

44b Caps light to dark yellow; stems more silky than scaly

45a Odor distinctive

45b Odor not distinctive

46a Odor of green corn

................................................................................Pholiota malicola v. macropoda

CAP 4-12 cm, convex expanding to almost plane; margin often wavy to lobed; pale yellow to tan with tannish orange center, often with watery zone along the edge; sticky, glabrous except for veil remnants; flesh yellowish, thick, firm. TASTE mild. GILLS broadly to slightly attached, close, narrow to moderately broad, yellowish when young, pale rusty brown in age; at times bruising slowly orange. STEM 6-10 x 0.4-1.0 cm, at times enlarging to 18 cm long x 2.5 cm thick in age; pallid to yellowish, silky above, hairy streaked below, becoming dark rusty brown from base upward; veil pallid to tan. HABIT and HABITAT in clusters on conifer and hardwood trees, at base of stumps or attached to buried wood; fall. EDIBILITY unknown. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 7.5-11 x 4.5-5.5 um; pleurocystidia none.

46b Odor sweet

47a Odor of honey; appearing terrestrial; stem average 0.3-0.6 cm diam; (pleurocystidia present but not projecting)

................................................................................Pholiota melliodora

CAP 1-8 cm, convex, at first margin inrolled and pressed against stem, finally expanding; thready, honey-yellow, sticky; flesh thick at center, brittle, soft. ODOR of honey. GILLS adnate to notched, broad, crowded, yellow. STEM 4-7 x 0.3-0.7 cm, wavy, larger at the top and tapering at the base, yellow but darkening toward base, thready. HABIT and HABITAT clustered on soil and near buried wood; fall. EDIBILITY unknown. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 6-7.5 x 3.5-4 um; pleurocystidia embedded, 28-37 x 9-12 um, with contents much like chrysocystidia.

47b Odor "fragrant;" gills pallid when young; (spores dextrinoid; pleurocystidia lacking). See 51a for description

48a (45b) Average cap diameter not over 4 cm

48b Average cap diameter over 4 cm

49a Stem length 5-9 cm; gills yellow; (spores 5-6 x 2.5-3 um); chrysocystidia present

................................................................................Pholiota subochracea

CAP 2-4 cm, convex to broadly convex, margin inrolled at first; pale yellow with a +/- tan center and clay color in age; bald or with veil remnants on edge at first; sticky; flesh thin, firm, yellowish. ODOR none. TASTE mild. GILLS adnate, close, +/- broad at maturity; pale yellow then dingy cinnamon. STEM 5-9 x 0.5-0.7 cm, in age rusty brown near base, yellowish and silky at the top; the thready veil leaving a disappearing zone. HABIT and HABITAT clustered to scattered on decaying conifer wood; fall. EDIBILITY not recommended. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 5-6 x 2.5-3 um; pleurocystidia present as chrysocystidia, 32-47 x 10-15 um.

49b Stem length usually not over 4 cm; gills whitish when young

50a Appearing terrestrial; cap streaked; (spores 5.5-7 x 3.5-4 um; abundant projecting pleurocystidia 55-80 x 8-15 um). See 13a for description.

50b Usually clearly lignicolous; cap glabrous (bald); (spores 5-6 x 3-3.5 um; pleurocystidia 40-56 x 12-17 um)

................................................................................Pholiota flavopallida

CAP 2-5.5 cm, convex to plane with a central knob; edges pale yellow, sometimes split, center clay color to dingy pale brownish orange; slimy, bald; flesh pallid to yellowish. ODOR none. TASTE mild. GILLS adnate to short decurrent, narrow, close, whitish becoming yellowish and finally dingy cinnamon to brown. STEM 3-4 x 0.3-0.5 cm, base somewhat enlarged; white above, clay-color to rusty brown below; thinly thready from poorly developed veil; silky to silky-powdery at the top. HABITAT on conifer wood. EDIBILITY unknown. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 5-6 x 3-3.5 um; pleurocystidia 40-56 x 12-17 um.

51a (48b) Greenish tints not noticeable; odor fragrant sometimes; gills pallid when young; stems usually more than 1 1/2 times cap diameter; usually appearing lignicolous; (pleurocystidia lacking; spores dextrinoid)

................................................................................Pholiota flavida

CAP 3-7 cm, convex to nearly flat, yellow to brownish orange; often with watery zone along the edge; thinly sticky and bald except for faint veil remnants variously arranged along the margin; flesh thick, firm, yellowish. ODOR faintly fragrant or no odor at all. TASTE mild. GILLS close, narrow to moderately broad, pallid when young, pale rusty brown in age. STEM 6-10 x 0.5-1.5 cm, silky pallid above with a disappearing hairy zone from the thin veil; lower part with hairy streaks, becoming dark rust brown from base upward; solid; veil yellowish. HABIT and HABITAT clustered on logs and at the base of trees and stumps of conifers and hardwoods; fall. EDIBILITY unknown. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 7-9 x 4-5 um; pleurocystidia none.Pholiota flavida
Pholiota flavida
Kit Scates Barnhart

51b Greenish tints often present; odor not distinctive; gills yellow to greenish yellow when young; stems usually less than 1 1/2 times cap diameter; often appearing terrestrial (from buried wood); (pleurocystidia projecting; spores not dextrinoid)

................................................................................Pholiota spumosa

CAP 3-8 cm, bluntly conic to convex, expanded-plane, with or without a knob, greenish yellow & brownish orange or reddish brown in the center, at maturity edges are yellowish, often with a greenish tint; slimy or sticky, bald but appearing thready-streaked, sometimes the center roughened by the drying slime; flesh soft, yellow or watery bright green-yellow. ODOR and TASTE mild. GILLS adnate to adnexed, or with a decurrent tooth; close, medium broad, aging brownish orange or cinnamon-brown, often retaining a greenish hue. STEM 5-11 x 0.9-1.7 cm, yellow within, surface yellow to pale greenish yellow above, becoming sordid brown from the base upward; covered by a thin coating of yellow threads from the veil remnants; hollow. HABIT and HABITAT in groups or clusters, usually on conifer remains. EDIBILITY unknown. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 7-9 x 4-4.5 um; pleurocystidia 40-60 x 7-14 um. REMARKS A species very similar in looks but with spores 5.5-7.5 x 3.5-5 um is P. subflavida.Pholiota spumosa
Pholiota spumosa
Steve Trudell

52a (32b) Appearing terrestrial

................................................................................Pholiota terrestris

CAP 2-8 cm, convex when young, soon expanded with central knob, dingy brown aging to yellowish brown or cinnamon-brown, surface covered with brown scales over a slimy layer, scales often weather away, thready veil remnants hanging from edge; flesh watery light brown. ODOR and TASTE mild. GILLS adnate, narrow, crowded, pale darkening to grayish to yellowish brown. STEM 3-8 x 0.5-1.0 cm, surface covered to an upper ring zone by dark yellow-brown curved scales, becoming more numerous upward, above ring zone thready-powdery; flesh grayish with tendency to stain yellow to brownish at base, around worm holes, and often where handled; center solid at first, then hollowed. HABIT and HABITAT in clusters on soil, roadsides, lawns or near wood; summer and fall. EDIBILITY edible. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 4.5-6.5 x 3.5-4.5 um; pleurocystidia 18-34 x 5-10 um. REMARKS This is very close to P. squarrosoides (see 54a) in all features except color and habitat.Pholiota terrestris
Pholiota terrestris
Andrew Parker

52b Obviously lignicolous

53a Cap and stem brilliant yellow to orangish

................................................................................Pholiota flammans

CAP 4-8 cm, often with broad, central knob, center often orangy-brown in age; surface slimy beneath curved, thready scales, disappearing in age leaving bald surface; edge fringed with veil remnants; flesh yellow with a greenish yellow line next to the gills. ODOR and TASTE mild. GILLS sharply notched, bright yellow staining dingy brown along the edges when rubbed, close, crowded. STEM 5-10 x 0.5-1.0 cm, colored like cap inside and out, covered up to ring with dense coating of curved scales from veil, ring formed of bright yellow threads, diminishing with age. HABITAT on conifer logs and stumps; fall. EDIBILITY worthless. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 4-5 x 2.5-3 um; chrysocystidia 26-40 x 6-9 um.Pholiota flammans
Pholiota flammans
Steve Trudell

53b Cap and stem white to cream with brownish scales

54a Young gills whitish, aging brownish without greenish tint

................................................................................Pholiota squarrosoides

CAP 3-7 cm, conic to flat retaining a broad knob, whitish when young; edge fringed with veil remnants; surface sticky beneath the recurved dry, tan to yellowish tan scales which are scattered over the margin and become more crowded on the center; flesh thick, whitish, soft. ODOR and TASTE not distinctive. GILLS adnate to sharply adnexed, close to almost crowded, broad near stem and tapering narrower near edge; whitish, aging to dull rusty brown, sometimes with brighter rusty stains. STEM 5-10 x 0.5-1.0 cm, dry, top whitish and silky, lower portion covered by coarse, upturned yellowish tan persistent scales; staining rusty-brown near base; stuffed or solid; pallid superior thready ring often disappears. HABIT and HABITAT single or clustered on trunks and stumps of hardwood trees; fall. EDIBILITY edible. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 4-5.5 x 3-3.5 um; pleurocystidia abundant, 30-50 x 8-15 um.Pholiota squarrosoides
Pholiota squarrosoides
Michael Beug

54b Young gills yellowish, aging yellow brown with green tint

................................................................................Pholiota squarrosa

CAP 3-10 cm, bluntly rounded when young with an incurved margin, becoming rounded with broad knob or nearly flat; except for edge which is almost bald, pale yellow surface covered with light cinnamon to clay-colored scales which turn dark yellow-brown in age; flesh yellowish, thick, soft. ODOR none. TASTE mild or slightly rancid. GILLS bluntly adnate and with a decurrent line or tooth, close, narrow, pale yellowish when young, soon +/- sordid greenish yellow, aging sordid rusty-brown. STEM 4-10 x 0.4-1.2 cm, equal or nearly so, at times tapered to a long hairy pointed base; covered with pale yellowish brown upturned scales; dry; solid; yellowish within; ring often disappearing but is sometimes membranous and persistent. HABIT and HABITAT clustered at the base of living or dead hardwood or conifer trees or on logs or stumps; summer and fall. EDIBILITY There are conflicting reports of gastro-intestinal upsets from older fruiting bodies from the Rocky Mts. of Colorado. MICROSTRUCTURES spores 6-7.5 x 3.8-4.5 um; pleurocystidia present as chrysocystidia, 30-48 x 8-16 um.Pholiota squarrosa
Pholiota squarrosa
Michael Beug

 

GLOSSARY

+/- - more or less

adnexed - lightly attached

caulocystidium (pl. caulocystidia) - cystidium (sterile cell) on the stem

chrysocystidium (pl. chrysocystidia) - a type of cystidium (sterile cell) that is highly refractive in once-dried tissue revived in KOH, appearing as a yellowish brown shapeless mass within the cell

clay color - resembling dull ochraceous cinnamon brown

hygrophanous - caps taking up water so as to be darker and translucent when wet, paler and opaque when dry

leptocystidium (pl. leptocystidia) - smooth thin-walled cystidium

lignicolous - living on wood

tan - a medium orangy-brown color, much like "maple" furniture or maple bars

tawny - brownish orange, with more orange than "tan"

terrestrial - appearing to grow from the ground, or on the ground, as opposed to growing on wood

ventricose - wider in the middle

viscid ("vissid") - with gelatinized cells which turn slimy in wet weather, dry in dry weather, and sticky between times

 

 

INDEX

 

 GENUS AND SPECIES KEY ENTRIES
   
 HYPHOLOMA (Fr.) P. Kumm.  
    H. elongatum (Fr.) Ricken 14b
       = Pholiota elongatipes (Peck) A.H. Sm. & Hesler  
    H. myosotis (Fr.:Fr.) Lange 12a
       = Pholiota myosotis (Fr.) Singer  
 KUEHNEROMYCES Singer & A.H. Sm.  
    K. carbonicola A.H. Sm. (see Pachylepyrium carbonicola)  
    K. lignicola (Peck) Redhead (see Pholiota lignicola)  
    K. mutabilis (Schaeff. : Fr.) Singer & A.H. Sm. (see Pholiota mutabilis)  
    K. vernalis (Peck) Singer & A.H. Sm. (see Pholiota lignicola)  
 PACHYLEPYRIUM Singer P. carbonicola (A.H. Sm.) Singer  
    P. carbonicola (A.H. Sm.) Singer 3b
       = Kuehneromyces carbonicola A.H. Sm.  
       = Pholiota subangularis A.H. Sm. & Hesler  
 PHAEOLEPIOTA Maire ex Konrad & Maubl.  
    P. aurea (Matt. ex Fr.) Maire ex Konr. & Maubl. 25a
       = Pholiota aurea (Fr.) Kummer  
 PHOLIOTA (Fr.) P. Kumm.  
    P. albivelata Murrill (see Stropharia albivelata)  
    P. adiposa (Fr.) P. Kumm. 36a
    P. albocrenulata (Peck) Sacc. 40b
    P. alniphila (Zeller) Redhead 43c
       = Pholiota occidentalis A.H. Sm. & Hesler  
    P. astragalina (Peck) Singer 31a
    P. aurea (Fr.) P. Kumm. (see Phaeolepiota aurea)  
    P. aurivella (Fr.) P. Kumm. 37a
    P. brunnescens A.H. Sm. & Hesler 4b
    P. carbonaria A.H. Sm. 5a
    P. confragosa (Fr.) Karsten (see Tubaria confragosa)  
    P. conica A.H. Sm. & Hesler 17a
    P. curcuma (Berk. & Curt) A.H. Sm. & Hesler 22a
    P. curvipes (Fr.) Quél. 21a
    P. decorata (Murrill) A.H. Sm. & Hesler 43b
    P. destruens (Brond.) Gillet 27a
    P. elongatipes (Peck) A.H. Sm. & Hesler (see Hypholoma elongatum)  
    P. ferruginea A.H. Sm. & Hesler 44a
    P. ferrugineo-lutescens A.H. Sm. & Hesler 44a
    P. filamentosa (Fr.) Herp. 35a
    P. flammans (Fr.) P. Kumm. 53a
    P. flavida (Fr.) Singer 47b, 51a
    P. flavopallida A.H. Sm. & Hesler 50b
    P. fulvozonata A.H. Sm. & Hesler 3a
    P. gummosa (Lasch) Singer 30a
    P. hiemalis A.H. Sm. & Hesler 34a
    P. highlandensis (Peck) A.H. Sm. & Hesler 5b
    P. humidicola (Murrill) A.H. Sm. & Hesler 14a
    P. humii A.H. Sm. & Hesler 7a
    P. lenta (Fr.) Singer 31b
    P. lignicola (Peck) S. Jacobss. 17b
       = Kuehneromyces lignicola (Peck) Redhead  
       = Pholiota vernalis (Peck) A.H. Sm. & Hesler  
       = Kuehneromyces vernalis (Peck) Singer & A.H. Sm.  
    P. limonella (Peck) Sacc. 37b
    P. lubrica (Fr.) Singer 42a
    P. malicola (C. Kauffman) A.H. Sm. var. macropoda A.H. Sm. & Hesler 46a
    P. melliodora A.H. Sm. & Hesler 47a
    P. mutabilis (Schaeff.: Fr.) P. Kumm. 26b, 40a
       = Kuehneromyces mutabilis (Schaeff. : Fr.) Singer & A.H. Sm.  
    P. myosotis (Fr.) Singer (see Hypholoma myosotis)  
    P. obscura A.H. Sm. & Hesler 16a
    P. occidentalis A.H. Sm. & Hesler (see Pholiota alniphila)  
    P. olympiana (A.H. Sm.) Hesler & A.H. Sm. 10a
    P. oregonensis Murrill 25b
    P. paludosella (Atk.) A.H. Sm. & Hesler 13b
    P. pulchella A.H. Sm. & Hesler var. brevipes A.H. Sm. & Hesler 20a
    P. pulchella A.H. Sm. & Hesler var. pulchella 20b
    P. rubronigra A.H. Sm. & Hesler 43d
    P. rufodisca A.H. Sm. & Hesler 44a
    P. scamba (Fr.) Moser 19a
    P. silvatica (A.H. Sm.) A.H. Sm. & Hesler (see Stropharia silvatica)  
    P. spumosa (Fr.) Singer 51b
    P. squarrosa (Fr.) P. Kumm. 54b
    P. squarrosoides (Peck) Sacc. 54a
    P. subangularis A.H. Sm. & Hesler (see Pachylepyrium carbonicola)  
    P. subcaerulea A.H. Sm. & Hesler (see Stropharia pseudocyanea)  
    P. subflavida (Murrill) A.H. Sm. & Hesler 51b
    P. sublubrica A.H. Sm. & Hesler 43a
    P. subochracea (A.H. Sm.) A.H. Sm. & Hesler 49a
    P. terrestris Overh. 52a
    P. velaglutinosa A.H. Sm. & Hesler 39a
    P. verna A.H. Sm. & Hesler 42a, 43e
    P. vernalis (Peck) A.H. Sm. & Hesler (see Pholiota lignicola)  
    P. vinaceobrunnea A.H. Sm. & Hesler 43f
 STROPHARIA (Fr.) Quélet  
    S. albivelata (Murrill) Norvell & Redhead 26a
       = P. albivelata Murrill  
    S. pseudocyanea (Desm. ex Fr.) Redhead 29a
       = Pholiota subcaerulea A.H. Sm. & Hesler  
    S. silvatica A.H. Sm. 10b
       = Pholiota silvatica (A.H. Sm.) A.H. Sm. & Hesler  
 TUBARIA (W.G. Sm.) Gillet  
    T. confragosa (Fr.) Harmaja 22b
       = Pholiota confragosa (Fr.) P. Karst.  

 

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