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Pholiota s.l.

Saprophytic mushrooms almost always found on wood (or burned ground), these typically medium-sized mushrooms have a plain brown spore print, often with a viscid cap that is seldom hygrophanous and are often scaly (at least on the stem). The gills are always attached but variably so, and there is always a partial veil although it often vanishes. Fruitbodies are often yellow-brown.

The smaller ones can be confused with the LBMs. Some dry capped mushrooms, such as Agrocybe and Inocybe from terrestrial genera may sometimes be found on wood and can be confused as well. Alternatively, some mushrooms found on this page may not obviously belong to this group. For instance, Flammula and Kuehneromyces are barely viscid, the latter is hygrophanous and both may not be scaly. They are only recognized by their size and wood habitat. Crassisporium has reddish spores!

Pholiota were famous for being the only brown spored group in the normally dark purple-brown spored family Strophariaceae. But now we realize that other brown spored groups, like Agrocybe are related too.

These range in size from <2.5cm (S), <5cm (M) to <10cm (L) or larger. They are (M) unless specified.


Key to Pholiota:

Species on wood - viscid unless otherwise stated.

P. astragalina - a lovely pinkish-orange. No scales.

Hemipholiota populnea (P. destruens) - BIG!, ages from white to brown. Hardwood. Not actually in the Strophariaceae family with the rest of the Pholiotas.

P. scamba - (S). Pale, scaly stem only. Can be confused with an LBM.

P. flammans - (L), bright yellow, bright scales.

P. limonella/aurivella grp - (L), not as bright, scales darker and like an onion.

P. squarrosoides - (L), erect scales, Clustered. Sweet?

P. squarrosa - greenish mature gills?, not viscid, garlic odor? Usually at the base of trees.

P. terrestris - (L), erect scales, clustered, but on the ground. Variable species.

P. spumosa grp - (L) yellow, viscid, not scaly, darker brown disc. Occasional green corn odor.

P. alnicola grp (malicola/flavida) - (L) yellow, less viscid than P. spumosa, not scaly, sometimes sweet or green corn odor. Now in the genus Flammula, in the Hymenogastraceae.

P. lubrica grp - (L) not yellow like P. spumosa but orange-brown. Scaly stem only.

P. velaglutinosa - in the lubrica grp, evenly red-brown cap, slime veil and smoother stem. Southern species.

P. decorata - (L), in P. lubrica grp, not yellow, two-toned. Slightly scaly young cap and stem.

P. lenta - (L) the palest non-yellow member of the lubrica grp.

Hemistropharia albocrenulata - viscid, red-orange scaly cap and stem, brown droplets often on the gills, ring zone, mostly on hardwood. <10cm.

Kuehneromyces are hygrophanous and barely viscid, unlike Pholiota, and one is not scaly at all, relying on its medium size and wood habitat for its placement on this page. K. mutabilis looks very much like the DEADLY Galerina! They are related to Deconica.

Kuehneromyces mutabilis - scaly stem only, with ring. Related to Deconica? Clustered, usually fall, hygrophanous.

Kuehneromyces vernalis (P. lignicola) - no scales nor ring. Hygrophanous, spring, stems tend to get very dark in age.

Species on burnt ground

P. highlandensis (carbonaria/fulvozonata) - burnt ground/wood, variable scaliness and colour. Viscid. Spring or fall. Usually slender.

P. molesta (subsaponacea) - usually squatter, but not always.

P. brunnescens (luteobadia) - larger (<7cm), often clustered, stem stains brown. Also spring or fall.

Crassisporium funariophilum (Pachylepyrium carbonicola) - burnt ground/wood, not scaly. Reddish spores. Spring species similar to P. highlandensis (redder?) and Cortinarius. Not viscid. (Hymenogastraceae?)


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