The Pluteaceae are a second family containing some salmon-pink spored mushrooms (along with the Entolomataceae). Pluteaceae found in the PNW contain two traditional genera, Pluteus and Volvariella (the latter having a sac-like volva at the base of the stem like some deadly poisonous Amanitas). Volvariella has since been split into Volvopluteus and Volvariella (viscid smooth caps vs dry fibrillose caps). These Pluteaceae have free gills. Pluteus are usually found on wood, but Volvariella/Volvopluteus can be found anywhere. They are saprophytic. Usually dry capped (except for Volvopluteus), seldom hygrophanous, never with a partial veil. Most Pluteus are 5-15cm or so across unless otherwise specified. Few if any are known to be poisonous.
Pluteaceae is sister to the Amanitaceae, which, with their often tall statuesque habit, you have to admit, they do look like (especially since some share a volva). Other mushrooms in the Pluteaceae, but not found on this page because they don't have free gills and do have white spores, are Melanoleuca.
This page should be small enough to browse. For species with a volva, jump to Volvariella.
Section Pluteus - this section smells and tastes like radish and has fat, spindle-shaped pleurocystidia on the gill faces that look like they are wearing jester caps.
"jester cap" pleurocystidia
Pluteus cervinus group. Our most common 5 species not only smell and taste strongly of radish, but usually have black fibrils on the stem and white gill edges. To know which of the 5 you have, you must look under the microscope for "clamp connections" and other microscopic details. Up to 10cm across.
Other Section Pluteus - these next species either have black gill edges or do not have black fibrils on the stem.
P. petasatus (magnus) - usually whitish,
overlain with dark fibres but usually without black fibrils on
the stem. On urban area hardwoods.
Southern species. May be larger than P. cervinus/
P. leucoborealis - another pale capped, white stemmed species like P. petasatus, but more often in wild areas.
P. brunneidiscus (washingtonensis/
P. 'salicinus' - small, white stem (without dark fibrils) that turns blue when handled. Contains psilocybin like the magic mushrooms. Hardwoods.
P. phaeocyanopus - stem bluing, darker cap, no radish smell (see below).
Section Celluloderma - often colourful, mostly small (<5cm) Pluteus to watch for, that do not have the "jester cap" cystidia and do not smell of radish. This section has rounded microscopic elements in the cap cuticle, which often means the cap will wrinkle. Often the cap is not hairy nor felty, but that's not always true so check this section even if the cap is hairy/felty.
P. fulvobadius ('romellii') - yellow stem!, felty-ish, often wrinkly, dark brown cap. Hardwoods. See P. leoninus below.
P. rugosidiscus - olive yellow often wrinkled cap, yellow gills & stem. This or the lookalike P. chrysophlebius probably occurs here. (Hardwoods)
Section Hispoderma - this section has elongated microscopic elements in the cap cuticle without rounded elements, giving the cap a velvety, granular or hairy texture. Some section Celluloderma species also have a hairy/felty cap, so check there too. Usually not smelling of radish, and without "jester cap" cystidia.
P. leoninus grp (flavofuligineus) - yellow-brown to brown, granular to felty cap sometimes with a yellow rim, but not wrinkled like the sometimes similar P. fulvobadius ('romellii'). Somewhat yellow stem. <7cm. Hardwood.
Volvariella - usually white or off-white and with a sac-like volva at the base of the stem that makes them look like the deadly poisonous Amanitas. One species now called Volvopluteus is the most closely related to Pluteus. None are common and you're more likely to find a deadly Amanita, so remember that before you eat one. Some even grown on the ground, uncharacteristic for the Pluteaceae. They range in size from 2.5cm to 20cm.
Volvopluteus gloiocephalus ('Volvariella' speciosa) - large, found on the ground. The only smooth capped and only viscid species.
V. pusilla - stem not pubescent, even smaller (<3cm). In
damp gardens and lawns. Which of these three species are unique and
occur here needs study.
V. pusilla - stem not pubescent, even smaller (<3cm). In damp gardens and lawns. Which of these three species are unique and occur here needs study.
Volvariella volvacea is the common paddy straw mushroom found in many Asian dishes. It should not occur here, but may have escaped into the wild. Unlike all the other whitish capped species, this one has a darker greyish brown cap that can also be velvety.