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Pholiota flammans

[ Basidiomycetes > Agaricales > Strophariaceae > Pholiota . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

Pholiota flammans, sometimes called the "Flaming Pholiota" (I've decided to just leave that one alone), is brilliantly yellow and shaggy when fresh. It is covered from head to toe with large scales that are not brown or reddish brown, but equally yellow and stunning. Like many species of Pholiota, however, it is soon flaccid, droopy, dull, and splatty--and I have only ever found it in this pathetic condition, long after the glory days (see the illustration), when only diligent microscopic analysis is likely to "distinguish" it from a host of slimy Pholiota has-beens.

What is it with pholiotas, anyway? Whenever I find them, they're putrefied (with the exception of Pholiota terrestris . . . snore) and I might as well collect banana slugs, which are also yellow and might at least make it home in one piece.


Ecology: Saprobic; growing alone or in clusters on the wood of conifers; summer and fall; widely distributed in northern North America.

Cap: 4-8 cm; convex, becoming broadly convex, bell-shaped, or nearly flat; covered with bright yellow, hairy scales; slimy beneath the scales (when fresh); bright yellow overall.

Gills: Attached to the stem; close or crowded; yellow; sometimes bruising brownish on the edges; eventually cinnamon brown; at first covered by a bright yellow partial veil.

Stem: 5-10 cm long; up to 1 cm thick; silky near the apex; sheathed below the apex with bright yellow scales that terminate in a ring zone just below the cap.

Flesh: Yellow.

Odor and Taste: Odor not distinctive; taste mild.

Chemical Reactions: KOH produces a red reaction on the cap surface.

Spore Print: Brown.

Microscopic Features: Spores 4-5 x 2.5-3 µ; smooth; elliptical; without an apical pore; yellowish in KOH or Melzer's. Pleurocystidia variously shaped; up to 40 µ long; some with homogeneous dark brown content, others as chrysocystidia. Cheilocystidia numerous; variously shaped; up to 20 µ long. Cuticle elements gelatinized; 2-4 µ wide. Clamp connections present.

REFERENCES: (Batsch, 1783) Kummer, 1871. (Fries, 1821; Saccardo, 1887; Kauffman, 1918; Overholts, 1927; Smith & Hesler, 1968; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1979; Arora, 1986; States, 1990; Phillips, 1991/2005; Lincoff, 1992; Barron, 1999; McNeil, 2006; Miller & Miller, 2006.) Herb. Kuo 09220401.

Further Online Information:

Pholiota flammans in Smith & Hesler (1968)


Pholiota flammans

Pholiota flammans

Pholiota flammans

Banana Slug
Banana Slug

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Kuo, M. (2005, February). Pholiota flammans. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: