What You Should Know
Pholiota flammans is a basidiomycete agaric mushroom of the genus Pholiota. Its fruit body is golden-yellow throughout, while its cap and stem are covered in sharp scales. As it is a saprobic fungus, the fruit bodies typically appear in clusters on the stumps of dead coniferous trees. P. flammans is distributed throughout Europe, North America, and Asia in boreal and temperate regions.
The fruit bodies bear no distinctive smell and taste mild to slightly bitter. While nonpoisonous, some authors regard the mushroom as inedible, while others consider it edible or of unknown edibility.
Other names: Flaming Scalycap, Yellow Pholiota.
Pholiota flammans Mushroom Identification
Saprobic; growing alone or in clusters on the wood of conifers; summer and fall; widely distributed in northern North America.
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.
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.
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.
Odor and Taste
Odor not distinctive; taste mild.
KOH produces a red reaction on the cap surface.
Spores 4-5 x 2.5-3 µ; smooth; elliptical; without an apical pore; yellowish in KOH or Melzer's. Pleurocystidia is variously shaped; up to 40 µ long; some with homogeneous dark brown content, others as chrysocystidia. Cheilocystidia is numerous; variously shaped; up to 20 µ long. Cuticle elements gelatinized; 2-4 µ wide. Clamp connections are present.
Pholiota flammans Look-Alikes
Has much larger, darker scales on its cap, and it grows most often on damaged areas of the lower trunks of living trees.
Also similar, but prefers to grow on dead hardwoods; unlike P. flammans, it has gelatinous scales on the stem as well as the cap.
Closely related to P. flammans, but differs in having a more distinctly viscid cap.
Pholiota flammans Taxonomy and Etymology
This lovely mushroom was described scientifically in 1783 by German mycologist August Johann Georg Karl Batsch (1761 - 1802), who named it Agaricus flammans. It was left to the famous German mycologist Paul Kummer to transfer this species to the Pholiota genus in 1871, renaming it Pholiota flammans.
Synonyms of Pholiota flammans include Agaricus flammans Batsch, and Dryophila flammans (Batsch) Quél.
The generic name Pholiota means scaly, and the specific epithet flammans means flaming.
In the organization of Rolf Singer, the species is placed in subgenus Pholiota, section Adiposae, stirps Subflammans—a grouping of closely related species that also includes P. subflammans and P. digilioi.
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