Phaeolepiota aurea: The Ultimate Mushroom Guide
About The Phaeolepiota aurea Mushroom
Phaeolepiota aurea is a large mushroom and very easy to spot; however, it is also easily overlooked because it bears a strong resemblance to another large but abundant species, the equally spectacular orange wood-rotting mushroom Gynopilus junonius.
Edibility is uncertain. For some, causes gastrointestinal disturbance in others (see Wells and Kempton, 1965). Contains hydrocyanic acid (HCN) (Heinemann, 1942). Ultimate Mushroom do not recommend eating it
Other names: Golden Bootleg, Gold Cup, Alaskan Gold, Golden False Pholiota Goudhoed (Dutch), Pholiota Dorée (French), Glimmerschüppling (German), Koganetake (Japanese).
Phaeolepiota aurea Identification
7-20 cm wide (frequently attaining 30 cm diameter), rounded to convex or almost flat, with a central knob; color golden brown to orange-tan; surface dry and floccose–granulose; margin often fringed with veil remnants; flesh pallid whitish
Adnate or with short decurrent tooth, close, pale yellow or rusty-golden color.
10-20 cm high x 1.5-3 cm thick; enlarging downward to subclavate. Above the annulus it is smooth and glabrous, a lighter shade than the cap; under the ring concolorous and granulose; flesh light yellow, deepening in color when bruised or cut.
Sheathes the stalk and becomes a hard persistent ring in the upper half of the stem; lower surface is striate.
Resembling bitter almonds.
10-14 x 5-6 µm, elliptical, smooth, yellowish.
Gregarious or caespitose, on ground in deciduous and coniferous forests, along road edges (especially under Alder). Sept-Nov. Rare.
Gymnopilus junonius (syn. Gymnopilus spectabilis) is quite similar in appearance but does not have a grainy surface; its spores are much darker.
Phaeolepiota aurea Bioactive Compounds
Lectin activity with N-acetylgalactosamine specificity has been identified from an extract of P. aurea. Two lectins, PAL-I and PAL-II, both tetramers of 16 kDa subunits, showed slight preferences for type-A rather than type B and O erythrocytes (Kawagishi et al., 1996).
Phaeolepiota aurea Medicinal Properties
Antitumor effects. Polysaccharides extracted from the mycelial culture of P. aurea and administered intraperitoneally into white mice at a dosage of 300 mg/kg inhibited the growth of Sarcoma 180 and Ehrlich solid cancers by 100% (Ohtsuka et al., 1973).
Phaeolepiota aurea Taxonomy & Etymology
This oddball mushroom has confounded mycologists down the ages as they struggled to fit it into existing genera. There has been much debate as to whether this mushroom should be considered a member of the Agaricaceae; some suggest it has more in common with Pholiota species, which belong to the family Strophariaceae.
Now placed in a genus all on its own (the technical term for this is 'monotypic'), the Golden Bootleg's basionym dates from 1779, when German botanist Heinrich Gottfried von Mattuschka (1734 - 1779) described this species and gave it the binomial name Agaricus aureus. (At the time most gilled mushrooms were placed in a gigantic Agaricus genus, whose contents have since been largely redistributed across many newer genera.) It was not until 1928 that French mycologists Paul Konrad (1877 - 1948) and André Maublanc (1880 - 1958) renamed the Golden Bootleg as Phaeolepiota aurea, which remains its accepted scientific name.
Synonymy is often an indication of the degree of perplexity caused by a species, and in this respect, the Golden Bootleg is quite exceptiona, with at least 20 synonyms among which are Agaricus aureus Matt., Agaricus vahlii Schumach., Agaricus spectabilis Weinm., Pholiota aurea (Matt.) P. Kumm., Pholiota spectabilis (Weinm.) P. Kumm., Togaria aurea (Matt.) W.G. Sm., Pholiota vahlii (Schumach.) J. E. Lange, Fulvidula spectabilis (Weinm.) Romagn., Gymnopilus spectabilis (Weinm.) A.H. Sm., Cystoderma aureum (Matt.) Kühner & Romagn.
The genus name Phaelepiota indicates that species in this group (and there is only one) are dusky (from the prefix phae-) and scaly (from Lepis, meaning scales). The caps are covered in tiny granules rather than flaky scales.
The specific epithet aurea comes from Latin and refers to the golden-orange coloring of this mushroom.
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