What You Should Know
Pholiota aurivella is a species of fungus in the family Strophariaceae that is found in the native forest of New Zealand, southern Canada, and in the United States. The cap color is bright to golden yellow, viscid when young with relatively dark scales. The stem is pale and scaly closer to the bottom. It has been listed as edible, but David Arora reported in Mushrooms Demystified that several people had experienced gastric upsets and that the taste of the mushrooms resembled “marshmallows without the sugar.”
Other names: Golden Pholiota, Golden Scaly-Cap, Golden Scalycap.
Pholiota aurivella Mushroom Identification
5 to 15cm in diameter, bright golden yellow to rusty brown, and with a slimy or greasy surface covered in darker-brown scales that sometimes wash off in wet weather.
The lovely specimens shown on the left are particularly dark.
The crowded adnate gills are cream when young, turning reddish-brown as the spores develop.
6 to 12mm in diameter and 3 to 9cm tall; lemon-yellow becoming browner with age; smooth above a pale cottony ring (persistent fragments of the partial veil) and having darker brown scales below the ring. The stem is solid with fibrous yellowish flesh.
Ellipsoidal, smooth, 6.5-10 x 4-6μm; with a distinct germ pore.
Odor and Taste
No distinctive odor; the taste is rather bitter.
Habitat & Ecological Role
On stumps, large fallen branches and dead trunks of deciduous hardwood trees, most commonly Beeches.
Pholiota aurivella Look-Alikes
Smaller and rarely has many cap scales.
Very similar, seeming to differ only in the spores. Many other species have been named in North America but several, such as P. abietis, P. connata, and P. subvelutipes, be variants of P. limonella and it remains to be seen whether the others merit species status or are variants of P. aurivella or P. limonella.
Pholiota aurivella Taxonomy and Etymology
The Golden Scalycap was described in 1786 by German naturalist August Johann Georg Karl Batsch (1761 - 1802), who gave it the binomial scientific name Agaricus aurivellus.
It was another German mycologist, Paul Kummer, who transferred this species to the new genus Pholiota in 1888, thereby establishing its currently-accepted scientific name as Pholiota aurivella.
Synonyms of Pholiota aurivella may include Pholiota cerifera, Pholiota adiposa and Pholiota squarrosa-adiposa; however, note the use of the word 'may' because there is still much debate about just how many species are contained in the grouping that most of us are content to call Golden Scalycaps.
The generic name Pholiota means scaly, and the specific epithet aurivella means golden fleece - whenever you see -vell in a scientific name, look for the fleecy characteristic to which this prefix refers.
Pholiota aurivella Video
All photos were taken by the Ultimate Mushroom team and can be used for your own purposes under the Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license.