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The Genus Limacella  

[ Basidiomycetes > Agaricales > (Amanitaceae/Pluteaceae) . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

Limacella is a small genus of slimy gilled mushrooms with white spore prints and gills that are free from the stem. In old age the slime on some Limacella species can dry up, and they are then likely to be confused with members of the Lepiota family. When young they can approximate the Waxy Caps, but do not have thick, waxy gills that are broadly attached to the stem.

DNA studies have apparently confirmed the traditional view (based primarily on microscopic observation of the gills) that Limacella is closely related to Amanita, though collectors are not likely to confuse the two genera. It is unclear whether species of Limacella are saprobic or mycorrhizal; my limited experience with the genus suggests that the species I have collected are saprobic litter decomposers, but I wouldn't bet the house on my guess.


Limacella glischra

Limacella glioderma

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Key to 10 Limacella Taxa in North America  

1.Stem dry when fresh.

1.Stem slimy when fresh.

2.Stem with a fairly persistent ring.

2.Stem with reddish brown zones or patches, but without a true ring.

3.Cap white or whitish.
Limacella solidipes
see Lincoff (1992)

3.Cap more highly colored (pale pinkish brown to pale brownish).

4.Gills and/or stem staining olive; odor not distinctive or mealy.
Limacella guttata
at Roger's Mushrooms

4.Olive staining absent; odor strong, of coal tar (reminiscent of the strong odor in some Tricholoma species).
Limacella lenticularis var. fischeri
probably now "L. guttata var. fischeri"
see Smith (1945)

5.Odor mealy.

5.Odor not mealy: "slightly of green corn" or not distinctive.
Limacella delicata
see Smith (1945)

6.Cap white, or whitish to creamy with pale grayish brown or pale pinkish hues.

6.Cap more highly colored.

7.Cap entirely white or whitish throughout development, covered with colorless slime.
Limacella illinita
see Weber & Smith (1985);
Arora (1986); Roody (2003)

7.Cap or slime not entirely white.

8.Cap center grayish to brownish; slime colorless.
Limacella illinata var. argillacea
at Roger's Mushrooms (my ID of variant)
see also Horn, Kay & Abel (1993)

8.Cap whitish, but slime turning pinkish to reddish with maturity.

9.Cap golden brown to dull yellow; apparently southern in distribution.
Limacella kauffmanii
see Weber & Smith (1985)

9.Cap reddish brown; apparently widely distributed.

Excluded Species

Excluded from the key above are several North American "species" that were collected once and described by William Murrill in the early part of the 20th Century--and haven't been seen since, except by mycologists who, over the years, have been forced to study Murrill's type collections and brief field notes. I made the mistake of "messing with Murrill" in my key to Pluteus (see Couplet 71 for an example of what results from this mistake), and once was enough.


Arora, D. (1986). Mushrooms demystified: A comprehensive guide to the fleshy fungi. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press. 959 pp.

Scates, K. (1998). Trial field key to the species of Limacella in the Pacific Northwest. Retrieved March 7, 2006 from the Pacific Northwest Key Council Web site:

Smith, A. H., Smith, H. V. & Weber, N. S. (1979). How to know the gilled mushrooms. Dubuque, Iowa: Wm. C. Brown. 334 pp.

Smith, H. V. (1945). The genus Limacella in North America. Papers of the Michigan Academy of Science 30: 125-147.

Cite this page as:

Kuo, M. (2006, March). The genus Limacella. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: