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Volvariella speciosa

[ Basidiomycetes > Agaricales > Pluteaceae > Volvariella . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

Though typically an urban mushroom growing in gardens, wood chips, lawns, and so on, Volvariella speciosa also grows in the woods. It is an impressive mushroom, frequently stark white and reminiscent of the Destroying Angels. It is distinguished from the deadly amanitas, however, by its lack of a ring, its pinkish gills (when mature), and its salmon-colored spore print. Among species of Volvariella, Volvariella speciosa can be distinguished by its large size, urban habitat, white to grayish colors, and large spores.


Ecology: Saprobic; growing alone or gregariously in gardens, lawns, wood chips, fields, and so on--but frequently in woods as well; late spring to fall in the north, fall and winter in the south and in California; widely distributed in North America.

Cap: 5-15 cm; oval becoming convex to broadly convex or bell-shaped, occasionally nearly flat; smooth and shiny; slimy when fresh; shiny when dry; white to grayish (sometimes whitish but darker towards the center); the margin not lined or faintly lined.

Gills: Free from the stem; whitish becoming pink to salmon; close or crowded.

Stem: 5-20 cm long; 1-2.5 cm thick; more or less equal; sometimes tapering slightly to top; dry; white; smooth; without a ring; the base encased in a thick, white to grayish, sack-like volva which may be prominent or not, and which may be buried.

Flesh: Soft and white throughout.

Odor and Taste: Unpleasant. Beginners should not taste this mushroom.

Chemical Reactions: KOH on cap surface negative.

Spore Print: Salmon pink to pinkish brown.

Microscopic Features: Spores 11.5-21 x 7-12.6 µ; elliptical; smooth. Pleuro- and cheilocystidia variously shaped (including fusoid, fusoid-ventricose, lanceolate and clavate); occasionally branched; to about 120 x 70 µ. Pileipellis of gelatinized hyphae. Clamp connections absent.

REFERENCES: (Fries, 1818) Singer, 1951. (Fries, 1821; Saccardo, 1887; Kauffman, 1918; Shaffer, 1957; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1979; Arora, 1986; Lincoff, 1992; Horn, Kay & Abel, 1993; Monoson, Methven & Sundberg, 1993; McNeil, 2006; Miller & Miller, 2006.) Herb. Kuo 05280201, 01160602.

Volvariella speciosa var. gloiocephala, also known as Volvariella gloiocephala, is tawny, brownish, or grayish and sometimes has a lined cap margin; it does not differ substantially under the microscope. Most mycologists consider it a synonym.

Further Online Information:

Volvariella speciosa at MykoWeb
Volvariella speciosa at Roger's Mushrooms


Volvariella speciosa

Volvariella speciosa

Volvariella speciosa

Volvariella speciosa

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Kuo, M. (2004, November). Volvariella speciosa. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: