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Volvariella volvacea

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

by Michael Kuo

This distinctive species of Volvariella is apparently not native to North America, but it has been introduced to our continent by human activity and can be found in woodchips, compost, greenhouses, and gardens when conditions are right. Volvariella volvacea is a robust species for the genus, featuring a grayish brown cap that is streaked with silky fibrils. The prominent volva at the base of the stem is brown to nearly black.


Ecology: Saprobic; growing gregariously or in clusters; found in woodchips, greenhouses, gardens, compost piles, and similar locations; capable of appearing year-round, depending on climate but usually found in summer when outdoors; apparently widely distributed (in introduced settings) in North America, but more common east of the Great Plains.

Cap: 5-16 cm; egg-shaped when young, expanding to convex or broadly conic, becoming broadly convex or nearly flat; dry; radially streaked with hairs; gray to brownish gray or grayish brown or nearly black when young, with a paler marginal area; soft; the margin not lined, but often splitting with age.

Gills: Free from the stem; white becoming pink; close or nearly crowded.

Stem: 4-14 cm long; up to 2 cm thick; tapering gradually to apex, with a swollen base; dry; whitish or brownish; silky; the base encased in a thick, sack-like volva that is brownish gray to nearly black above and whitish below.

Flesh: White.

Odor and Taste: Not distinctive.

Chemical Reactions: KOH negative on cap surface.

Spore Print: Salmon pink.

Microscopic Features: Spores 7-10.5 x 4.5-7 µ; more or less ellipsoid, or somewhat ovoid; smooth; inamyloid. Pleuro- and cheilocystidia variously shaped but mostly fusoid-ventricose; to about 115 x 35 µ. Pileipellis elements not gelatinized. Clamp connections absent.

REFERENCES: (Bulliard, 1786) Singer, 1951. (Fries, 1821; Saccardo, 1887; Shaffer, 1957; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1979; Weber & Smith, 1985; Monoson, Methven & Sundberg, 1993; Hemmes & Desjardin, 2002; McNeil, 2006.) Herb. Kuo 05271105.


Volvariella volvacea

Volvariella volvacea

Volvariella volvacea

Volvariella volvacea

Volvariella volvacea

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Kuo, M. (2011, November). Volvariella volvacea. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: