E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Pluteus cervinus (Fr.) P. Kumm.

Species account author: Ian Gibson.
Extracted from Matchmaker: Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest.

Introduction to the Macrofungi

© Judy Sinclair  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #14451)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Pluteus cervinus
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend
Details about map content are available here
Click on the map dots to view record details.

Species Information

Pluteus cervinus is characterized by a medium to large, brown, bald cap; free, close gills; dingy whitish stem, typically with fine pinkish gray-brown longitudinal spiral striation; absence of a veil; growth on wood; pinkish brown spore deposit; and microscopically by fusoid-ventricose pleurocystidia with 2-4 apical hooks, and cap cuticle hyphae without clamp connections. Hansen, L.(2) gives Pluteus cervinus (Schaeff.) Kummer as a synonym of P. atricapillus (Batsch) Fayod, and Breitenbach(4) vice versa, but Banerjee describes then separately and it is the Banerjee description of P. cervinus (Fr.) Kummer that is used below. Var. alba is white. Var. scaber has blackish young cap that is dark cinnamon-brown when mature, wrinkled disc, and stem surface fibrillose-scabrous. Pluteus cervinus is the commonest species in the genus, although it is probably a complex of several good species or at least varieties and forms. It is found in BC (Redhead(5)). Collections were examined from WA, OR, ON, IL, KY, MA, MI, OH, TN, UT, WI, (Banerjee), and AZ (Martin, K.J.). Collections of var. scaber were examined from WA, CA, KY, WI (Banerjee). Pluteus cervinus has been reported from ID by Andrew Parker, pers. comm.
3-12(15)cm across, obtuse or convex becoming broadly convex to broadly umbonate or flat; dark brown to pale brown to grayish brown or dingy fawn, margin sometimes paler; "smooth or radially streaked with fibrils, slightly viscid when moist and often somewhat wrinkled when young", (Arora), (3)5-15(20)cm across, obtuse when young, soon broadly bell-shaped, finally flat or nearly so, sometimes retaining low broad umbo; color variable: "isabella color", pale buffy brown, "dresden brown" to "pale smoky gray", disc often darker; "soft to the touch and semiviscid to viscid (rarely very viscid)", often uneven or wrinkled at first but becoming even when old, bald to radially streaked with appressed fibrils, minutely squamulose to fibrillose scaly over disc at times, margin even to occasionally striate, cap cuticle separable to disc, (Banerjee)
soft; white, (Arora), moderately thick ( 0.8-1.2cm), relatively soft; pallid to white, unchanging, (Banerjee)
free at maturity, close or crowded, broad, soft; "white becoming pinkish, finally dingy reddish or flesh-colored", (Arora), approximate to stem, close, broad ( 1-1.6cm), 1-2(3) tiers of subgills; pallid to white before becoming pink to light pinkish cinnamon, edges pallid; edges even, (Banerjee), edges are white-fringed under a hand-lens (Trudell)
5-13cm x 0.5-2(2.5)cm, equal or wider at base; "white or with grayish to brownish longitudinal fibrils"; dry, (Arora), 5-14(19)cm x (0.3)0.6-1.2(2.4)cm at top, equal to slightly tapering, firm, solid; pallid, dingy whitish, evenly colored except for base that sometimes shows traces of fibrils of similar color to disc; becoming bald, "typically with fine pinkish gray brown spiral striations along the length (occasionally with blackish fibrils forming a reticulum)", base sometimes cottony-mycelioid, (Banerjee)
absent (Arora)
usually radish-like, (Arora), mild (Banerjee), not distinctive (Phillips), strong of radish or potato (Trudell)
earth-like to radish-like (occasionally disagreeable), (Banerjee), not distinctive (Phillips)
Microscopic spores:
spores 5-8 x 4-6 microns, elliptic, smooth, (Arora), spores 5.4-8(10) x (4)4.4-5.4(6.4) microns, narrowly oval to broadly elliptic to nearly round, smooth, nearly colorless, wall slightly thickened, hilar appendage conspicuous; basidia 4-spored, (17)22-25(38) x 6-7(9.6) microns, contents granular when fresh; pleurocystidia numerous, 54-90(124) x 10-22(31) microns, fusoid-ventricose, apices studded with (0-1)2-4(7) horn-like projections, wall thickened in upper half (1.8-2.6 microns thick at neck), colorless, cheilocystidia in fascicles, (15)38-66(75) x (7)9-15(27) microns, "clavate to sphaeropedunculate to occasionally broadly fusoid", rarely with mucronate tip, smooth, colorless, thin-walled; cap cuticle hyphae without clamp connections, (Banerjee)
Spore deposit:
flesh-colored to pinkish-brown, (Arora), "cinnamon" (Kornerup(3) color), (Banerjee), salmon to pink (Miller)

Habitat / Range

single or in groups "on decaying wood, debris, sawdust piles, or humus rich in lignin", (Arora), single to scattered (to gregarious) on decayed hardwood logs, stumps and sawdust, but also reported from conifer duff, and at least one case from an Abies log, (Banerjee), "in cool damp weather usually in spring and fall", (Miller), "can be found throughout the year when temperature and moisture are conducive", (Trudell), spring, summer, fall, (Bacon)

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Pluteus atricapillus (Batsch) Fayod?

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Range and Status Information Links


yes, especially when fresh and firm, do not eat any that are not clearly growing on wood (to avoid confusion with Entolomas), (Arora)

Additional Photo Sources

Related Databases

Species References

Banerjee(3) (colors in quotation marks from Ridgway(1)), Arora(1)*, Phillips(1)*, Lincoff(2)*, Lincoff(1)*, Miller(14)*, Ammirati(1)*, Schalkwijk-Barendsen(1)*, Kibby(1)*, Courtecuisse(1)*, Bessette(2)*, Redhead(5), Breitenbach(4)*, Martin, K.J.(3), Hanse

References for the fungi

General References