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

Tricholoma saponaceum (Fr.) Staude
soapy Tricholoma

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

Introduction to the Macrofungi

© Adolf Ceska  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #18621)

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Distribution of Tricholoma saponaceum
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Species Information

Tricholoma saponaceum is distinguished among Tricholomas by the dry, somewhat greasy-looking cap that is variable in color but often has greenish tints, by the orangy-pink color of flesh at or near the base of the stem (not always well developed, but often visible on the outside as well), and the distinctive odor (sometimes not present). What we call Tricholoma saponaceum may represent a complex of species. It is common in the Pacific Northwest and CA. I has been reported specifically for WA by O'Dell(1), from ID by Andrew Parker, pers. comm., and from AB by Kernaghan(1). Bessette(5) say it is widely distributed in N. America and show photographs from AK, AZ, NS, NM, NY and WV. There are collections from BC at the Pacific Forestry Centre and the University of British Columbia. The University of Washington has collections labeled as this species from WA, OR, ID, AK, CT, MS, MT, NH, NM, WY, and Sweden.
4-12(18)cm across, convex to flat "or with uplifted, often wavy margin"; olive to greenish gray, gray, yellowish olive, brownish olive, grayish brown, coppery, or with rusty tints, or sometimes dingy gray at center and pallid toward margin; "dry or moist but not viscid, smooth or cracking into scales in dry weather", (Arora), 3-17cm across, convex to flat-convex, often with a broad umbo, margin inrolled at first becoming uplifted and wavy when old; greenish yellow, olive, or grayish brown, occasionally copper when old; moist or dry rather than viscid, bald, rarely with scattered appressed fibrils over disc, (Shanks), "greenish yellow to olivaceous to grayish brown to pale brown or whitish", (Trudell)
thick; "white, but may stain slowly yellowish or pinkish when bruised", usually pinkish in base, (this pinkish base flesh color present in the majority of specimens from any group), (Arora), whitish, in stem whitish to pale gray but pinkish in the base, (Shanks)
adnate to adnexed or notched, well-spaced, rather thick; "white or tinged olive or yellowish, sometimes stained reddish", (Arora), sinuate, close to subdistant, 0.3-1cm broad, thin or somewhat thick; white to yellowish white, not staining or discoloring, (Shanks), broad, thick; whitish but often showing flushes of color similar to cap, (Trudell)
5-12(20)cm x 1-3cm, shape variable but often widest in middle and narrowing in lower part to a somewhat rooting base, stem solid; "white or tinted variously with the cap color"; smooth or with small scales, (Arora), 3-10(25)cm x 0.6-2.5cm, equal or slightly ventricose [wider in middle], narrowing toward base, the base pointed or somewhat rooting; colored as gills overall or only at top, the rest brownish gray, base orange white or pinkish; silky fibrillose or bald and somewhat moist, (Shanks)
absent (Arora)
mild to farinaceous, soapy, or "of washrooms", (Arora), "historically described as like soap, rather sharp and rancid with a sweet overtone", (Shanks), fragrant, said to be of soap or flowers, or sour like sesame oil, or of green almonds, (Kibby), of soap
mild to farinaceous, soapy, or "of washrooms", (Arora), "historically described as like soap, rather sharp and rancid with a sweet overtone", (Shanks), mushroomy (Phillips), mild or slightly sweet (Miller)
Microscopic spores:
spores 5-6 x 3-4 microns, elliptic, smooth, [presumably inamyloid], (Arora), spores 5.3-7.2 x 3.4-4.8 microns, elliptic, smooth, inamyloid; basidia 4-spored, 24-33 x 5.8-6.2 microns, clavate; pleurocystidia and cheilocystidia absent; clamp connections scattered throughout, (Shanks)
Spore deposit:
white (Arora)

Habitat / Range

single, scattered, cespitose [in tufts], or in groups or troops under both hardwoods and conifers, (Arora), single to cespitose [in tufts] with hardwoods or conifers, (Shanks), summer and fall (Miller), often found in spring, unlike most Tricholomas (Bessette)

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Range and Status Information Links


no (Arora)

Additional Photo Sources

Related Databases

Species References

Shanks(2), Arora(1)*, Phillips(1)*, Lincoff(2)*, Ammirati(1)*, Miller(14)*, Kibby(1)*, Courtecuisse(1)*, Bessette(2)*, O'Dell(1), Kernaghan(1), Trudell(4)*, Buczacki(1)*, Bessette(5)*

References for the fungi

General References