Lepiota aspera may represent a complex of species with 1) pyramidal cap scales and 2) a fibrous to web-like veil. Other features of Lepiota aspera include 3) a dry, brown to cinnamon brown or reddish brown cap, 4) free, crowded, narrow, white gills, 5) a white to brownish or cap-colored stem sometimes with dark pointed scales at the base, 6) a fleeting ring that may have pointed warts on the edge, 7) growth on ground in forest litter, 8) a white spore deposit, and 9) elliptic spores. The online Species Fungorum, accessed April 3, 2016 and Oct 19, 2020, gave this as a synonym of Echinoderma asperum (Pers.) Bon. On the other hand the 10th Edition of Dictionary of the Fungi synonymized Echinoderma with Lepiota, and MycoBank, accessed on Oct 19, 2020, gave the current name as Lepiota aspera (Pers.) Quel. There is genetic support for Echinoderma as a genus - it would contain this species but not all of the species that have been named in Echinoderma in the past.
4.7-8.5(10)cm across, obtuse to convex becoming broadly convex to nearly flat, sometimes with obtuse umbo; dark avellaneous to rich cinnamon, "the whitish ground color usually showing through toward the margin"; "dry, at first covered by conspicuous cottony fibrillose scales or warts" which are squarrose on disc and appressed toward margin, somewhat evanescent [fleeting] and the disc merely appressed-fibrillose at times when old, (Smith), 3-11cm across, convex, becoming flat or with umbo; disc "with brown fibrous scales and dark pointed warts", warts falling off and tufts of dark fibers remaining in their scars, margin like the disc, (Sieger), 5-10cm across, rounded to convex, becoming flat or umbonate; brown to cinnamon-brown; "dry, covered with cottony-fibrous, pointed to flattened scales", (Lincoff(2)), surface covered with small, erect, pointed, reddish brown or cinnamon brown scales over a white ground color, (Bessette)
thick, 0.4-1cm at disc, tapering evenly to margin, firm; white; in stem white to yellowish, (Smith), white, tending to turn yellow, (Lincoff(1))
crowded, narrow, 0.4-0.8cm broad, sometimes forked; white; thin, sometimes forking; white; edges usually eroded, (Smith), free, crowded, sometimes forking; white; edges usually eroded, (Sieger), free, crowded, narrow; white, (Lincoff(2))
6-11cm x 0.8-1.2cm at top, club-shaped to somewhat bulbous and up to 1.5-2.2cm wide at base, stem hollow or stuffed; "surface appressed silky-fibrillose or nearly glabrous above, lower portion more fibrillose and nearly concolorous with the pileus", (Smith), 6-11cm x 0.8-1.2cm at top, slightly club-shaped or bulbous, stuffed or hollow; silky smooth in upper part, fibrous in lower part, sometimes with dark pointed warts at base, (Sieger), 5-10cm x 1-1.5cm, widening toward somewhat bulbous base; brownish; smooth to fibrous, (Lincoff(2)), white (Bessette(2)), same color as cap (Lincoff(1))
ring median to superior, cottony-fibrillose and often evanescent [fleeting], "the margin colored like the fibrils of the cuticle", (Smith), ring membranous to cobwebby, "usually persistent when membranous, not movable, sometimes with dark pointed warts at the margin", (Sieger), "partial veil fibrous-cottony, white, leaving a white superior to median ring with reddish brown scales on the edge; ring often collapsing or sometimes evanescent", (Bessette)
pungent or absent (Smith), pungent or not remarkable (Sieger), strong somewhat acid odor (Lincoff(1)), not distinctive (Bessette)
mild (Smith), not remarkable (Sieger), fairly unpleasant flavor (Lincoff(1)), not distinctive (Bessette)
spores 6.5-9(11) x 2-3.5 microns, subcylindric [nearly cylindric], colorless to very pale yellowish in Melzer''s reagent; basidia 4-spored; cheilocystidia 20-25 x 7-10 microns, clavate, colorless, thin-walled; cap cuticle of short cylindric to nearly spherical cells that separate readily and are intermingled with a mass of filamentous hyphae 2.5-8 microns wide, "these more or less radially arranged, the walls brown and smooth or slightly roughened"; clamp connections abundant, (Smith), spores 6.5-9(11) x 2-3.5 microns, oblong, no germ pore, colorless to pale yellow in Melzer''s reagent; pleurocystidia absent, cheilocystidia clavate; cap cuticle short cylindric to spherical cells in a mass of filamentous hyphae, (Sieger), spores dextrinoid (Bessette)
white (Sieger, Bessette)
Lepiota aspera occurs throughout North America (Lincoff(2)). It is included in Pacific Northwest key of Sieger(1) (as Lepiota acutesquamosa). It also occurs in Europe. There are collections from BC at the University of British Columbia (as Lepiota acutesquamosa). There are collections at the University of Washington from WA, MD, MI, and NY.
Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Echinoderma acutesquamosum (Weinm.) Bon
Echinoderma asperum (Pers.) Bon Docums
Lepiota acutesquamosa (Weinm.) P. Kumm.