Pholiota adiposa (Batsch) P. Kumm.

Phylum: Basidiomycota - Class: Agaricomycetes - Order: Agaricales - Family: Strophariaceae

Pholiota adiposa, northern France

Pholiota adiposa, an uncommon species occurring most often on dead or dying Beech trees, usually produces dense tufts with conjoined stem bases low down on trunks or on stumps and large fallen branches.


An occasional find throughout Britain and Ireland, Pholiota adiposa is most often seen in Beech (Fagus sylvatica) woodland but can also occur on poplars, oaks and other kinds of broadleaf dead timber. This species also found in northern and central mainland Europe and has been recorded in parts of North America.

Taxonomic history

Described in 1786 by German naturalist and mycologist August Johann Georg Karl Batsch, who named it Agaricus adiposus - a name subsequently sanctioned by Elias Magnus Fries - this scalycap mushroom was moved to the genus Pholiota by another famous German mycologist, Paul Kummer, thus establishing its currently-accepted scientific name as Pholiota adiposa.

Synonyms of Pholiota adiposa include Agaricus adiposus Batsch and Dryophila adiposa (Batsch) Quél.


The generic name Pholiota means scaly, and the specific epithet adiposa comes from the Latin noun adeps meaning lard, or grease - a reference to the greasy cap surface of this woodland mushroom.

Identification guide

Cap of Pholiota adiposa


5 to 10cm in diameter, convex eventually flattening; bright yellow and with a greasy surface that is slimy in wet weather. Brown scales from veil fragments cling to the cap most densely towards the centre

Gills of Pholiota adiposa


The crowded adnate gills are pale yellow when young, turning red-brown as the spores develop.

Stem of Pholiota adiposa


Cylindrical, 5 to 10mm in diameter and 2.5 to 6cm tall; yellow becoming rust-brown towards the base; surface usually covered sparsely with upturned brown scales (fragments of the partial veil). The stems often join where they are attached to the substrate.

Spore of Pholiota adiposa


Ellipsoidal, smooth, 5-6.5 x 3-4μm.

Show larger image

Spore print



Odour faint, pleasant but not distinctive; taste not distinctive.

Habitat & Ecological role

Mostly seen on stumps, dead trunks and fallen large branches of Beech, but can also occur on oaks, poplars and other broadleaf hardwoods..


Late summer and autumn in Britain and Ireland.

Similar species

Pholiota squarrosa is usually paler with much larger cap and stem scales.

Pholiota alnicola has few scales and much larger spores; iut grows on Alder trunks.

Pholiota aurivella has pale stems and much larger spores with distinct germ pores.

Some forms of Armillaria mellea, the Honey Fungus, are scaly but their spore prints are white rather than brown and the gills do not darken significantly with age.

Kuehneromyces mutabilis can be very similar, although its cap is usually two-toned. It also has a more obvious sign zone and a dark tan stem below the ring zone; its gills are ochraceous when young, becoming cinnamon at maturity.

Culinary Notes

Despite their attractive appearance, these and other scalycaps (Pholiota species) are definitely not edible mushrooms, although in the past some members of this genus were considered to be so.

Reference Sources

Fascinated by Fungi, 2nd Edition, Pat O'Reilly 2016, reprinted by Coch-y-bonddu Books in 2022.

British Mycological Society (2010). English Names for Fungi

Funga Nordica, Henning Knudsen and Jan Vesterholt, 2008.

Dictionary of the Fungi; Paul M. Kirk, Paul F. Cannon, David W. Minter and J. A. Stalpers; CABI, 2008

Taxonomic history and synonym information on these pages is drawn from many sources but in particular from the British Mycological Society's GB Checklist of Fungi.

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