Common Stump Brittlestem

(Psathyrella piluliformis)

Conservation Status
Common Stump Brittlestem
Photo by Honey Fae (Farah)
  IUCN Red List

not listed


NNR - Unranked


not listed


Common Stump Brittlestem is a small, common, gilled mushroom. It occurs in Europe, Japan, and North America. In the United States it occurs east of the Great Plains and west of the Rocky Mountains. It is found from late summer through fall usually in dense tufts or large dense clusters. It usually appears at the base of hardwood stumps, and this is the source of its common name. It sometimes appears on logs or on woody debris. When appearing to grow on the ground it is attached to buried wood. It obtains its nutrients from dead wood (saprobic).

When it first appears, the cap is cone-shaped to hemispherical and dark reddish-brown. The upper surface is smooth, hairless, and moist. The tissue is dark and more or less transparent when moist, becoming paler and opaque as it dries out (hygrophanous). The margins are curved inward. A belt of white tissue, remnants of the partial veil, clings to the margins. As it ages, the color fades and the cap spreads out. Mature caps are broadly convex to nearly flat and usually ¾ to 2 (2 to 5 cm) in diameter, sometimes up to 2¾ (7 cm) in diameter. They sometimes break as adjacent mushrooms expand. There is often persistent veil tissue hanging from the margins that discolors dark brown with maturing spores.

The gills are brittle, closely spaced to crowded, and broadly attached to the stalk. They are whitish to pale brown at first, becoming brown as the spores mature. Between the main gills there are short gills that do not extend to the stalk.

The stalk is white, smooth, hollow, very fragile, 1¼ to 4 (3 to 10 cm) long, and to (4 to 9 mm) thick, the same thickness from top to bottom. It turns brown where bruised, and it often discolors brown near the base, darkened by falling spores. There is no ring, but there is occasionally an obscure zone of fibers where the partial veil was attached.

The flesh is thin, fragile, and brownish. It is edible when cooked but the taste is bitter. It should be avoided due to its similarity in appearance to many mushrooms whose edibility is not known, and to the deadly poisonous Funeral Bell (Galerina marginata).

The spore print is dark brown.


Similar Species


Psathyrella is a large genus of about 400 species. Many are small to medium-sized, have a convex to flat cap that is some shade of brown, and have a fragile white or pale stem. Common Stump Brittlestem is distinguished from similar Psathyrella species by its growth in clumps, usually at the base of hardwood stumps; the hygrophanous brown cap; the veil fragments on the margins of the cap that often persist and discolor dark brown with maturing spores; and the white fragile stalk.

Habitat and Hosts





Late summer through fall


Distribution Map



4, 24, 26, 29, 30, 77.





  Kingdom Fungi (fungi)  
  Subkingdom Dikarya  
  Phylum Basidiomycota (club fungi)  
  Subphylum Agaricomycotina (jelly fungi, yeasts, and mushrooms)  
  Class Agaricomycetes (mushrooms, bracket fungi, puffballs, and allies)  
  Subclass Agaricomycetidae  
  Order Agaricales (common gilled mushrooms and allies)  
  Suborder Agaricineae  
  Family Psathyrellaceae  


Psathyrella (brittlestems)  



Agaricus hydrophilus

Agaricus piluliformis

Drosophila hydrophila

Drosophila piluliformis

Hypholoma hydrophila

Hypholoma hydrophilum

Hypholoma piluliforme

Hypholoma subpapillatum

Psathyrella hydrophila

Psathyrella subpapillata


Common Names


Cluster Crumblecap

Clustered Psathyrella

Common Stump Brittlestem












Referring to mushroom tissue that is dark and more or less transparent when moist, becoming paler and opaque as it dries out.


Partial veil

A protective covering over the gills or pores of a developing mushroom. At maturity it disappears, collapses into a ring around the stalk, or wears away into a cobwebby covering and ring zone.



A term often used for saprotrophic fungi. Referring to fungi that obtain their nutrients from decayed organic matter.





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Honey Fae (Farah)

    Common Stump Brittlestem   Common Stump Brittlestem  
    Common Stump Brittlestem   Common Stump Brittlestem  








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Other Videos
  Mushroom Hunting Possible Psathyrella piluliformis & Wood Ear Fungus
Walt Reven Jr

Aug 20, 2020

Mushroom Hunting Possible Psathyrella piluliformis & Wood Ear Fungus. Found these interesting wood ear and various mushrooms after a 4 day rain here in the ozarks of arkansas 2020.

Thank You Fin In Nature for helping me ID these properly once again!! Your knowledge is greatly appreciated my friend

Please note, safety first everyone! My videos are only for showing and displaying the various mushrooms I find in my woods in the ozarks of arkansas. They are for illustrative purposes only, make sure you do your research before consuming any wild edible mushroom!

Also if you would love to support my channel I gladly accept paypal, I appreciate any donations. Thank you

  Psathyrella piluliformis

Jan 12, 2019

  Common Stump Brittlestem (Psathyrella piluliformis) Vodenasta panjevčica

Sep 9, 2021




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  Honey Fae (Farah)
October, 2021

Location: Hennepin County

Common Stump Brittlestem







Created: 1/3/2023

Last Updated:

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