Golden Pholiota

(Pholiota aurivella group)

Conservation Status
Golden Pholiota
Photo by Greg Watson
  IUCN Red List

not listed


NNR - Unranked


not listed


Golden Pholiota is a common, medium-sized, gilled mushroom. It is often treated as a species complex or group of several similar mushrooms, including Pholiota aurivella, Pholiota limonella, Pholiota abietis, Pholiota connata, Pholiota squarroso-adiposa, Pholiota subvelutipes, and sometimes Pholiota adiposa. Some of these species grow only on conifers, one grows only on hardwoods, and one occurs only in Europe. In field guides and online sources, they are usually all treated as a single species, growing on both conifers and hardwoods, occurring worldwide, and going under the name Pholiota aurivella, Pholiota limonella, or Pholiota glutinosa. The description that follows is of the group.

Golden Pholiota occurs in Europe, Asia, eastern Australia, New Zealand, and North America. In the United States it occurs in the east from Maine to northern Georgia, west to Minnesota and Missouri, in the west from western Washington to central California, and in the mountains of Colorado and New Mexico. Outside of these areas it is mostly absent. It is found from mid-summer to late fall usually in clusters. occasionally alone. It grows on living and dead wood of both hardwoods and conifers. It obtains its nutrients from dead wood (saprobic) and probably also from living wood (parasitic).

When it first appears, the cap is broadly bell-shaped or convex, yellow, yellowish-brown, or orangish-yellow. The upper surface is covered with large, brownish to reddish-brown scales. The scales are flat but often curl up at the edges. The surface below the scales is slimy when wet, sticky when moist, and smooth when dry. There are often shreds of tissue, remnants of the partial veil, hanging from the margins. As it ages the cap spreads out and the scales wash away or gelatinize and become indistinct. The mature cap is 1½ to 6 (4 to 15 cm) in diameter, is broadly convex or flat, and has a raised bump in the middle (umbonate).

The gills are closely spaced and are broadly attached to the stalk or notched at the point of attachment. They are whitish to yellow at first, becoming brown to rusty brown or brownish-orange as the spores mature.

The stalk is 1½ to 6 (4 to 15 cm) long, to 1 (4 to 25 mm) thick, dry, and whitish, yellowish, or colored like the cap. There is a ring of tissue near the top, remnants of the partial veil. Above the ring it is smooth, below the ring it is sparsely to densely covered with scales.

The flesh is yellowish or whitish. Some field guides say that it is edible, but one or more of the species in this group have caused gastric upset in many people.

The spore print is brown.


Similar Species

Habitat and Hosts

Living and dead hardwoods and conifers




Summer and fall


Distribution Map



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





  Kingdom Fungi (fungi)  
  Subkingdom Dikarya  
  Division Basidiomycota (club fungi)  
  Subdivision 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 Strophariaceae  
  Genus Pholiota (scalycaps)  
  Subgenus Pholiota  



Agaricus aurivellus

Dryophila aurivella

Hypodendrum aurivellum


Common Names


Golden Pholiota

Goldskin Scalecap









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.



On mushrooms, having a distinct, raised, knob-like projection in the center of the cap.





Visitor Photos

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Jim Gicking


base of a sweet gum tree.

    Golden Pholiota      

Greg Watson

    Golden Pholiota      








Visitor Videos

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Other Videos
  Golden Pholiota, 'pholiota aurivella' poisonous non edible mushroom
Freely Farm Exploits

Oct 3, 2021

This is a non edible poisonous mushroom, a disclaimer, I'm not an expert, so you pick, forage and identify wild mushrooms at your own risk. get experienced advice when identifying your mushrooms, if in any doubt whatsoever do not touch and leave it where it grows. There are many deadly varieties out there!

  The Inedible Mushroom: Golden Pholiota (Pholiota aurivella) Not Honey Mushroom
The Liu View

Nov 4, 2022

This is not honey mushroom Armillaria. It’s just honey mushroom alike. It’s called golden Pholiota. It’s inedible mushroom.




Visitor Sightings

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  Jim Gicking

Location: Bryn Mawr, Pa

base of a sweet gum tree.

Golden Pholiota

  Greg Watson

Location: Eagles Bluff Park

Golden Pholiota







Created: 11/28/2022

Last Updated:

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