Galerina autumnalis (Deadly Galerina)

Description: Fading, brownish, tacky cap with yellowish gills becoming rusty; ring on brownish stalk; on decaying wood

Cap: 1-2.5" (2.5-6.5 cm) wide; convex becoming flat or with slight knob, margin translucent and radially lined when moist; sticky, smooth, dark brown to ochre-tawny, unevenly fading to yellowish or buff.

Gills: attached, close, broad; yellowish becoming rust.

Stalk: 1-4" (2.5-10 cm) long, 1/8-3/8" (0.3-1 cm) thick, sometimes enlarging toward base; hollow, somewhat longitudinally lined; off-white above brownish to blackish base; lower stalk and base with dense, white threads (mycelium).

Spores: 8.5-10.5 X 5-6.5 m; elliptical, roughened, with smooth depression. Spore print rust.

Edibility: Deadly.

Season: October-November; May-June.

Habitat: Scattered to abundant, on well-decayed coniferous and deciduous logs.

Range: Throughout North America.

Look-alikes: The deadly G. marginata (if a distinct species) has moist, not tacky, cap. Pholiota mutabilis has down-curled scales on stalk, grows in massive, dense, clusters.

Comments: Also known as "Autumn Galerina" and formerly known as Pholiota autumnalis. This galerina is one of a few very common, harmless-looking little brow mushrooms that are deadly. Symptoms typically occur 10 or more hours after ingestion and follow the same sequence as those for the destroying angels: vomiting and diarrhea, cramps, then a short remission followed by kidney an/or liver dysfunction or failure, coma, and death.

Galerina autumnalis image and excerpt from Gary H. Lincoff's National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms, (1981/2004, pp. 620-621 , image #228).

Galerina autumnalis (Deadly Galerina)