Syn.: Agaricus aureus Matt., Agaricus spectabilis Fr., Agaricus vahlii Schumach., Cystoderma aureum (Matt.) Kühner et Romagn., Fulvidula spectabilis (Fr.) Romagn., Gymnopilus spectabilis (Fr.) Singer, Gymnopilus spectabilis (Fr.) Singer, Lepiota pyrenaea Quél., Pholiota aurea (Matt.) Sacc., Pholiota spectabilis (Fr.) P. Kumm., Pholiota vahlii (Schumach.) Weinm., Rozites spectabilis (Fr.) Singer, Togaria aurea (Matt.) W. G. Sm.
Family: Agaricaceae Chevall.
Phaeolepiota aurea
Distribution: Found in Eurasia and North America. The only species of the genus.
Ecology: In groups or clusters, in America in rich humus and soil, usually under alder along roads and trails. Fruiting in late summer and fall.
Description: Cap 5–20(–25) cm, obtuse to convex becoming broadly convex, plane, or broadly umbonate; surface dry, granular to somewhat powdery, orange to orange tan, tawny yellow, or golden brown, paler in age. Gills adnate to notched or free, close, pale yellowish to brownish. Stalk 5–15(–25) cm long, 2–4(–6) cm thick, thicker towards base, coloured like cap, granulose. Veil membranous, coloured like cap, sheathing the stalk and breaking to form superior flaring or funnel-like ring, which eventually collapses or becomes skirt-like. Flesh thick, pallid or yellowish. Spore print pale yellow brown, spores elliptical, smooth to minutely roughened.
Edibility: Edible for most people but mildly poisonous to some. This large, beautiful mushroom is as distinctive as it is rare.
Phaeolepiota aurea
Phaeolepiota aurea
Phaeolepiota aurea
These images were taken in Canada, British Columbia, Burton (September 2012).