Volvopluteus gloiocephalus – a common roadside species

I was doing some research and maintenance today when I realised that I didn’t have a blog entry for this mushroom, though it is a very common one that I have been eating for 30 years.  Perhaps I accidentally deleted it. It used to be known as Volvariella speciosa until quite recently when some DNA studies indicated that it should be placed in a new grouping.

If you are driving around Perth in wintertime, you will see this everywhere growing on roadside woodchip mulch.  It also occurs on waste ground.  It is not generally a good idea to eat mushrooms that grow by roadsides as they can accumulate various toxins.  However, these are so widespread that it should be possible locate some that are growing in a safe spot.

One of the important things to know about this species is that it looks very similar to an Amanita.  On the east coast, people have died after picking and eating the deadly Amanita phalloides, mistaking them for Volvariella volvaceae, the paddy straw mushroom of Southeast Asia and Queensland.  It would be very easy to make a similar fatal mistake here in the West, confusing Volvopluteus with other species of Amanita.  I have seen the two growing very close together and they are nearly impossible to tell apart.  It is only when the mushroom reaches maturity and the rusty orange gills become evident that Volvopluteus becomes easy to identify.

Now for some pictures.  I had to recover these from an old computer in the shed that I first bought in 2003.  That was an interesting exercise in itself, requiring removal of the hard drive and taking it to the computer shop.

This first picture shows the mushroom just as it is emerging.  It looks just like the hard boiled egg that I have placed beside it.


Emerging mushroom beside a boiled egg

As it grows, it begins to take on some shape.  You can clearly see the sac or volva at the base.


Beginning to grow, showing volva



At maturity, it takes on a classic shape.

two volvariellas

Typical Volvopluteus gloiocephala at maturity


The gills, which are white at first, take on a rusty orange colour at maturity.  It is at this stage that identification is most accurate.

vovariella pair

Mature specimens, showing gills


This mushroom has an unusual and distinctive taste.  I often cook it in a sauce that I add to silverbeet and serve it with roast chicken.

All of my numerous attempts to cultivate this mushroom have failed, resulting in a slimy bacterial looking mess.  It is possible, as others have done it, so I will give it another go next time I find it, with my more recently installed laminar flow hood.


5 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Glenda said,

    Hi Morrie. I will look out for it next winter. Btw how much rain did you get?

    • 2

      morrie2 said,

      Hi Glenda,

      I will be interested to hear if you find any, particularly down south. If you find any more of those green gilled ones I would also be interested to hear about it as they are not much reported down here and I would like to get some really good pictures of them.

      It rained so heavily here that I could barely believe it. Washed my driveway out once again and deposited it in the paddock. I haven’t got a gauge but I think we got about 100mm. The dams are full for the moment.



      • 3

        Glenda said,

        Morrie, we are going down on Sunday. I will be interested to see if we have a driveway. We got about 80mils according to a neighbour.

  2. 4

    G’day m8. I had a few of these guys pop up in the hayshed last year at my place. I’m in the Nannup area.

  3. 5

    Stephen Walker said,

    G’day Morrie,

    knowing my interest in wild mushrooms, a colleague bought in some she found on her lawn in Donnybrook, asking if they were edible. they look much like these volvopluteus, but given your comment that they have deadly look-alikes, we’re reluctant to do a fry-up until we get a second opinion. I’ve taken some photos, including a spore print and environmental factors if that helps identify them more definitely. but don’t appear to be able to attach. having had similar difficulties in the past, i’ll try sending them via email – pretty sure I still have messages from back then.


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