return to Pictorial Key

Strophariaceae s.l.

These are all saprophytic. This page describes those mushrooms obviously belonging to the Stropharia family (rather dark brown spores or with a purple tint), others like Pholiota and Agrocybe with more "regular" brown spores are covered separately. Mythicomyces/Stagnicola look like Stropharia but are actually related to Psathyrella.

A tiny "LBM" on fabric (or sometimes wood) with a very dark spore print might be Melanotus.

Key to Strophariaceae:


Stropharia - usually viscid cap, not hygrophanous, usually found on the ground, dung or in grass (and rarely on wood). They all have a partial veil, sometimes leaving a ring and sometimes just leaving a ring zone. Usually medium to large size (bigger than Deconica). The smaller species that could be confused with Deconica have a hemispherical yellow cap, and similar Hypholomas are not usually viscid. They are usually fairly colourful, with white gill edges from the cystidia. The defining feature is the presence of acanthocytes on the mycelium that might eat nematodes, but those are not easy to detect.

S. ambigua - bright yellow cap, white fluffy veil material everywhere (washes off) not present on the similar, smaller Leratiomyces percevalii. No real ring, big, <15cm.

S. hornemannii - yellow-brown cap, fluffy stem, ring. <12cm.

S. inuncta -  this yellow-brown capped species usually has hints of grey and purple. It has much smaller spores than S. hornemannii.

S. rugosoannulata - red cap fading to yellow-brown, then hard to ID if you don't notice the smooth stem. Ring. <15cm.

S. kauffmanii - scaly cap and stem, dry, yellow brown. Ring. <15cm.

S. scabella - dark red-brown cap.

S. aeruginosa - blue/green cap fading to pale yellow, ring, white gill edges. <6cm.

S. caerula - gill edges not white? Fades faster, less ring? <6cm.

S. pseudocyanea - smaller, <2cm, pointier blue-green cap fading quickly to straw.

More study is needed to see which blues species are actually here. Our most common one may be an undescribed sister species to S. cyanea.

S. coronilla - in grass, stocky with yellow cap. Striate ring. <6cm.

S. albonitens - white cap with yellow tones. Ring. Fluffy stem. <5cm. It looks just like a faded blue Stropharia, but is not blue when fresh.

S. melanosperma - similar with much larger spores.

S. albivelata - warm brown spore print, might be sought on that page. <8cm. Red brown, ring.

Hemistropharia albocrenulata - large, viscid, red-orange, scaly cap and stem, but found on wood so also keyed out with the not-as-dark-spored Pholiota, mostly on hardwood.

Protostropharia - These small, hemispherical yellow Stropharias with long viscid stems in grass and dung are unrelated and have been moved, or will be moved, to a new genus, Protostropharia. They are all <5cm, but Psilocybe and Deconica do not have round yellow caps. Hypholoma is very similar, but not usually viscid.

P. semiglobata grp (incl. P. dorispora) - in dung. Long viscid stem. Similar to Agrocybe pediades. <5cm.

P. alcis - one brightly coloured group member found on moose dung with a flaring ring when young.

S. umbonatescens - pointy umbonate cap, resembling Psilocybe but yellower.

S. semigloboides - yellow cap, even longer, rooting viscid stem. Not in dung. Smaller, <1.5cm. Much smaller spores.

S. silvatica - more brownish yellow than P. semigloboides?

Leratiomyces - another group recently separated from Stropharia, containing several yellow to orange-red species. They are only thinly viscid.

L. ceres (S. aurantiaca) - red-orange in gardens and wood chips. Stem bruises reddish-orange. <5cm.

L. percevalii (riparius) - dull yellow, <9cm, smaller than S. ambigua, no fluffy veil material, weak veil, smooth stem.

L. magnivelaris - stronger ring? Probably the same species.

L. 'squamosus' - small, <5cm, yellow with shaggy stem and ring.

L. 'squamosus' var. thraustus - red-orange version. <7cm.


Hypholoma - (formerly known as Naematoloma) - non-viscid caps separate these from others in this family (except for the viscid Phaeonematoloma), but still, they can be very difficult to separate from Deconica and Protostropharia. They have a very weak veil. The veil is sometimes cobwebby like the cortina of Cortinarius and never leaves much material on the cap or stem. Often yellow-brown in colour. Found on wood, moss, bogs or the ground. Some of the moss species have paler spores than the others and could be searched for in the brown spored pages. Not usually hygrophanous.

H. capnoides - grey young gills, clustered on logs.

H. fasciculare - yellow-green young gills, bitter, clustered on logs.

H. lateritium - brick red caps clustered on logs.

H. dispersum (marginatum) - on woody debris on the ground, stiff, dark stem with white banding.

H. tuberosum - sclerotium (nutrient ball)  at the base of the stem, as in the paler spored Agrocybe arvalis. But with a cobweb veil and without white mycelium. A single nursery in Sydney shipped peat around the world, spreading this Australian native everywhere.

H. elongatum (elongatipes) - found in Sphagnum moss, more yellowish cap than the others? Somewhat hygrophanous.

Hypholoma udum (Bogbodia uda) - more olive to red-brown caps.

Hypholoma polytrichi/subericaceum - differ microscopically.

Phaeonematoloma myosotis - viscid cap and stem, plainer brown spores, olive brown, umbonate cap, in moss.


Mythicomyces/Stagnicola - look like a cross between Hypholoma, Xeromphalina and Phaeocollybia, with dry caps. Mythicomyces has dark spores like Hypholoma and a two-toned somewhat black horny stem like Xeromphalina. Stagnicola is very similar with brown spores and might be looked for in the LBMs. They resemble the Strophariaceae, but are actually in the Psathyrellaceae. <2.5cm across

Mythicomyces corneipes - hygrophanous.

Stagnicola perplexa


Psilocybe - viscid capped mushrooms mostly with a peelable cap cuticle, which can separate them from Hypholoma, and hygrophanous, which can separate them from Stropharia. Small mushrooms (usually <5cm but sometimes bigger) that grow on the ground, grass, gardens or dung but mostly in wood chips unless noted. They have a veil that is often cobwebby like the cortina of Cortinarius that may or may not leave a ring on the stem. They often smell farinaceous. The larger ones can be mistaken for Stropharia but the colour and shape is usually different. They are infamous for parts that can stain blue-green due to the presence of psilocybin and psilocin, the hallucinogenic substances that give these their nickname "magic mushrooms". Psilocybin may also be found in some Pluteus, Conocybe, Inocybe, Gymnopilus and Panaeolus but by far most of the hallucinogenic species are found in Psilocybe. The non-active species are called Psilocybe by some authors, but DNA evidence has shown them not to be that closely related, so they are getting their own genus, Deconica. Unfortunately, you may have to admire these from a distance because possession of anything that contains these substances in the U.S. is a federal offense. People have died accidentally eating deadly poisonous lookalikes like Galerina and Conocybe. They are very difficult to tell apart.

P. cyanescens - caramel colour, wavy cap, <5cm.

P. baeocystis - similar, darker olive when wet, incurved but not as wavy cap margin.

P. cyanofibrillosa/allenii - much like P. cyanescens, deep chestnut drying light brown, veil leaves a faint ring zone. Less wavy cap.

P. azurescens - our largest, up to 10cm, somewhat conical.

P. stuntzii - stem has a ring, <5cm.

P. ovoideocystidiata - similar with a weaker, wispy ring.

P. semilanceata - conehead, mostly in grass, <2.5cm. Similar to Stropharia umbonatescens.

P. strictipes - may not be distinct.

P. pelliculosa - similar but not as pointed, in soil, <2.5cm.

P. subfimetaria/fimetaria - in dung in grass, veil leaves a ring zone/ring on the stem, <2.5cm.


Deconica - very much like Psilocybe, and once considered Psilocybe, but they do not stain blue anywhere because they do not contain psilocybin, so they have been (or will be) moved into Deconica. Viscid capped, hygrophanous mushrooms mostly with a peelable cap cuticle, which can separate them from Hypholoma and Stropharia. Small mushrooms (usually <2.5cm unless noted) that grow on the ground, wood chips, grass, gardens or dung. They have a veil that is often cobwebby like the cortina of Cortinarius that may or may not leave a ring on the stem. They are very difficult to tell apart, so which species are here and how common they are is not well understood.

D. montana - in moss.  Possibly the least peelable cap cuticle. Low and high elevations.

D. coprophila/subcoprophila - found on dung.

D. angustispora (Psilocybe angustispora) - very similar, on dung, much smaller <1cm. Not yet officially moved to Deconica.

D. merdaria/moelleri - on dung, with a ring on the stem, <4cm.

D. crobula - in forests, not on dung or moss. <4cm.

D. inquilina - in grass, possibly the same species, <2cm.

D. apelliculosa/subviscida/phyllogena - very similar, may or not be on dung, these species are especially nondescript.

Psilocybe atrobrunnea (turficola) - often darker, in wet places, <4cm. It has not been proven yet if this is a Psilocybe or a Deconica.


return to Pictorial Key