Mountain webcap (Cortinarius orellanus) photo and description

Mountain webcap (Cortinarius orellanus)

  • Department: Basidiomycota (Basidiomycetes)
  • Subdivision: Agaricomycotina (Agaricomycetes)
  • Class: Agaricomycetes (Agaricomycetes)
  • Subclass: Agaricomycetidae (Agaricomycetes)
  • Order: Agaricales (Agaric or Lamellar)
  • Family: Cortinariaceae (Spiderwebs)
  • Genus: Cortinarius (Webcap)
  • Species: Cortinarius orellanus (Mountain webcap)
    Other names for the mushroom:

  • Plush webcap
  • Spiderweb orange-red

Other names:

  • Mountain webcap

  • Spiderweb orange-red

Mountain webcap (Cortinarius orellanus)Description:

The mountain webcap (Cortinarius orellanus) has a dry, dull cap, covered with small scales, having a diameter of 3-8.5 cm, at the beginning hemispherical, then flat, with an expressionless tubercle, orange or brown-red with a golden tint. All of them are distinguished by non-slip, always dry fruiting bodies, a silky felt cap and a slender, not thickened leg. Plates are colored from orange to rusty brown.


The mountain webcap is a relatively rare species. In some countries, it has not yet been found. In Europe, it grows mainly in autumn (sometimes at the end of summer) in deciduous, and occasionally in coniferous forests. It forms mycorrhiza mainly with oak and birch. Most often appears on acidic soils. Learning to recognize this extremely dangerous mushroom is very difficult, since there are many similar species; because of this, even for a specialist, it is not easy to determine the Mountain Webcap.


Mountain webcap is deadly poisonous . Contains the poisonous substance orellanin, which causes pathological changes in the kidneys. Signs of poisoning appear 3-14 days after ingestion of the mushroom. The mushroom retains its toxic properties after boiling in water or drying.

The mountain webcap, like other types of webcaps, was considered a harmless mushroom until 1960. The prevailing opinion was that among the huge number of cobwebs (more than 400 species of them grow in Europe alone) there are only bitter inedible species and relatively tasty species that are suitable for writing.

However, after frequent poisonings that took place in Poland, many of which were fatal, it was possible to establish that the culprit was the Mountain Webcap - a mushroom smelling of radish and pleasant to the taste. During chemical analysis, several poisonous compounds were found in its fruits - orellanin, cortinarin, benzoinin, etc. Eating this and other types of spiderwebs is especially dangerous because the first signs of poisoning do not appear immediately, but after a fairly long time - from 3 to 24 days. Then there is a rapid deterioration in the human condition, impaired renal function and death.