Velvet moss (Xerocomellus pruinatus) photo and description

Velvet flywheel (Xerocomellus pruinatus)

  • Department: Basidiomycota (Basidiomycetes)
  • Subdivision: Agaricomycotina (Agaricomycetes)
  • Class: Agaricomycetes (Agaricomycetes)
  • Subclass: Agaricomycetidae (Agaricomycetes)
  • Order: Boletales
  • Family: Boletaceae
  • Genus: Xerocomellus (Xeroomellus or Mokhovichok)
  • Species: Xerocomellus pruinatus (Velvet moss)

Synonyms for the name of the species are:

  • Waxy moss;
  • Frosty Mosswheel;
  • Matte flywheel;
  • Boletus fragilipes;
  • Boletus pruinatus;
  • Xerocomus pruinatus;
  • Xerocomus fragilipes.

Velvet moss (Xerocomus pruinatus)

Velvet flywheel (Xerocomellus pruinatus) is an edible mushroom that belongs to the Boletov family. In some classifications, it is referred to as Borovik.

External description of the mushroom

The fruit body of the velvet flyworm (Xerocomellus pruinatus) is represented by a leg and a cap. The diameter of the cap is from 4 to 12 cm. Initially, it has a spherical shape, gradually becomes cushion-shaped and even flat. The top layer of the cap is represented by a velvety skin, but in mature mushrooms the cap becomes bare, sometimes wrinkled, but at the same time it does not crack. Occasionally cracks appear only in old, overripe fruit bodies. There may be a matte coating on the skin of the cap. The cap color ranges from brownish, reddish brown, purplish brown to deep brown. In mature mushrooms of the velvet flywheel, it is often faded, sometimes characterized by a pinkish tint.

A distinctive feature of any mushrooms (including velvety ones) is the presence of a tubular layer. The tubes contain olive, yellow-green or bright yellow pores.

The mushroom pulp is characterized by a white or slightly yellowish color, if its structure is damaged, or if you press hard on the surface of the pulp, it will turn blue. The aroma and taste of the described type of mushrooms are at a high level.

The length of the mushroom leg is 4-12 cm, and in diameter this leg can reach 0.5-2 cm. It is smooth to the touch, and varies in color from yellow to reddish-yellow. Microscopic examination demonstrates that in the pulp of the mushroom leg there are amyloid hyphae of a thick-walled structure, which is one of the main differences between the described type of fungi. Fusiform mushroom spores with an ornamented surface are particles of a yellowish spore powder. Their dimensions are 10-14 * 5-6 microns.

Habitat and period of fruiting

The velvet flyworm grows in deciduous forests, mainly under oak and beech trees, and in addition, in coniferous forests with spruces and pines, as well as in mixed woodlands. Active fruiting begins in late summer and continues throughout the first half of autumn. It grows mainly in groups.


The mushroom velvet moss (Xerocomellus pruinatus) is edible and can be used in any form (fresh, fried, boiled, salted or dried).

Similar species, distinctive features from them

A mushroom similar to the velvet flywheel is the variegated flywheel (Xerocomus chrysenteron). However, the size of this similar variety is smaller, and the cap is cracking, yellow-brown in color. The often described type of flyworm is confused with a fissured flyworm, which bears fruit from mid-summer until late autumn. Between these two species of mushrooms, there are many subspecies and intermediate forms, united with each other into one type, called the cisalpine moss (lat.Xerocomus cisalpinus). This species differs from the velvet flywheel in the wider spore size (they are about 5 microns larger). The cap of this species cracks with age, the leg is short, and when pressed or damaged, the surface becomes bluish. In addition, the flesh of the Cisalpine moss is paler in color.Through microscopic studies, it was also possible to find out that its leg contains the so-called waxy hyphae, which are not in the velvet flywheel (Xerocomellus pruinatus).

Interesting information about the velvet flywheel

The specific epithet "velvet", which is assigned to the described species, is adopted in connection with the most frequent use of this particular term in the Russian-language scientific literature. However, the most accurate designation for this type of mushroom can be called a frosty flywheel.

The generic name for velvet flywheel is Xerocomus. Translated from Greek, the word xersos means dry, and kome means hair or down. The specific epithet pruinatus comes from the Latin word pruina, translated as frost or wax coating.