White-crested scaly (Hemistropharia albocrenulata) photo and description

White-crested scaly (Hemistropharia albocrenulata)

Synonyms :

  • Stropharia whitish

  • Pholiota albocrenulata
  • Hebeloma albocrenulatum
  • Stropharia albocrenulata
  • Pholiota fusca
  • Agaricus albocrenulatus
  • Hemipholiota albocrenulata

White-crested scaly

Hemistropharia is a genus of lamellar fungi, the classification of which is still somewhat unclear. Perhaps the genus is related to Hymenogastraceae or Tubarieae. Monotypic genus, contains one species: Hemistropharia albocrenulata, Russian name White-crested scaly.

This species, originally named Agaricus albocrenulatus by the American mycologist Charles Horton Peck in 1873, has been renamed several times. Among other names, Pholiota albocrenulata and Stropharia albocrenulata are common. The genus Hemistropharia strongly resembles the typical Pholiota (Foliota), it is in this genus that the white-crowned scaly was originally classified and described, and it is considered a wood-destroying fungus, like the real Foliota.

Microscopic differences: Unlike Pholiota, Hemistropharia has no cystidia and darker basidiospores.


Hat : 5-8, under good conditions, up to 10-12 centimeters in diameter. In young mushrooms it is bell-shaped, hemispherical, with growth it acquires the shape of a flat-convex, can be broadly bell-shaped, with a pronounced tubercle.

The surface of the cap is covered with concentrically located wide, light (slightly yellowish) lagging fibrous scales. In adult specimens, scales may be absent.

Along the lower edge of the cap, white felt hanging scales are clearly visible, forming an elegant fringe.

The color of the cap varies, the color range is red-brown to dark brown, chestnut, chestnut-brown.

The skin of the cap is slimy in wet weather and can be easily removed.

Plates : adherent, frequent, very light in young mushrooms, light gray-violet. Most sources indicate this detail - plates with a faint purple tint - as a distinctive feature of the white-bellied scale. Also, young mushrooms often have white, light, oily drops on the edges of the plates. In older mushrooms, it is noted that dark purple-brown clusters can be seen inside these drops.

With age, the plates acquire chestnut, brown, greenish-brown, violet-brown colors, the edges of the plates may be jagged.

Leg : 5-9 centimeters high and about 1 cm thick. Dense, solid, hollow with age. With a fairly well-defined white ring in young mushrooms, turned upwards, like a bell; with age, the ring acquires a somewhat "ragged" appearance, it may disappear.

Above the ring, the leg is light, smooth, longitudinally fibrous, longitudinally striped.

Below the ring, it is densely covered with large, light, fibrous, strongly protruding scales. The color of the leg between the scales is yellowish, rusty, brown, to dark brown.

Flesh : light, whitish, yellowish, yellowish with age. Dense.

Smell : no special smell, some sources note a sweetish or weak mushroom. Obviously, a lot depends on the age of the fungus and the growing conditions.

Taste : bitter.

Spore powder : brown-violet. Spores 10-14 x 5.5-7 microns, almond-shaped, with a pointed end. Cheilocystids are bottle-shaped.

Season and distribution

It parasitizes living hardwood, most often aspen. It can grow in tree holes and on roots. It also grows on rotten wood, also mainly aspen. It is found infrequently, in small groups, in the summer-autumn period.

In Russia, it is recorded in the European part, in Eastern Siberia and in the Far East. Outside Russia, it is distributed in Europe, North Africa and North America.


Inedible due to bitter taste.

Similar species

In dry weather, it can look like destructive flakes.

Notes : Pholiota albocrenulata var. albocrenulata and Pholiota albocrenulata var. conica. Alas, no intelligible descriptions of these varieties have yet been found.

Photo: Leonid