Flammulina velutipes

The cap ranges from almost a half-inch to 3 inches wide and is smooth. It is moist and sticky when fresh. The color varies from dark orange brown to yellowish brown often fading as it ages. The gills are attached and whitish and the stalk is pale yellowish above and dark velvet brown below (B and E). The stalk is 1-3 inches long. A group of mushrooms is seen in A and D. while B shows a close-up and C shows the mycelia or hidden fibers of this mushroom.

This mushroom grows in clusters on decaying wood especially the stumps, logs, roots and living wood of hardwoods. It is seen from the fall to spring.  It is commonly seen in Fontenelle Forest.

Extreme caution is advised as this mushroom can easily be confused with the deadly poisonous Galerina autumnalis which also grows in clusters on wood but has a thin ring (partial veil) on the stem. A microscope is needed to tell these mushrooms apart. Galerina also has a ring on the stalk. It is called velvet foot because the stem feels like velvet being very soft and hairy. It’s also called the winter mushroom because this is one of the few mushrooms that will actually come up through the snow!

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