Help with Lepiota ID

Basidium basidium at
Sat Oct 7 09:59:12 EST 2000

>Lately some mushrooms cropped up in the neighbor's yard, on wood chips (that
>be from outside the area, put down 2 years ago), under cedars. The buttons
>out chestnut brown and hard. As the pileus opens the brown crust cracks
>and exposes the white tissue underneath. About 5 circles of "horns" form
>the cap, with upwards pointing crusty tips and white edges. Fully grown the
>are 10-15 cm in diameter and broadly bell shaped. The stipe has a broad bulb
>the base and has a thin hollow volume. The annulus is attached on the lower
>and opens upwards. Gills white and free. Spores white and dextrinoid.
>(Reddish-brown with Melzer's reagent)This is a handsme and striking looking
>fungus, but I can't find it in any of my field guides. Any suggestions are

Unless I am misinterpreting part(s) of your description ("horns"...
"crusty"...), it sounds to me like _Lepiota americana_, the "Reddening
Lepiota."  You did not mention any color change, however; the exposed context
of the stipe (stalk) of L. americana goes through a very distinctive color
change within ten or fifteen minutes, including a stage where it appears
distinctly "saffron" (yellow-pink [lovely!]).  The habitat makes sense for this
species, which loves cedar chips.
David W. Fischer
Coauthor, "Edible Wild Mushrooms of North America" and
   "Mushrooms of Northeastern North America"
E-mail: basidium at

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