Galerina marginata

Scientific nameGalerina marginata (Batsch) Kühner 
Derivation of nameGaler- refers to a "helmut or fur cap"
and ina is the diminutive form. Marginata refers to martin,
edge, or border; autumnalis (of the older name) implies
being found during the fall. 
SynonymsGalerina autumnalis (Peck) A.H. Sm. &
Singer, Pholiota autumnalis Peck
Common name(s):  Deadly Galerina.
Phylum:   Basidiomycota
Order:   Agaricales
Family:   Strophariaceae
Occurrence on wood substrate:  Saprobic; in small groups or
clusters on decaying deciduous and conifer wood such as logs,
stumps, and buried wood; May through June, October through
Dimensions:  Caps 2.5-6.5 cm wide; stipes 2.5-10 cm long
and 0.3-1 cm thick.   
Cap:  Sticky to dry, smooth, yellow-brown to dark brown.       
Gills: Attached; yellowish, becoming rust colored. 
Spore print: Rusty brown.
Stipe: Whitish above, browish toward base; whitish mycelium
at point of attachment.
Veil: Membranous, white, evanescent. Appearing brown from
spore deposit. Due to the evanescent nature of the ring,
there may only be a brownish ring zone on the stipe or, in
some cases, no evidence of a partial viel at all.
Edibility: Deadly poisonous.
Comments: This mushroom contains the deadly phallotoxins
and amatoxins, reason enough to avoid all little brown
mushrooms on wood. This mushroom is more widely
known by its synonym, G. autumnalis.
More information at
More information at

Figure 1. Deadly galerina on a moss-covered log. Note
the veils, overall brownish color, and shiny (sticky) cap.
Photo © William Roody.

Figure 2. Mushroomers often ignore "little brown
mushrooms" due to their reputation as being difficult to
identify. Because of its deadly toxins, there is reason to
have a good mental image of this particular little brown
mushroom. Photo © Larry Grand.

Figure 3. Note the partial veil covering the gills of the
youngest specimen. A whitish mycelium is evident at
the base of the stipe of the specimen in the foreground.
Photo © Gary Emberger.

Figure 4. A distinctly membranous partial veil. Compare
to Figure 5. Photo © Gary Emberger..

Figure 5. The collapsed or deteriorated partial veils of
these specimens are very different in appearance from
the veil pictured in Figure 4. Photo © Al Simpson.


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This page © 2008 by Gary Emberger, Messiah College