Pluteus cervinus

Scientific name:  Pluteus cervinus (Schaeff.) P. Kumm.
Derivation of nameCervin- pertains to "deer" or "fawn-
colored" but according to the website authors below, the
reference to deer is not to their color but rather the antler-like
(horn-like) projections at the tip of the pleurocystidia - sterile
cells covering the gill surfaces.
Synonyms:  Pluteus atricapillus (Batsch) Fayod
Common name(s):  Fawn mushroom; Deer mushroom.
Phylum:   Basidiomycota
Order:   Agaricales
Family:   Pluteaceae
Occurrence on wood substrate:  Saprobic; solitary or in
small groups on or around decaying deciduous and conifer
stumps and logs, on sawdust and wood chips; May through
Dimensions:  Caps 3-12 cm wide; stipes 5-10 cm long and
0.5-1 cm thick.   
Cap: Smooth, sometimes streaked with radially oriented fibers;
variable in color: brown to grayish-brown to pale cinnamon-
Gills: Free; white at first, becoming salmon-pink.
Spore print: Salmon-pink.
Stipe: White to grayish-brown.
Veil: Absent.
Edibility: Edible.
Comments:  Recent DNA studies suggest a number of
cryptic (look-alike) species exist under the P. cervinus
name. Consult the MushroomExpert link below for
information to help distinguish among some of these
cryptic species such as P. petasatus and P. rangifer.
More information at   
More information at

Figure 1. Fawn mushroom fruiting on wood.
Photo © William Roody.

Figure 2. A beautiful view of the pink gills and white stipe
of Pluteus cervinus. Photo © Pam Kaminski.

Figure 3. The gills are initally white but become pinkish as
the pinkish spores mature. Photo © Gary Emberger.

Figure 4. The distinctly free gills of Pluteus cervinus.
Photo © Gary Emberger.

Figure 5. Microscope preparation of Pluteus cervinus
gill tissue. The long, projecting, hollow-looking cells are
pleurocystidia, sterile cells which cover the gill surfaces.
The horn-like (antler-like) projections at the tips of the
pleurocystidia help to characterize this species. This
picture of "horned" pleurocystidia is one of the very few
microscopic traits pictured on this website. While the use
of a microscope to find these cystidia is not necessary to
identify this species, the picture does illustrate the wealth
of additional information at the microscopic level which
can be invaluable when working out mushroom
identifications. Photo © Gary Emberger.

Figure 6. Pluteus petasatus is one of the cryptic
companions of P. cervinus. It is common on wood chips
and woody mulch whereas Pluteus cervinus is typically
a woodland species. It's cap coloration is also typically
lighter than that of Pluteus cervinus.
Photo © Gary Emberger.

Figure 7. The free, salmon-pink colored gills of P.
petasatus. These features are typical of all Pluteus spp.
Photo © Gary Emberger.


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