MykoWeb Mushroom Blog

Volvariella bombycina in full glory

Posted on 05 October 2009 by Taylor Lockwood

Sometime back in the ’80s, I was on my first mushroom photography trip to the Appalachians. It was a hot and sticky day in North Carolina, and I found a beautiful pair of white mushrooms growing out of a small stump. These were special because they each came out of a large cup at the base but were clearly not Amanitas, which don’t grow on wood.

Unfortunately, they were situated next to an inside hairpin turn on a busy mountain road. I admired them for a few moments, while I tried to avoid getting hit by passing cars. I thought “there’s got to be more of them around” so I left without a photograph. That was twenty years ago and I haven’t seen that species since-until last week.

I was visiting a friend’s cattle ranch looking for those “funny mushrooms” (for photos only, thank you). Just as the sky was threatening to dump a Florida summer rain, I caught a glimpse of the mushroom “that got away” twenty years before. It was twelve feet up a small, dead tree and I hurried home to get my eight-foot ladder. When I returned, I caught this white treasure, Volvariella bombycina, in full glory.

Volvariellas are best known for their edible varieties, especially the “paddy straw mushroom” or Volvariella volvacea. These are the delicious little grey ones you see commonly in Asian cuisine. Some larger Volvariellas are also edible. On occasion, they have been the mushroom that people were hunting when they mistakenly picked a “Death Cap”, Amanita phalloides, or “Death Angel”, Amanita virosa.

For my purposes, capturing the beauty of mushrooms, the photo-op was well worth the wait. It reminded me that there are thousands more yet to be found in their fleeting, but glorious, hour.


One Response to “Volvariella bombycina in full glory”

  1. james addison says:

    I too have looked for Volvariella bombycena for the past 20 years and had my encounter last August (in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan). This was a huge specimen that my wife spotted from a car moving at 55 MPH! So, I got ready to take a photo and realized that my camera had no charge and could not get the picture. My wife got a photo with her I-phone, but it is not of the best quality. At any rate, I was able to see and relish for just a few moments this beautiful fungus. There was also a very large specimen of Climacodon septentrionale on the same tree..what a treat!

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