Neolentinus lepideus

Neolentinus lepideus

Neolentinus lepideus is a basidiomycete mushroom of the genus Neolentinus, until recently also widely known as Lentinus lepideus. Common names for it include scaly lentinus and train wrecker.


Neolentinus lepideus produces tough, fleshy, agaricoid fruiting bodies of variable size. The cap may grow up to about 12 cm while the stipe grows to about 8 cm in height. The cap is at first convex and flattens with age while the margin remains inrolled. The white, cream to pale-brown cap surface is distinctively covered in dark scales which originate from the depression in the centre of the cap. The gills are white and are attached to the stem in an adnexed to decurrent formation. Spore prints are white and the spores are cylindrical in shape.

The stem bears the same coloration as the cap and is also covered in dark scales in the region below the white ring.


The fruiting bodies of this fungus will be found singly or in tufts emerging from dead and decaying coniferous wood. It may even be found on man-made wooden structures such as railroad ties. Less frequently, it is also found on non-coniferous wood. The season is summer to autumn and is known in Europe and North America.


While some authors describe this fungus as edible, others are more conservative and hesitate from giving it such a classification. Despite there being no recorded poisonings, it should be noted that because fruitbodies of it tend to grow on man-made wooden structures, the fungus may come in contact with hazardous chemicals, like wooden railroad ties smeared with creosote. What is certain however is that the fruitbodies have a tough consistency to begin with and continue to toughen up with age, making them rather unpalatable. The fruiting body has no discernible taste and may have an off-putting pungent aniseed-like smell.


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