Pluteus is a large genus of mushroom with over 100 species. They are wood rotting saprobes with pink spore prints and gills that are free from the stem. .
Characteristics of the genus
- These fungi grow on wood or wood remains.
- The spore powder is deep pink, soon giving a pink tint to the initially pale gills.
- The gills are free from the stipe.
- There is no volva or ring (exception: the rare recently reclassified North American species P. mammillatus, previously Chamaeota sphaerospora).
- Microscopically, they often have abundant, distinctive cystidia. The spores are smooth and roughly egg-shaped.
Pluteus is separated from Volvariella due to the lack of a volva, and from Entoloma by growing on wood and by microscopic features (Entolomas have angular spores).
Remarks on particular species
Some of these mushrooms are edible including Pluteus petasatus and P. cervinus, though most people rate their taste and consistency as average at best.
Pluteus cervinus is the best known species in Europe and North America.
Several species of this genus bruise blue and contain psilocybin including Pluteus washingtonensis, Pluteus salicinus, Pluteus cyanopus, Pluteus glaucus, Pluteus nigriviridis, and Pluteus villosus.