Golden Scalycap (Pholiota adiposa) Identification

Golden Scalycap / Spring / Autumn / Inedible

Welcome to an exploration of nature’s intricate beauty as we uncover the distinctive characteristics and identification features of the inedible Golden Scalycap (Pholiota adiposa).

Join us on a journey where observation and knowledge intersect. With its striking golden-brown caps and intricate scales, the Golden Scalycap presents a visual spectacle in the wild. Learn to discern its unique traits, study its preferred habitats, and understand the reasons behind its inedibility.

While this mushroom may captivate with its aesthetics, it is important to recognize its toxic nature. Through accurate identification, we can appreciate the Golden Scalycap’s place within the ecosystem without compromising our well-being. Embrace the complexity and diversity of the natural world as we delve into the realm of the Golden Scalycap, deepening our understanding of the fascinating world of mushrooms.

Scientific Name

Pholiota adiposa

Common Names

Golden Scalycaps, Chestnut mushroom




They can grow both saprophytically and as parasite on living trees. They are most often found on beech. They normally appear in large tufts close to the ground.


An occasionally find in the North of England there are more down in the south. There are question marks regarding edibility, many species of Pholiota are toxic and they quite hard to ID so I wouldn’t recommend them for the kitchen.

Identifying Features of the Golden Scalycap:


Convex and then flattening out with age. They are yellow with brown scales, the scales are more concentrated towards the centre. They are very greasy or slimy to touch. Up to10cm in diameter.

Henk Monster, CC BY 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons


They are a similar colour to the caps and are covered in scales (which are fragments of the universal veil) Up to 6cm long, the stems often join at the base. In young specimens there is sometimes a faint ring.

This image was created by user Ron Pastorino (Ronpast) at Mushroom Observer, a source for mycological images.You can contact this user here.English | español | français | italiano | македонски | മലയാളം | português | +/−, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons


The gills are pale yellow when young, they soon darken and then become rusty as the spores mature. They are crowded and adnate.

Debivort, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons


No strong smell.


Reddish brown.

Known hazards

Some older books list them as edible but it’s not a mushroom that I eat, many species of this family are known to be toxic.

Potential lookalikes

They are quite hard to identify and look similar to other Pholiota, all are inedible. The most common is the Shaggy Scalycap (Pholiota squarrosa) but this has a dry cap.

They could be confused with Honey Fungus (Armillaria Mellea) but these have a white spore print and their gills don’t darken with age.

Extra Notes

The name Pholiota means scaly and adiposa comes from the Lain adeps which means lard or grease in reference to the texture of the caps.


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