Scaly multicolor

Multicolor scaly (Pholiota polychroa) Multicolor scaly (Pholiota polychroa) Multicolor scaly (Pholiota polychroa)

Multicolor scaly (Pholiota polychroa)


  • Department: Basidiomycota (Basidiomycetes)
  • Subdivision: Agaricomycotina (Agaricomycetes)
  • Class: Agaricomycetes (Agaricomycetes)
  • Subclass: Agaricomycetidae (Agaricomycetes)
  • Order: Agaricales (Agaric or Lamellar)
  • Family: Strophariaceae
  • Genus: Pholiota (Scaly)
  • Species: Pholiota polychroa (Multicolor scale scales)


  • Flammula polychroa

  • Agaricus polychrous
  • Agaricus ornellus
  • Pholiota appendiculata
  • Pholiota ornella
  • Gymnopilus polychrous

Scale multicolor - Pholiota polychroa


Hat: 2-10 centimeters. Broadly convex, broadly bell-shaped with a tucked edge in youth and almost flat with age. Sticky or slimy, smooth. The peel is easy to clean. Young mushrooms have numerous scales on the surface of the cap, forming concentric circles, mostly creamy whitish-yellowish, but they can also be darker. With age, the scales are washed off by rains or simply move away.

The color of the cap varies in a fairly wide range, several colors may be present, which, in fact, gave the name to the species. Young specimens usually have shades of olive, reddish-olive, pink, pinkish-purple (sometimes almost completely the same color).

Scale multicolor - Pholiota polychroa

With age, yellowish-orange areas may be present, closer to the edge of the cap. The colors gently transition one into another, darker, more saturated, in red-violet tones – in the center, lighter, yellowish – to the edge, forming more or less pronounced concentric zones. Among the many colors that may be present on the cap are: pale grass green, blue green ('turquoise green' or 'sea green'), dark olive or dark purple-grayish to violet-gray, pink-purple, yellow-orange, dull yellow.

Scale multicolor - Pholiota polychroa

With age, it can fade to almost complete discoloration, in yellowish-pinkish tones.

On the edge of the cap, there are pieces of a private bedspread, at first abundant, fibrous, creamy yellowish or nutty in color, reminiscent of an openwork braid. With age, they gradually deteriorate, but not completely; small pieces in the form of triangular appendixes necessarily remain. The color of this fringe is the same list as for the hat color.

Scale multicolor - Pholiota polychroa

Plates: Adherent or adherent with a tooth, frequent, rather narrow. Color from whitish-creamy, pale cream to yellowish, yellowish-grayish or slightly purple in young scales, then turn grayish brown to purple-brown, dark purple-brown with an olive tint.

Ring: fragile, fibrous, present in young specimens, then a weakly expressed annular zone remains.

Leg: 2-6 centimeters in height and up to 1 cm thick. Smooth, cylindrical, can be narrowed towards the base, hollow with age. Dry or sticky at the base, covered with scales in the color of a private bedspread. As a rule, the scales on the stalk are rare. Above the annular zone, it is silky, without scales. Usually whitish, whitish-yellowish to yellow, but sometimes whitish-bluish, bluish, greenish or brownish. A thin filamentous yellowish mycelium is often seen at the base.

Flesh: whitish yellow or greenish.

Smell and taste: not pronounced.

Chemical reactions: KOH from greenish-yellow to green on the cap (sometimes it takes up to 30 minutes); iron salts (also slowly) green on the cap.

Spore powder: brown to dark brown or slightly purplish brown.

Microscopic characteristics: Spores 5.5-7.5 x 3.5-4.5 µm, smooth, smooth, ellipsoidal, with apical pores, brown. Basidia 18-25 x 4.5-6 microns, 2 and 4 spore, hyaline, Meltzer's reagent or KOH – yellowish.


On dead wood: on stumps, logs and large timber of deciduous species, less often on sawdust and small timber. Rarely – on conifers.

Scale multicolor - Pholiota polychroa

Season and distribution

Autumn. The fungus is quite rare, but appears to be widespread throughout the world. There are confirmed finds in North America and Canada. Periodically, photos of multi-colored scales appear on Russian-language sites to identify mushrooms, that is, it definitely grows in Europe and Asia.



Notes Spore powder Scale multicolor is essentially brown, but a good quality Spore Print has a slight purple tint. Despite this controversial color, agaricologists consider it to be closer to Pholiota (or Flammula, in older publications) than to any of the purple-flowered Spore Print genera. This only indicates the Spore Print interchromatography between Psilocybe, Stropharia and Pholiota.

Photo: from questions in recognition. Special thanks to our user Natalia for the photo.

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Hunting, Fishing and Mushrooms: a magazine for hunters and fishers.
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