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Field characters

Pileus: convex to flat with an inrolled margin when young. Fibrillose hairs on the surface.
Annulus: absent
Stipe: central to eccentric
Stature: Clitocyboid
Ecology: saprophyte on the ground or very rotten wood

Micro characters

Basidiospores: smooth, ellipsoid without germ pore, inamyloid or dextrinoid. Yellowish in KOH
Hyphae: with clamp connections
Cystidia: generally absent
Spore Print: dull yellow-brown
Lamellae: decurrent, fairly close
Lamellar Trama: divergent
Pileipellis: simple cutis


This is a small genus (Singer, 1986, recognizes 12 species). Arora notes that other brown spored mushrooms without an annulus do not have decurrent gills.
The common species around here is P. atrotomentosus, commonly called “velvet foot” because of the velvety appearance of the stipe (see illustrations above). It is quite a robust mushroom. Illustrated also is P. panuoides, collected in North Carolina. The latter has an eccentric stipe and is much less robust.

Apparently this family is more common in South America than here. And, interestingly, at least one member of the Paxillaceae is considered more closely allied with the boletes than with the agarics.