Cap 2.5-9.0 cm broad, convex in youth, with or without a low umbo, nearly plane to centrally depressed in age; margin at first incurved, then decurved, even to wavy, occasionally upturned; surface viscid when moist, glabrous, when young dark-greyish-brown to vinaceous-grey over an ochraceous ground color, becoming vinaceous overall in age; context pale apricot-orange, soft, moderately thick at the disc, rapidly thinning toward the margin, unchanging when cut or bruised, vinaceous with 3% KOH, odor not distinctive, taste mild.
Gills decurrent, close, up to 1.0 cm broad, at first pale, ochraceous-grey, darkening with spore maturity; lamellulae in up to four-series.
narrowed towards the base; surface appressed fibrillose, ochraceous-buff, to salmon-orange, sometimes tinged vinaceous, the base tawny to orange; context colored like that of the cap, unchanging; partial veil forming an evanescent fibrillose zone high on the stipe.
Spores 15.0-24.0 x 5.0-7.5 µm, narrowly elliptical in face-view, subfusiform in profile, smooth, thin-walled, contents granular, hilar appendage inconspicuous; pleurocystidia and cheilocystidia thin-walled; spore print.
Solitary to scattered under pines: Pinus radiata (Monterey pine), Pinus ponderosa (Ponderosa pine), Pinus attenuata (knobcone pine), etc.; fruiting from after the fall rains to mid-winter; common.
Until recently this Chroogomphus was known as Chroogomphus rutilus, but molecular studies by Orson K. Miller, indicate that the latter is a European species. The correct name for the taxon found in the United States is Chroogomphus ochraceus. In the San Francisco Bay Area, it and Chroogomphus vinicolor occur commonly under Pinus radiata (Monterey pine). The macroscopic differences between these two species are subtle. Predictably they are often confused, although it is possible with practice to identify young to nearly mature specimens. Chroogomphus ochraceus in general, has caps that incorporate greyish tones, e.g. grey-brown to vinaceous-grey-brown, while those of Chroogomphus vinicolor are consistently brown: e.g. dark mahogany-brown to rust-brown, usually over an orange background. Both species tend to become an ambiguous, dark vinaceous color in age. An interesting difference between the two species is their association with a companion Suillus species. In the San Francisco Bay Area, Chroogomphus ochraceus fruits under Monterey pine with Suillus fuscotomentosus, while Chroogomphus vinicolor fruits with Suillus pungens. Microscopically the two species can be told apart by their cystidia which are thin-walled in Chroogomphus ochraceus and thick-walled in Chroogomphus vinicolor.