Deer Mushroom: Pluteus cervinus
Cap 5-13 cm broad, convex, nearly plane in age, umbonate; dark brown to grey-brown, lighter in age; smooth to faintly fibrillose, moist; flesh soft, white; odor of radish.
Gills free, close, white, becoming pinkish to flesh-colored at maturity.
Stipe 5-12 cm tall, 0.7-1.7 cm thick, equal to enlarged at base; white to pallid, sometimes with dark fibrils; veil absent.
Spores 5.0-7.5 x 4-6 µm, smooth, elliptical. Spore print salmon-pink.
Solitary to scattered on hardwood and conifer logs, occasionally from buried wood, in sawdust piles or wood chips; fruiting from after the first fall rains through mid-winter.
Edible, but taste and texture are mediocre.
Pluteus cervinus gets its common name, Deer Mushroom, from its dull brown color which blends well with the logs on which it typically fruits. It is recognized by a brown, smooth to faintly fibrillose, moist cap, free, white gills that turn pinkish at maturity, the lack of a ring, and a lignicolous habit. Other Pluteus species that could be confused with the Deer Mushroom include P. magnus and P. atromarginatus. Pluteus magnus is a more compact, stout mushroom with a nearly black, wrinkled cap while P. atromarginatus, as its latin name suggests, can be recognized by its dark gill edges. Some Entoloma species resemble Pluteus cervinus in size and spore color, but all have attached gills and are terrestrial, not lignicolous. A related genus, Volvariella is distinguished by a volva.