Silky Tree Mushroom

By William T. Hathaway

Silky Tree Mushroom (Volvariella bombycina)

Although somewhat rare, the silky tree mushroom (Volvariella bombycina) may be found growing as a solitary specimen on stumps and logs of dead hardwood trees. Occasionally it is found fruiting from wounds of living trees. The pale cap, deep saclike cup, pink gills and growth on wood readily identify this unusual mushroom.

I first spotted this species while traipsing up a ravine on the south side of Smith Mountain. The mushroom was protruding from an old broken-off limb wound situated about twelve feet above the ground. I wasn't able to photograph this specimen. However, several years later a specimen just six feet above the ground provided a good picture.

Three years ago I saw this silky mushroom growing on a Bradford pear tree close to the Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History; it is pictured above.

An expert, Dr. David Aurora, stated it right when he wrote about this mushroom, “It is easier to identify this striking mushroom than to find it.”