Kuehneromyces mutabilis: The Sheathed Woodtuft

Kuehneromyces mutabilis, commonly named for the different colors above and below the annulus.


Agaricus mutabilis Schaeff.
Dryophila mutabilis (Schaeff.) Quél.
Galerina mutabilis (Schaeff.) P.D. Orton
Lepiota caudicina Gray
Pholiota mutabilis (Schaeff.) P. Kumm.

Common names

Brown Stew Fungus
Two-toned Pholiota
Sheathed Woodtuft
Stockschwämmchen (German)


(Adapted from Overholts, 1927)
Cap: 3-6 cm diameter; convex to plane; cinnamon/tan when moist, paler when dry, ochraceous-buff when dry, hygrophanous, glabrous.
Gills: adnate or slightly decurrent, medium-close, 2-4 mm broad, pallid then cinnamon.
Veil: forming a white or dark, superior, evanescent or persistent annulus.
Stem: 3-8 cm tall, 3-5 mm diameter, central, equal, concolorous with the cap above the ring; scaly below the ring, pruinose above, stuffed then hollow.
Spores: reddish ochre, ovoid or elliptic, slightly truncate at one end, smooth, 6-7.5 x 4-5 µm.
Habitat: on stumps and logs.
Edibility: Edible, although not recommended due to similar appearance to poisonous species Galerina marginata.

A long-term Finnish study on the occurrence of some common edible macromycetes describes how K. mutabilis was found at the same tree stumps for 13 years, suggesting an impressive mycelial longevity (Hintikka 1993).

Medicinal properties

Antiviral activity

The title of Mentel and associates’ paper (1994) suggests that the two-toned pholiota has some anti-viral activity against influenza virus. I’ll  let you know more details once I get a hold of the paper.

Antitumor activity

Polysaccharides extracted from the mycelial culture of K. mutabilis and administered intraperitoneally into white mice at a dosage of 300 mg/kg inhibited the growth of Sarcoma 180 and Ehrlich solid cancers by 100% and 90%, respectively (Ohtsuka et al., 1973).

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Josef Hlasek’s site has some nice pictures
California fungi
Biopix has an impressive gallery of pictures.


Hintikka V.
Occurrence of edible fungi and other macromycetes on tree stumps over a sixteen-year period.
Acta Botanica Fennica. 1993 149(0):11-17.

Mentel R, Meinsen D, Pilgrim H, Herrmann B, Lindequist U.
In vitro antiviral effect of extracts of Kuehneromyces mutabilis on influenza virus.
Pharmazie. 1994 49(11):859-60.

Ohtsuka S, Ueno S, Yoshikumi C, Hirose F, Ohmura Y, Wada T, Fujii T, Takahashi E.
Polysaccharides having an anticarcinogenic effect and a method of producing them from species of Basidiomycetes.
UK Patent 1331513, 26 September 1973.

Overholts LO.
A monograph of the genus Pholiota in the United States.
Ann Mis Bot Gar. 1927 14(2):87-211.

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