Volvopluteus gloiocephalus (DC.) Vizzini, Contu & Justo - Stubble Rosegill

Phylum: Basidiomycota - Class: Agaricomycetes - Order: Agaricales - Family: Pluteaceae

Volvopluteus gloiocephalus - Stubble Rosegill

Amanita fungi are not the only ones that have a volva at the stem base; mushrooms in the genus Volvariella do so as well. Volvariella gloiocephala (syn. Volvariella speciosa) does indeed grow in fields where crops have been harvested to leave stubble (and it doesn’t have to be cereal crops; I have seen cleared cabbage fields dotted with hundreds of these large white mushrooms). Grassy roadside verges and permanent pastures are also places where this handsome mushroom can appear.

Stubble Rosegills, Volvopluteus gloiocephalus - a roadside group


The Stubble Rosegill is fairly common in Britain and Ireland, where it is most often seen in fields that have been harvested of a grain crop (or occasionally some other food crop such as cabbages). This mushroom is even more widespread and abundant in southern mainland Europe, often recurring in the same grassy areas for many years.

Stubble Rosegill fungi on a lawn

Taxonomic history

When Swiss mycologist Augustin Pyramus de Candolle described this mushroom in 1815 he called it Agaricus gloiocephalus. (Most gilled fungi were initially placed in a giant Agaricus genus, now redistributed to many other genera.) Until recently its generally-accepted scientific name dated from 1986, when mycologists Teun Boekhout and Manfred Enderle gave it the name Volvariella gloiocephala. Then, in a 2011 publication by Italian mycologist Alfredo Vizzini and colleagues, the Stubble Rosegill acquired the new name Volvopluteus gloiocephalus.

Many older field guides use the name Volvaria speciosa when referring to this species, but now more authorities refer to it as Volvopluteus gloiocephalus (DC.) Vizzini, Contu & Justo (2011), with this being the type species of the newly created genus Volvopluteus.

Synonyms of Volvopluteus gloiocephalus include Agaricus gloiocephalus DC., Amanita speciosa Fr., Agaricus speciosus (Fr.) Fr., Volvaria speciosa (Fr.) P. Kumm., Volvaria gloiocephala (DC.) Gillet, Volvaria speciosa var. gloiocephala (DC.) R. Heim, Volvariella speciosa (Fr.) Singer, Volvariella speciosa var. gloiocephala (DC.) Singer, Volvariella speciosa f. gloiocephala (DC.) Courtec., and Volvariella gloiocephala (DC.) Boekhout & Enderle.

Volvopluteus gloiocephalus, northern France


Volvopluteus, the genus name, is a reference to the volva formed around the stem base by the remnants of the membranous universal veil which covers emerging fruitbodies, and its relationship with another pink-spored genus the shield mushrooms, Pluteus species. The specific epithet gloiocephalus comes from the Greek words gloio, meaning glue or glutinous substance, and cephalus, meaning head. Hence gloiocephalus means with a sticky head - a reference to the viscid nature of the surface of caps of the Stubble Rosegill.

Identification guide

Cap of Volvopluteus gloiocephalus


8 to 14cm across; initially oval becoming convex but not often flattening completely; white, often with a greyish-brown centre, becoming cream and eventually ochre; sticky when moist, silkily smooth when dry.

Gills of Volvopluteus gloiocephalus


Free; crowded; white at first, becoming pink.

Cheilocystidia of Volvopluteus gloiocephalus, Stubble Rosegill


Variable but often clavate or utriform, 50-100 x 15-40µm.

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Similar to the cheilocystidia but often slightly broader.

Stem and volva of Volvopluteus gloiocephalus


10 to 15cm long and 1 to 1.5cm dia.; white; tapering towards apex; no ring. There is a persistent fleshy bag-like volva (left) at the base.

Spores of Volvopluteus gloiocephalus, Stubble Rosegill


Ellipsoidal, smooth, 13-18 x 8-10µm.

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Spore print



Pleasant and mild but not distinctive.

Habitat & Ecological role

Saprotrophic in nutrient-rich damp permanent pasture, roadside grassland and stubble fields; occasionally also in fields where brassicas have been harvested.


July to November in Britain and Ireland; appearing through until early March in some southern European countries including Spain and Portugal.

Similar species

Volvariella bombycina has a very silky (almost hairy) cap and a volva; it grows on damaged hardwood trees and on their dead trunks and large branches.

Amanita virosa has a stem ring and occurs in woodland habitats.

Culinary Notes

The Stubble Rosegill is generally regarded as an edible mushroom although not highly rated. Because this mushroom can easily be confused with deadly Amanita species (such as Deathcap and Destroying Angel) which also have stem-base volvas and pale caps, great care is essential to ensure that there is absolutely no doubt at all about identification. Inexperienced mushroom gatherers should avoid gathering any fungi that have volvas.

Volvopluteus gloiocephalus on a grassy verge

Reference Sources

Fascinated by Fungi, 2nd Edition, Pat O'Reilly 2016, reprinted by Coch-y-bonddu Books in 2022.

Alfredo Justo, Andrew M. Minnis, Stefano Ghignone, Nelson Menolli Jr., Marina Capelari, Olivia Rodríguez, Ekaterina Malysheva, Marco Contu, Alfredo Vizzini (2011). 'Species recognition in Pluteus and Volvopluteus (Pluteaceae, Agaricales): morphology, geography and phylogeny'. Mycological Progress 10 (4): 453–479.

Orton, P.D. (1986). British Fungus Flora: Agarics and Boleti. Vol 4. Pluteaceae: Pluteus & Volvariella. Royal Botanic Garden: Edinburgh, Scotland.

BMS List of English Names for Fungi

Dictionary of the Fungi; Paul M. Kirk, Paul F. Cannon, David W. Minter and J. A. Stalpers; CABI, 2008

Taxonomic history and synonym information on these pages is drawn from many sources but in particular from the British Mycological Society's GB Checklist of Fungi.


This page includes pictures kindly contributed by Simon Harding.

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