Velvet Shank – Flammulina velutipes

Fungi of the Week

7th October 2019 | Info

Common name: Velvet shank

Scientific name: Flammulina velutipes

Introduction: Velvet shank is a native fungus that grows in clusters and is known for being a stump-rotting fungus. It has been widely cultivated in Japan and has gained the name Enokitake. Japanese Flammulina velutipes have a different appearance due to its commercial use and how it has been grown.


Cap: Typically convex-shaped but as they form in clusters, this often becomes distorted. They are a bright orange-brown colour and become darker in the middle. In wet weather, they are slimy and smooth.

Gills: Adnexed to sinuate. When the fungi are young, the gills are white, but as they mature, they develop into a pale yellow colour. 

Stem: Velvet shank stems are quite tough and change in colour as they mature. They begin as a pale-orange colour before turning to a dark-brown to black and tend to be paler towards the cap. They also have a velvety feel.  

Spores: White and ellipsoidal.

Flesh: When young, the flesh is thin and a light orange-brown colour. This then becomes darker as it matures. 

Habitat: Grow on dead and dying wood of deciduous trees including Elm, Ash, Beech and Oak. You can typically see these fungi between November and February. 

Impact on Trees/Ecological importance: Velvet shanks are saprobic meaning they live off of dead and decaying trees. They recycle nutrients from these and provide a food force for different animals.

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