Volva (mycology)

In mycology, a volva is a cup-like structure at the base of a mushroom that is a remnant of the universal veil,[1] or the remains of the peridium that encloses the immature fruit bodies of gasteroid fungi.[2] This macrofeature is important in wild mushroom identification because it is an easily observed, taxonomically significant feature that frequently signifies a member of Amanitaceae. This has particular importance due to the disproportionately high number of deadly poisonous species contained within that family.

The volva is the prominent cup-shaped feature at the base of this Amanita caesarea.
A simplified diagram of an agaric-type basidioma in (A) the early development stage, and (B) after the body is fully expanded. (1) is the universal veil, the outer layer protecting the developing basidioma; (4) is the volva, the remnant of the universal veil at the base of the basidioma.

A mushroom's volva is often partially or completely buried in the ground, and therefore care must be taken to check for its presence when identifying mushrooms.[3] Cutting or pulling mushrooms and attempting to identify them later without having noted this feature could be a fatal error.

Whilst a volva is a feature best known from Amanita species and stinkhorns such as the Phallaceae family and others in the Phallales order, it may also occur with other genera including:

Some other species such as Leucoagaricus volvatus and Leucoagaricus bivelatus also display a volva despite this not being typical for this genera.[4]


  1. ^ Kirk PM, Cannon PF, Minter DW, Stalpers JA (2008). Dictionary of the Fungi (10th ed.). Wallingford, UK: CAB International. p. 727. ISBN 978-0-85199-826-8.
  2. ^ Miller HR, Miller OK (1988). Gasteromycetes: Morphological and Developmental Features, with Keys to the Orders, Families, and Genera. Eureka, California: Mad River Press. p. 133. ISBN 0-916422-74-7.
  3. ^ Kuo M. (2007). 100 Edible Mushrooms. Ann Arbor, Michigan: The University of Michigan Press. p. 45. ISBN 978-0-472-03126-9.
  4. ^ Akers, Brian P.; Ovrebo, Clark L. (2005). "Leucoagaricus bivelatus, a new volvate leptoid species". Mycotaxon. 91: 303–308.

See alsoEdit