Galerina pulmila, or Dwarf Bell, is a small inconspicuous brown mushroom, but it is important because it belongs to the Galerina genus, some of the deadliest mushrooms since they produce similar compounds to Aminitas or ‘death cap’ fungi. The saprobic fungus fruits primarily in the fall, in moist, mossy areas, or may fruit in lawns after heavy rains when the ground is wet (Figure 1). It is small, only about 4-7 cm tall, caps 3-5 cm diameter, stipe without vial, hollow, and delicate. Gills are widely spaced and similar color as the cap (Figure 3). Spore print is brown to buff (Figure 2). It grows singly or in small groups. Basidiospores are ellipsoid and 10-13 μm long and about 6 μm across.
This species is not worth figuring out if it is edible since it belongs to the Galerina genus. Members of this genus contain amatoxins and alpha-amanitin toxins which can be deadly. It can be confused with any little brown mushroom, but especially looks similar to non-toxic Marasimus oreades the “fairy ring mushroom”.
Figure 1. Galerina pulmila growing in a moist grassy area after a few days of rain.
Figure 2. Spore print of Galerina pulmila
Figure 3. Widely spaced gills of Galerina pulmila