This mushroom often first appears in the fall season in the Puget Sound Basin and may continue to occur into the spring season. In the Seattle area it is common in the cool, wet winter months, and is sometimes very abundant along the edges of trails and paths and in parks, especially among wood chips or other woody materials. The mushrooms are small and somewhat fragile, with caps up to about 1 1/2 inches across, broadly domed shaped often with a slight depression in the center, when fresh the color is brown to cinnamon brown, with the edge translucent striate, as moisture is lost from the cap surface it fades to craft paper color or whitish. The odor and taste are not distinctive. (Do not eat this mushroom. See below.) The gills are a pale shade of the cap color and moderately spaced, and the spore deposit on white paper is brownish. The stalks are short, up to about 2 inches long, slightly enlarged at the base, thin, and similar in color to the cap. When fresh there is a whitish veil that may leave small patches on the edge of the cap and on the stalk, sometimes a slight ring-like zone can be seen part way down the stalk as well. Tubaria furfuracea is one of several Little Brown Mushrooms that occur in out region among woody debris. The identification of these types of mushrooms is difficult and they are easily confused in the field. Identification requires careful examination with a microscope. None of them should be eaten and certain species such as Galerina marginata contain deadly toxins.
Tubaria furfuracea is part of the Burke Museum's Mushroom of the Month series.