This section is from the book "Studies of American Fungi: Mushrooms, Edible, Poisonous, Etc.", by George Francis Atkinson. Also available from Amazon: Studies of American Fungi: Mushrooms, Edible, Poisonous, Etc..
This is a medium or small sized plant with a floccose pileus adorned with small, acute, erect scales, and has a loose, hairy or wooly veil which is often torn irregularly. The erect scales fall away from the pileus and leave little scars where they were attached.
Lepiota cristata A. & S. Edible. - The crested lepiota, Lepiota cristata, occurs in grassy places and borders of woods, in groves, etc., from May to September, and is widely distributed. The plant is small, 3-5 cm. high, the cap 1-4 cm. broad, and the stem 2-5 mm. in thickness. It grows in clusters or is scattered.
The pileus is ovate, bell-shaped, then convex and expanded, and thin. The surface is at first entirely dull reddish or reddish brown, but soon cracks into numerous scales of the same color arranged in a crested manner, more numerous between the margin and the center, and often arranged in a concentric manner. The center of the cap often preserves the uniform reddish brown color because the pileus at this point does not expand so much and therefore the surface does not crack, while the margin often becomes white because of the disappearance of the brown covering here. The gills are free from the stem, narrow, crowded, and close to the stem. The spores are more or less angular, elongated, more narrowed at one end, and measure 5-8 x 3-4 µ. The stem is slender, cylindrical, hollow, whitish, smooth. The ring is small, white, and easily breaks up and disappears.
The characters of the plant are well shown in Fig. 83 from plants collected at Ithaca. Lepiota angustana Britz. is identical, and according to Morgan L. miamensis Morgan is a white form of L. angustana.