Caps are 4 to 15 cm wide; stipes 5 to 7.5 cm long and 5 to 15 mm thick. Sticky to slippery/slimy; yellow to yellowish-orange; surface covered with large, flattened, wine-red scales. Gills are attached; yellowish at first, becoming rusty-brown. Stipe is dry; colored like the cap or paler; scaly below the ring, whitish above the ring. Microscopic analysis may be required to confirm identifications for this and most Pholiota species. Pholiota aurivella is similar in every way to Pholiota limonella except for smaller spores.
Saprobic/parasitic; typically in clusters on dead or living deciduous or conifer wood; July through November.