Honey-colored, sticky cap with black hairs over the center; stalk has whitish ring. Grows in clusters at the bases of trees or stumps and over buried wood. August–November. Cap convex, then flattened and centrally depressed; yellow to honey to rusty brown; texture sticky with black hairy scales in center. Gills narrow; spacing distant; whitish, becoming darker with age; gills attached or slightly descending. Stalk thick; whitish, becoming reddish brown; texture fibrous; has ring on upper stalk. Grows in clusters with stalks fused at the base. Partial veil leaving a whitish ring on stalk. Spore print white. Spores magnified are elliptical, smooth, colorless.
Lookalikes: Ringless honey mushroom (A. tabescens) has a dry cap and no ring. Jack-o’-lantern (Omphalotus illudens) is orange. Big laughing gym (Gymnopilus junonius) is orange, bitter, with orange-brown spores. Deadly galerina (Galerina marginata) is smaller with a smooth cap and brown spores.