Field of Science

Shaggy parasol mushroom - but which one?




Lots of mushrooms produce fruiting structures in the fall, more than in the spring, but around here everyone thinks spring is for mushrooms because of the morels.  Well, these magnificent specimens are certainly not morels.  These are big mushrooms with caps that spread 6-8" in diameter and stand at least that tall as well.  Since they grow in lawns they are more than a little conspicuous. Generally they are called a shaggy parasol mushroom because of the extensive scales on the top, but there's more than one species that look like this. These look like the green-spored parasol mushroom (the spore color has been checked before) so this is probably Chlorophyllum molybdites. It's the most commonly eaten toxic mushroom. No one has died from eating one, but you get a real nasty upset GI tract  Macrolepiota (Lepiota) procera  it the white-spored parasol mushroom and it is considered edible, but TPP has never liked to take chances with fungi remembering the old saying, "You know you ate good mushrooms if you wake up in the morning." You can check spore color by placing a spread cap upon a piece of newspaper and then covering it with another piece of paper and giving it some time to drop spores, an hour or so.  The black lettering will help you see the white spores. Usually the spore color is pretty obvious with this one because when mature the gills look sort of a green-gray color, but the gills of younger specimens may look white. Leave collecting these to the serious (or foolish) fungi-philes.

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