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Naturalize That Mushroom Outdoors!
Every time I turn around, it seems there is another Agaricus mushroom staring me in the face. And that does not even include the Leucoagaricus, Pseudoagaricus and other variations on the genus.
So many of them are edible, that I am compelled to start a page to list the ones I find that are edible.
Agaricus mushrooms are a brown spored, gilled mushroom. They have a partial veil, which USUALLY leaves a ring on the stem (fixed, but sometimes reabsorbs so it is not easily visible). Many have pale colored gills in the button stage (pink or pinkish gray), and they always darken to chocolate brown. Colored Agaricus mushrooms are typically darker in the center of the cap, lightening to the edges.
Agaricus mushrooms are a complex lot, and it can be difficult to identify them without a microscope and genetic analysis. There are a few simple rules though, that help you know what is good, and what is not.
- Yellow stainers may be (but not always) unsafe to eat, unless it also smells like Almond. Stem or cap may stain, they may stain slowly or rapidly. "Staining" refers to a color change when bruised or cut.
- Almond scented Agaricus are considered safe to eat, WHEN COOKED. Do not eat them without cooking them, since some do have chemicals that need breaking down by heat to be digestible.
- If it smells like a felt pen (phenol), or other nasty chemical smell it is considered unsafe to eat. It won't kill you. But your stomach will NOT thank you.
- Gray or black speckled topped caps are more likely to be poisonous than brown topped caps. White caps can go either way.
And that is about all the wisdom I have for you on that. I suggest you try to ID them prior to trial by dinner, but some are too difficult to ID beyond knowing it is an Agaricus. So Trial by Smell is probably the best option for Edibility testing.
So... here begins the list, as we find them.
- Agaricus Tenuiannulatus - This mushroom can be mistaken for Agaricus Subrutilescens, or Agaricus Subrufescens but is distinctly different. It has a ring that often disappears, leaving only a poorly defined ring zone on the stem. It is a small Agaricus, with a cap that is about 6-8 cm in width. It has pinky gray gills when young, instead of pinky brown gills - the gills still turn chocolate with age. The stem is relatively smooth, and bruises yellow when bumped, scratched, or cut. The mushroom smells almondy, with an undertone of a kind of sweet chemical smell - a lot like ball point pen ink. It is edible, if cooked, and may have the same type of cancer fighting capacity as other Almond scented Agaricus mushrooms. The size, gill color, and smell are the real defining features of this particular Agaricus.
- Agaricus benesii - A very stiff and dry feeling mushroom with a distinct double edged ring on the stipe. The cap edge is also doubled. Grows under conifers.
- Agaricus subrutilescens - A good sized brown capped mushroom with pink colors when wet. The brown cap is usually more purply colored than the golden colors of some brown capped Agaricus. Smells of whatever it wants to smell of, but does not smell of nasty chemicals.
- Agaricus bitorquis - Firm almost silky looking top, short stipe with a distinct up-turned veil remnant - that is the key identifier for this mushroom, since no other Agaricus has that type of ring on the stipe. Often fruits low in the ground, so the cap is dirty.
- Agaricus bernardii - Short and squat, often fruits underground and you just see the cap top when it unfurls. It often turns golden or tan as the cap ages.
- Agaricus abolutescens - A largish white mushroom which we found in the forest. Difficult to differentiate from A. bisporus, though it may smell of almonds when fresh, but less pleasant when aged or wet.
- Agaricus crocodilinus - Lovely cracked cap resembling crocodile skin. Otherwise indistinguishable from other white mushrooms though it may smell of almonds.
- Agaricus campestris - Meadow Mushrooms - distinctive evanescent veil that reabsorbs so you almost never see a ring on specimens that have a broken partial veil. It also has a distinctive cap shape, tapered on the edges, flat in the middle. We have found these in dry meadows at high altitude, wet meadows lower down, in lawns, and where sheep graze beside the path in a low elevation area, and they have ranged from 3-5" across.
- Agaricus comtulus - Tiger paw markings on this one, very pretty. A small mushroom, with streaky orange/ochre on the cap.
- Agaricus bisporus - WILD. Brown capped, but smaller than the commercial varieties.
- Agaricus placomyces - This one is inedible, will give you a bellyache. Listed here because it is the ONLY Agaricus we have found that is NOT edible. All the rest have been.
- Agaricus arvensis - One lonely little mushroom growing under a patch of blackberries, smelling delightfully of Almonds. And a broad patch of Horse mushrooms running for at least 100 yards along a road side in Wyoming - these did not smell of Almonds, but then, Horse mushrooms are funny that way.
We carry a wide variety of Agaricus Mushrooms in our Mushroom Store, including species in our Indoor Cultivation, Forest and Woodlot, and Lawns and Fields categories.