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Pavement Mushroom (Agaricus Bitorquis) Identification

Pavement Mushroom / Spring / Summer / Autumn / Edible

Scientific Name

Agaricus bitorquis


Common Names

Pavement Mushroom, Banded Agaric, Spring Agaric


Family

Agaricaceae


Habitat

They are saprotrophic and can be found at the sides of roads, paths and as the name suggests pavements. They have the strength to lift paving stones or push their way through tarmac.


Description 

An edible member of the Agaric family. Not overly common in the UK but where they do occur they can sometimes be found in large quantities.


Identifying Features:

Cap:

Convex when young they flatten out with age. They are white to tan in colour but are very often covered in soil and dirt. The flesh will stain slightly pink when damaged.

Игорь Лебединский, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Stem:

A similar colour to the caps, they become more bulbous at the base and have a double ring. The top of the ring is funnel shaped and the lower half looks like a skirt.

Hans5560, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Gills:

The gills are white when young, turning pink and then brown with age, fairly crowded and free from the stem.

Free Gills

Smell:

Mushroomy.


Spores:

Chocolate brown.


Uses

In food

They have a lovely mushroomy flavour similar to store bought mushrooms and they work well in most dishes. But they are often infected with maggots and due to where they grow they need quite a bit of cleaning.

They must be thoroughly cooked before consumption.

Jason Hollinger, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Known hazards  

They can bioaccumulate heavy metals and toxins so care needs to be taken and they should only be harvested from unpolluted sites.


Potential lookalikes

Other Agaricus species do look similar, most are edible but care needs to be taken to avoid the toxic Yellow Stainer (Agaricus xanthodermus) The Yellow Stainer as the name suggests stains yellow when it is damaged and smells like iodine.


Extra Notes

Nutritional analysis has shown that the Pavement Mushroom contains 18 amino acids, including all of the essential ones.

Tangopaso, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

 

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