Pavement Mushroom / Spring / Summer / Autumn / Edible
Pavement Mushroom, Banded Agaric, Spring Agaric
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.
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.
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.
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.
The gills are white when young, turning pink and then brown with age, fairly crowded and free from the stem.
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.
They can bioaccumulate heavy metals and toxins so care needs to be taken and they should only be harvested from unpolluted sites.
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.
Nutritional analysis has shown that the Pavement Mushroom contains 18 amino acids, including all of the essential ones.