Field Mushroom (Agaricus campestris) Identification

Field Mushroom / Spring / Summer / Autumn / Edible

Scientific Name

Agaricus campestris


Common Names

Field Mushroom


Family

Agaricaceae


Habitat

In fields, meadows and parks. They are saprotrophic, feeding on the dead roots systems of grasses and moss. They can appear in fairy rings, individually or in small groups.


Description 

The most commonly eaten wild mushroom in the UK. Easy to identify mushroom, they are very common some years and can sometimes be found in huge quantities.


Identifying Features:

Cap:

They can be quite changeable, most often they are off white and smooth but sometimes they are darker and develop rough scales. Spherical wen young they flatten out with age. They can be up to 10 cm across. The flesh can sometimes stain pinkish.

Dr. Hans-Günter Wagner, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Stem:

The stems have a delicate skirt which isn’t always present in older specimens. The stem is smooth above the skirt and scaley below. Around 5-10 cm long.

This image was created by user Christine Braaten (wintersbefore) at Mushroom Observer, a source for mycological images.You can contact this user here.English | español | français | italiano | македонски | മലയാളം | português | +/−, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Gills:

The gills are crowded and free, pink initially they darken to a rich brown colour when mature.

Ak ccm, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Smell:

Mushroomy.


Spores:

Chocolate brown.


Uses

In food

A gourmet edible, they can be used in any recipe called for mushrooms. They work particularly well in risottos and stews.


Harvesting 

The younger caps are best as the older ones are often maggoty. They are less common now than they were in the past due to the increased use of chemicals, but in fields where cattle, horses or sheep graze they can be found in huge numbers, some years.


Known hazards

None known. But be aware of where they are collected from, fields are quite often sprayed with chemicals.


Potential lookalikes

The young specimens have been mistaken for Amanita species in the past, so inexperienced foragers should only collect more mature examples who’s gills have darkened, as the gills of Amanitas stay white.

The Yellow Stainer (Agaricus xanthodermus) looks similar but stains yellow when damaged and smells of iodine.


Extra Notes

The Latin name campestris means ‘of the fields’ in reference to where they grow.

Research is ongoing into their medicinal properties, dressings made from the mycelium are being used to treat bed sores and ulcers.

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