Macro Mushroom / Autumn / Edible
In fields, meadows and parks. They are saprotrophic, feeding on the dead roots systems of grasses and moss. They can appear individually or in small groups.
A rare find in the UK, they have undergone some names changes over the years so you may see it listed as Agaricus macrosporus or Agaricus crocodilinus. To make things even more confusing there is also a woodland variant Agaricus urinascens var, excellens but this is very, very rare.
When young the cap is smooth, as it grows they flatten out, darken slightly and develop rough scales, often splitting at their edges.
The stems are white and have a delicate skirt. The stem is smooth above the skirt and scaly below. Quite stout. Around 7-12 cm long and when cut it will stain slightly reddish-brown.
The gills are crowded and free, pink initially they darken to a rich brown colour when mature.
When young they have a pleasant almond scent but as they mature they smell increasingly of urine.
A really tasty mushroom, they can be used in lots of ways and can be used in the same way as Portobello mushrooms
The younger caps are best as they can get a bit maggoty as they get older depending on how squeamish you are.
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.
It could be confused with other Agarics the main one to be wary of is The Yellow Stainer (Agaricus xanthodermus) it can looks similar but stains bright yellow when damaged and smells of iodine.
The name urinascens comes from Latin and means ‘gradually acquiring a smell like urine’, the common English name Macro refers to their huge size.