Agrocybe dura: The Ultimate Mushroom Guide
About The Agrocybe dura Mushroom
Agrocybe dura is a species of Fungi in the family Strophariaceae. Grows in grassy areas, especially in late spring and early summer, in that painful gap between spring mushrooms and summer mushrooms, when mushroom enthusiasts in temperate climates are frothing at the bit. Agrocybe dura isn't limited to this period, but that's when it is most likely to appear.
The cap is medium-sized and more or less white, and the stem features a flimsy ring. These features will help to separate it from Agrocybe pediades, which also appear in grass but has a smaller, pale yellow-brown cap and lacks a ring. Under the microscope, Agrocybe dura features fairly large spores.
Agrocybe praecox is considered edible if well cooked, but it is said by some to retain a bitter taste and is of very poor quality.
Other names: Bearded Fieldcap.
Agrocybe dura Identification
Saprobic; growing alone, scattered, or gregariously in the grass (lawns, meadows, fields); sometimes appearing in fairy rings; appearing from spring through fall, but most likely to be seen in May, at least in temperate climates; widely distributed in North America and Europe.
2.5–8 cm; convex at first, becoming broadly convex or nearly flat; tacky when fresh, but soon dry; bald; often becoming cracked or fissured in old age; usually whitish overall, or with a dull yellowish center—but sometimes creamy to dull yellowish overall; the margin often adorned with whitish to yellowish partial veil fibrils and remnants.
Narrowly attached to the stem; close or crowded; short-gills frequent; whitish at first, becoming dull grayish brown; edges faintly whitish at maturity; at first covered by a white partial veil.
5–10 cm long and 3–15 mm thick; more or less equal; rigid; bald or a little fibrillose; whitish, sometimes discoloring brownish, especially in the bottom half; with a flimsy, ephemeral, whitish ring; basal mycelium white.
White; unchanging when sliced.
Odor and Taste
KOH on cap surface negative to yellowish.
Spores 11–16 (–19) x 6–9 (–10) µm; more or less ellipsoid, with one end, flattened for a 2 –3 µm pore; smooth; walls about 1 µm thick; brownish orange to orangish-brownish in KOH; brown in Melzer's. Basidia 25–35 x 7–9 µm; clavate; 4-sterigmate. Cheilocystidia 35–60 x 10–25 µm; utriform to widely utriform; smooth; thin-walled; hyaline in KOH. Pleurocystidia 35–55 x 10–20 µm; widely utriform to clavate or sphaeropedunculate; smooth; thin-walled; hyaline in KOH. Pileipellis hymeniform but quickly deteriorating and collapsing (best seen on very young caps); hymeniform elements 15–22 x 6–10 µm; clavate to pyriform; hyaline in KOH.
Agrocybe dura Look-Alikes
Also occurs in spring and summer, and has a smooth darker cap that rarely cracks; it has smaller spores.
Grows on stumps of poplars and willows.
Agrocybe dura Taxonomy & Etymology
When German naturalist Wilhelm Gottfried Lasch (1787 - 1863) first described this mushroom in 1828 he named it Agaricus molestus. It was only as recently as 1978 that German-born American mycologist Rolf Singer reassigned this species to the genus Agrocybe, thus establishing its currently-accepted scientific name Agrocybe molesta.
'Fieldcap' is derived from Agro-, of fields, and -cybe, head or cap, and is, therefore, a direct translation of the generic name Agrocybe. The specific epithet molesta comes from Latin and means 'irksome' or 'troublesome'. Identifying these fieldcap mushrooms can indeed be quite irksome!
Agrocybe dura Synonyms
Agaricus durus Bolton, 1788 (basionym)
Agaricus molestus Lasch, 1828
Agaricus vermifluus Peck, 1897
Agrocybe dura var. xanthophylla (Bres.) P.D.Orton, 1960
Agrocybe molesta (Lasch) Singer, 1978
Agrocybe vermiflua (Peck) Watling, 1976
Dryophila dura (Bolton) Quél., 1886
Hylophila dura (Bolton) Quél., 1888
Pholiota dura (Bolton) P.Kumm., 1871
Pholiota dura var. xanthophylla Bres., 1892
Pholiota vermiflua (Peck) Sacc., 1887
Togaria dura (Bolton) W.G.Sm., 1908
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