Agaricus sylvaticus: The Ultimate Mushroom Guide
About The Agaricus sylvaticus Mushroom
Agaricus sylvaticus (or Agaricus silvaticus) is a species of mushroom often found in groups in coniferous forests from early summer, or September through to November in Europe, North Africa and North America. The greyish-brown cap is hemispherical when young but later flattens out up to 10 cm in diameter. It is covered with broad scales. The gills are grey when young, and become much darker with age. The spores are chocolate brown. The stem is brownish, often with a hanging ring and a small bulb at the base. The flesh is white with a mild taste, turning reddish when cut.
Although one field guide lists the species as edible, another does not recommend it based on its being related to species that cause gastric upset.
Agaricus sylvaticus is sometimes referred to as the Red Staining Mushroom because the cap and stipe turn bright red if they are scratched or broken.
Other names: Red Staining Mushroom, Blushing Wood Mushroom, Scaly Wood Mushroom, Blushing Wood Mushroom, Pinew, Skogschampinjon (Sweden), Meža atmatene (Latvia).
Agaricus sylvaticus Identification
7 to 15 cm. Domed at first, the scaly cap expands until it is almost flat. Beneath the surface, which is light russet-brown and covered with reddish-brown scales that are denser towards the middle of the cap, the flesh is white. Upon cutting the thin, firm cap flesh it turns red and eventually brown.
Initially pink, the free, crowded gills turn redder and then dark brown as the spores mature.
1 to 1.2cm in diameter, is more or less parallel-sided above a slightly swollen or bulbous base. When cut or bruised, the solid stem flesh turns red and eventually brown. Above the large, floppy single ring the stem is smooth, while below the ring it is finely scaly.
Ovoid, 4.5-6.5 x 3.2-4.2µm.
Odor and Taste
Habitat & Ecological Role
Often in groups in mixed woodland and under trees in parks.
Agaricus sylvaticus Look-Alikes
Normally considered a synonym, but has also been defined as a separate species, distinguished by its flesh which immediately turns red when cut.
Distinguished by a stem that yellows (in addition to turning pink) when cut. The cap background is browner than A. silvaticus and its smell suggests iodine or ink.
Looks similar from above but has no ring and develops reddish-brown gills.
Agaricus sylvaticus Taxonomy & Etymology
The species name sylvaticus (or silvaticus) means "of the woods". Both spellings are found in the literature, but Species Fungorum gives sylvaticus as the current name and so that version should be preferred.
This well-known species was first validly described under the current name, Agaricus silvaticus, in 1774 by the early mycologist Jacob Christian Schäffer. At that time most gilled mushrooms were all grouped under the genus Agaricus, but later were allocated to new genera which reflected their different characteristics.
Now Agaricus has a much more restricted meaning, being the genus of the commonly cultivated mushrooms of Europe and America, but A. sylvaticus belongs to that group and has kept the same name during all that time.
Agaricus sylvaticus profile
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