What You Should Know
Agrocybe praecox is an edible mushroom but not worth it. In spring and early summer, these attractive but very variable fungi emerge in woods and beside hedgerows, often carpeting paths and flowerbeds that have been spread with wood chippings.
This mushroom belongs to a complex group that is difficult to distinguish in the wild. Some field guides list this fungus in the Bolbitiaceae family. It is found in Europe, North Africa, and North America.
Other names: Spring Fieldcap, Spring Agaric.
Agrocybe praecox Mushroom Identification
Saprobic on woody debris; growing alone or gregariously; spring, summer, and fall; widely distributed in North America.
Small or medium in size (rarely larger than 10 or 12 cm across); convex becoming broadly convex or flat, often with a low central bump; smooth, but sometimes developing cracks in age; color ranging from whitish to yellow-brown or brownish (but not often dark brown); sometimes with whitish partial veil remnants on the margin.
At first, covered by a white partial veil; attached to the stem or pulling away from it; close; whitish to pale at first, becoming brown to cinnamon brown.
Dimensions variable, but not often wider than 1.5 cm or longer than 10 cm; more or less equal; smooth to finely hairy near the apex; whitish or pale brownish; with a thin, whitish ring which often disappears; with white rhizomorphs attached to the base.
Whitish; not particularly thick in the cap.
Odor and Taste
The odor and taste is mealy.
May to September.
Agrocybe praecox Look-Alikes
Grows in spring and paler in color. The cap is umbonate and usually cracks when fully expanded.
Habitat on stumps of poplars and willows.
Agrocybe praecox Taxonomy and Etymology
In 1800 Christiaan Hendrik Persoon described this species and named it Agaricus praecox.
In 1889 Swiss mycologist Victor Fayod (1860 - 1900) transferred this mushroom to the new genus Agrocybe which was established with the accepted scientific name Agrocybe praecox.
The specific epithet praecox is a Latin word meaning "developing or appearing early".
Agrocybe praecox Synonyms
Pholiota praecox (Pers.) P. Kumm., 1871
Dryophila praecox (Pers.) Quél., 1886
Hylophila praecox (Pers.) Quél., 1888
Naucoria praecox (Pers.) Fayod, 1889
Togaria praecox (Pers.) W.G. Sm., 1908
Agaricus praecox Pers.
Agaricus togularis Pers.
Agaricus gibberosus Fr.
Pholiota togularis sensu Gillet
Agrocybe gibberosa (Fr.) Fayod
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