Agrocybe Praecox: The Ultimate Mushroom Guide
About The Agrocybe Praecox Mushroom
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.
Agrocybe Praecox is one of a complex group of fungi that are very difficult to separate in the field. In some field guides, this mushroom is recorded in the family Bolbitiaceae.
The species of Agrocybe are very difficult to distinguish. It is found in Europe, North Africa, and North America.
Other names: Spring Fieldcap, Spring Agaric.
Agrocybe Praecox 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.
Taste: Mealy; odor mealy.
Spore Print: Dark brown.
Agrocybe Praecox Taxonomy & Etymology
When Christiaan Hendrik Persoon first described this mushroom in 1800 he named it Agaricus praecox. (Most of the gilled fungi were initially placed in a giant Agaricus genus, now redistributed to many other genera.)
The currently accepted scientific name Agrocybe praecox dates from 1889, when Swiss mycologist Victor Fayod (1860 - 1900) transferred it to the new genus Agrocybe that he established with Agrocybe praecox as the type species.
Synonyms of Agrocybe praecox include Agaricus praecox Pers., Agaricus togularis Pers., Agaricus gibberosus Fr., Pholiota praecox (Pers.) P. Kumm., Pholiota togularis sensu Gillet, Agrocybe gibberosa (Fr.) Fayod, and Togaria praecox (Pers.) W.G. Sm.
'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 praecox is a Latin word meaning 'developing or appearing early'; it has the same origin as the adjective 'precocious'.
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