What You Should Know
Chlorophyllum molybdites is a beautiful mushroom that regularly amazes people by sprouting up in their lawns, during the summer and fall. It is easily identified if mature specimens are available, as it has a greenish spore print and gills in old age. However, if mature specimens are not available, identification may be difficult.
This mushroom can form small or large groups, often in the form of fairy rings. It is widely distributed in eastern North America, California, and temperate and subtropical regions around the world, and its fruiting bodies generally appear after summer and autumn rains.
It is the most frequently eaten poisonous mushroom in North America and causes predominantly gastrointestinal symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea, and colic, which can be severe and occur 1 to 3 hours after consumption. Although these poisonings can be severe, especially in children, no deaths have occurred as a result.
Chlorophyllum molybdites is not considered psychedelic because it does not contain psilocybin or any other hallucinogenic compounds.
Other names: False Parasol, Green Gill, Green-Spored Parasol, Green Spored Lepiota, German (Falsche Sonnenschirm Pilz), Netherlands (Groenspoorparasolzwam).
Chlorophyllum molybdites Mushroom Identification
3.94 to 8.66 inches (10 to 22 cm) in size, starts with a convex shape when young but becomes flatter with age. It is dry, and starts bald but soon develops brown to pinkish-brown scales and has a fibrous, pale-colored under surface.
Free from the stem or slightly attached to it; crowded; short gills frequent. The color of the gills changes from white when young to grayish-green to brownish-green as they mature.
The stem is 3.15 to 7.87 inches (8 to 20 cm) long, 0.59 to 1.18 inches (1.5 to 3 cm) cm thick, tapered at the top and slightly wider at the base. It is dry, smooth or finely textured, firm, and white to brown in color, turning slightly brown when handled. It has a persistent white ring with a greenish to brown lower edge.
White throughout; not staining when sliced, or staining reddish brown to pale pinkish red in the base; thick.
Odor and Taste
Dull grayish green.
Grows by feeding on dead organic matter (saprobic), and is found in lawns and meadows either alone, scattered, or in groups forming fairy rings. It grows from summer to fall, and is found across North America but is more common in the eastern Great Plains.
Spores 9–13 x 6–9 µm; amygdaliform to ellipsoid; smooth; with a slightly truncated end; featuring a small (1 µm) pore; thick-walled; hyaline to faintly greenish in KOH; dextrinoid. Cheilocystidia 40–55 x 10–15 µm; cylindric to subclavate or clavate; thin-walled; smooth; hyaline to brownish in KOH. Pleurocystidia absent. Pileipellis a trichoderm (center of cap, or scales) or cutis (whitish, fibrillose surface).
Chlorophyllum rhacodes (edible parasol) vs. Chlorophyllum molybdites
The most distinct characteristic is size, these mushrooms can be up to a foot tall, and their parasol top is huge.
Secondly, the distinctive cap. Its "shaggy" appearance comes from flaked dark skin on the top of the mushroom exposing a lighter color underneath.
Thirdly, they have brown spores, NOT green which will become important later on in this article.
Chlorophyllum molybdites vs. Macrolepiota procera
Macrolepiota procera, more commonly known as Parasol, looks very similar but has more of a tall, thinner, more scaly stalk. This explains why Chlorophyllum molybdites is often called false parasol. This mushroom is often mistaken for the edible ones because during their spore stage in their life they look white like other fungi. During its gametophyte stage it appears green; it just may take a while for it to develop into this stage of its life.
Chlorophyllum molybdites Dog Safety
Though poisoning cases are rare, the false parasol causes intense gastrointestinal distress in people and may be deadly to dogs and horses. Puppies and adult dogs that like to chew are especially at risk for ingesting the fungus.
Chlorophyllum molybdites Toxicity
The Green Spored Lepiota is the worst GI irritant mushroom. In fact, the symptoms are different enough from those produced by other GI irritant mushrooms that the North American Mycological Association’s webpage on mushroom toxins lists Chlorophyllum molybdites separately.
Symptoms appear between one and two hours after eating the mushroom and can include: nausea, dizziness, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. These symptoms can vary in severity due to differences in weather, individual mushrooms, and each person’s age and sensitivity.
In the worst cases, sufferers can have bloody, explosive diarrhea and may need hospital treatment. The toxin(s) involved are not yet known, so treatment of Chlorophyllum molybdites poisoning focuses on alleviating symptoms: doctors administer drugs to counteract the vomiting and diarrhea and administer fluids and electrolytes when necessary.
Chlorophyllum molybdites Taxonomy
The name "Chlorophyllum molybdites" comes from the word "chlorophyll," meaning green, because the spores of this mushroom can be grayish green. The classification of this mushroom has changed over time and it used to belong to the genus Lepiota, with the common name "Green Spored Lepiota." Despite being reassigned to Chlorophyllum, the common name has not changed. The species name "molybdites" is derived from the Greek word "molybdos" meaning "lead".
Chlorophyllum molybdites Synonyms
Agaricus molybdites G. Meyer (1818), Primitiae florae essequeboensis, p. 300
Agaricus morganii Peck (1879), The botanical gazette (Crawfordsville), 4(3), p. 137
Agaricus glaziovii Berkeley (1880) [1879-80], Videnskabelige meddelelser fra den Dansk nathuristoriske forening i Kjöbenhavn, 41-42, p. 32
Pholiota glaziovii (Berkeley) Saccardo (1887), Sylloge fungorum omnium hucusque cognitorum, 5, p. 751
Lepiota molybdites (G. Meyer) Saccardo (1887), Sylloge fungorum omnium hucusque cognitorum, 5, p. 30
Lepiota morganii (Peck) Saccardo (1887), Sylloge fungorum omnium hucusque cognitorum, 5, p. 31
Mastocephalus molybdites (G. Meyer) Kuntze (1891), Revisio generum plantarum, 2, p. 860
Mastocephalus morganii (Peck) Kuntze (1891), Revisio generum plantarum, 2, p. 860
Lepiota ochrospora Cooke & Massee (1893), Grevillea, 21(99), p. 73
Chlorophyllum morganii (Peck) Massee (1898), Bulletin of miscellaneous information - Royal Gardens, Kew, 1898(138), p. 136
Chlorophyllum esculentum Massee (1898), Bulletin of miscellaneous information - Royal Gardens, Kew, 1898(138), p. 136
Annularia camporum Spegazzini (1899) , Anales del Museo nacional de Buenos Aires, serie 2, 3, p. 117
Agaricus guadelupensis Patouillard (1899), Bulletin de la Société mycologique de France, 15(3), p. 197
Lepiota esculenta (Massee) Saccardo & P. Sydow (1902), Sylloge fungorum omnium hucusque cognitorum, 16, p. 2
Leucocoprinus molybdites (G. Meyer) Patouillard (1913), Bulletin de la Société mycologique de France, 29(2), p. 215
Lepiota camporum (Spegazzini) Spegazzini (1926), Boletín de la Academia nacional de ciencias en Córdoba, 29, p. 114
Macrolepiota molybdites (G. Meyer) G. Moreno, Bañares & Heykoop (1995), Mycotaxon, 55, p. 467
Chlorophyllum molybdites Video
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