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John S. Fritch

Edible Parasol vs false parasol non-edible mushroom. How to distinguish?

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What are some of the distinguishing features of an edible parasol (Lepiota procera) mushroom VS a highly toxic (Chlorophyllum  molybdites) false parasol? In my front yard these large beautiful mushrooms grow. I've looked them up in Audubon Society Field Guide of North American Mushrooms. It seems I have features of both on these mushrooms I pick. For instance, they have a smooth stem, when cut across stem, it turns an immediate brownish color. It has a moveable veil on the stem. Its gills are a close smooth (not woolly) white color that does not bruise when smashed or cut. There is no greenish tint to the gills They seem to remain white. It has its characteristic warted scaled cap brownish knobbed at center with cracking appearance. The guide says parasols are choice edible by experienced mushroom hunters . Other gives violent upset vomiting. Id like to eat these if a true parasol. Any help appreciated.

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Great topic.  I started my mycology adventure using the ASFGNAWM also. Early in my identification years,  I came across what I thought were parasol mushrooms.  If I remember correctly,, the field guide mentioned that the toxic lookalike was uncommon and could be positively identified by the spores under a microscope.  I didn't have a microscope,  so I played the odds.  That was a HUGE MISTAKE! I honestly thought I was going to die.  The vomiting was indeed violent and frequent.  It lasted for three full days and dehydrated me,  took all my energy and I felt like I was only moments away form becoming corpse finder matter.  With the naked eye,  I really don't think there's enough differences between the two, to positively identify,  but the book does describe the spore shapes which distinguish the difference.  I'm only going by memory,  so I might be mistaken in a point,  but I will never forget what I went through.  The lookalike is toxic enough to become fatal.  No mushroom is worth that risk.  That's why I have become a proponent of 100% positive identification before SAMPLING  a new mushroom.  

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You can tell Chlorophyllum  molybdites by its green spore print. The print of a true parasol mushroom is white.

Parasols can be difficult to identify. Some species of Amanita have a similar appearance. Although I believe I have found them on several occasions, I've never had the nerve to take them home and eat them. 


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