Field Mushroom - Agaricus campestris

Main features

  • Fruits Summer to Autumn

  • Grows in rings or partial rings in grassland, meadows and pastureland

  • Likes ground with lots of organic decaying matter

  • Smells sweet and mushroomy

  • Cap white in colour, often darkening in the centre with age

  • Cap starts off dome-shaped and flattens out with width of 3-10cm

  • Sturdy white stem between 3 and 10cm and and 1-2cm in diameter

  • Short-lived ring 

  • Stem smooth above ring and slightly scaly below

  • Stem tapers at base

  • Flesh is white, bruising pink if damaged

  • Crowded and free gills start off deep pink and turn dark brown to black

  • Spore print is dark brown

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Field Mushroom - Agaricus campestris

Edible mushroom - novice/intermediate

Other common names: Meadow Mushroom, Pink Bottom

 

Scientific name meaning: Agaricus comes from the Greek Agarikon, meaning mushroom. Campestris is from the Latin Campus, meaning growing in a field or on a plain

Season - when will I find it? From Summer to Autumn
 

Habitat - where will I find it? The Field Mushroom is found in grassland that has plenty of decaying organic matter, such as grass clipping or grazing animal dung, such as grazed pastures or meadows

Description - what does it look like? 

Growth: The Field Mushroom is a saprobic mushroom living on dead and decaying organic matter under the sward. It grows in rings and partials rings, but single fruits or clumps are often found

Cap: Starts off smooth and white, and often develops a slightly darker centre with age. When the fruit is young, it is dome-shaped, becoming very flattened as it ages. The margin often stays inrolled and often has veil remnants attached. The size of the cap can be between 3cm and 10cm. It bruises a yellowish colour when handled

Gills: Starting off deep pink the gills eventually turn dark brown then almost black. The gills are fair crowded and free (they do not touch the stem) 

Flesh: white, bruising pink if damaged

Stem: Sturdy and white in colour, the stem can reach 3 to 10cm tall, and is 1-2cm wide, and tapers at the base. It has a ring, or skirt, which disappears as the fruit matures. The stem is smooth above the ring, and slightly scaly beneath

Smell: Mild, sweet mushroom

Spore colour: Dark brown

Possible lookalikes Could be confused with any of the poisonous Agaricus - such as the Yellow Stainer (Agaricus xanthodermis)or the Inky Mushroom (Agaricus moelleri), but these smell unpleasant of phenol or bottled ink and/or stain strongly yellow, particularly in the base of the stem, when bruised or cut. 

Use as a food Must be cooked and can be used exactly as a cultivated mushroom. It can often pick up lots of soil, so thorough cleaning is advised

Use in herbal medicine Research is currently being undertaken into the use of Field Mushrooms in producing fungal dressings for ulcers and bed sores. Field Mushrooms have been used to treat burns.

If you are suffering from any ailment or need medical advice, please see your General Practitioner

Hazards This mushroom can grow on roadside grass verges where it can accumulate traffic-related toxins. It is advisable to avoid harvesting from the sides of busy roads

Importance to other species Provides food for a the larvae of a number of fly species. Worth remembering when harvesting. Younger specimens tend to have less livestock inside!

Always stay safe when foraging. You need to be 100% sure of your identification, 100% sure that your foraged item is edible, and 100% sure that you are not allergic to it (it is good practice to always try a small amount of any new food you are consuming). If in doubt, leave it out!