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Medusa Mushroom - Agaricus bohusii

Medusa Mushroom - Agricus bohusii

Main features

  • Fruits Summer to Autumn

  • Found as tightly packed groups

  • Found in woodland under trees

  • Smells slightly meaty

  • Cap surface white and covered in thick pointed brown scales

  • Cap starts off domed, almost spherical, and flattens with width of 5-15cm

  • Sturdy white stem 1-2.5cm in diameter and 5-20cm tall

  • Has a thick stem ring/skirt with cogwheel-like sections

  • Stem smooth above ring and scaly below

  • Base of the stem tapers 

  • Flesh is very pale brown and bruises red, eventually turning brown, when damaged

  • Crowded and free gills start very pale, then become reddish-brown before turning black

  • Spore print is chocolate brown

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Medusa Mushroom - Agaricus bohusii

Edible mushroom - novice

Other common names: Medusa Fungus


Scientific name meaning: Agaricus comes from the Greek Agarikon, meaning mushroom. Bohusii​ comes from the name of Hungarian mycologist Gábor Bohus

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

Habitat - where will I find it? The Medusa Mushroom grows in woodland and under trees

Description - what does it look like? 

Growth: The Medusa Mushroom is a saprobic mushroom living in the ground and feeding on dead and decaying leaf litter. It is usually found in closely packed groups with many fruit bodies in one area

Cap: The cap surface colour is white with thick raised, pointed brown scales. It is very domed, almost spherical, when it emerges from the ground and flattens out with age. Sometimes the edge of the cap becomes pointed. It is between 5 and 15cm wide

Gills: Starting off very pale, almost white, then turn reddish brown and finally black. They are crowded and free of the stem

Flesh: very pale brown, bruising pink/red and slowly turning brown when damaged

Stem: Sturdy and white in colour, the stem is usually 1-2.5cm wide and 5 - 20 cm tall. It has very thick ring, or skirt. With cogwheel-like sections.

Below the skirt the stem is very fibrous, almost scaly, and is smoother above and the stem flesh is usually smooth above the ring, and finely scaled below. The base of the stem tapers

Smell: mushroomy and a little meaty

Spore colour: Chocolate brown

Possible lookalikes Could be confused with any of the Scaly Wood Mushroom (Agaricus langei), Blushing Wood Mushroom (Agaricus sylvaticus) or the Haemorrhaging Mushroom (Agaricus haemorrhoidarius), but these are all edible.

At first glance, the Medusa Mushroom May be confused with Shaggy Parasols, but these have pale cream gills 

Use as a food Must be cooked and can be used exactly as a cultivated mushroom. It has a very rich meaty flavour. This mushroom is often recorded as uncommon to rare, so only a small amount of harvesting from abundant patches is advised

Use in medicine Some research has shown potential antifungal and antioxidant properties for the Medusa Mushroom

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

Hazards This mushroom can grow on the roadside 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!

Medusa Mushroom - Agricus bohusii - gills
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