Parasol - Macrolepiota procera

Main features

  • Fruits Summer to Autumn

  • Grows in woodland, woodland clearing, grassland, and roadsides

  • Can be found as individual fruits or in groups

  • No smell

  • Large cap reaching between 10-25cm

  • Cap flesh white and covvered in dark brown scales concentrated at the centre

  • Cap has a small central bump or umbo

  • Stem can reach 30cm, and is 1-2cm wide

  • Has a substantial double ring/skirt that can be slid up and down the stem

  • Stem has a swollen base 

  • Flesh is white and does not change colour significantly when damaged

  • The crowded white/cream gills are free of the stem

  • Spore print is white to cream

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Parasol - Macrolepiota procera

Edible mushroom - novice

Other common names: The Parasol, 

 

Scientific name meaning: Macro means big and Lepiota originates from the Greek Lepis, meaning scale or scaly. The species name is from the Laitn Procerus, meaning tall, long or stretched out

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

Habitat - where will I find it? Parasols can be found on grassland, roadsides, in woodland and woodland clearings

Description - what does it look like? 

Growth: Parasols are saprobic, feeding off the decaying organic matter in the soil or sward. They can be found as single specimens or in large groups

Cap: The large caps can reach between 10 and 25cm. The white cap flesh is covered in dark brown scales, which are concentrated in the centre of the cap giving a nipple like appearance. This similarity is exacerbated by a small central bump, or umbo

Gills: The white to cream gills are crowded and free of the stem

Flesh: White and doesn't change colour significantly when bruised

Stem: The stem can reach up to 30cm tall, making this mushroom particularly easy to spot, and between 1 - 2cm wide. It is swollen at the base.

The surface of the stem is covered in a snakeskin like pattern that is either brown, or can appear almost black, in colour.

A substantial double-ring/skirt is present and this can be slid up and down the stem.

 

Smell: None

Spore colour: White to pale cream

Possible lookalikes Lepiotas or Dapperlings, most of which are poisonous, could be confused with Parasols. These are much smaller, however, so only pick Parasols that have caps that are at least 12cm in diameter.

Shaggy Parasols could also be confused with Parasols. However, the flesh of these will stain orange-red when damaged. They also lack the snakeskin pattern on the stem.

Shaggy Parasols are also edible, but some people experience a nasty gastric reaction to them. 

Use as a food A very tasty mushroom with a sweet taste, it can be added to several mushroom dishes

Use in herbal medicine Believed to have antimicrobial and antibiotic properties

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

Hazards None known

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!