Salty Mushroom - Agaricus bernardii

Main features

  • Fruits Summer to Autumn

  • Grows in grassland near the coast and on the side of gritted roads

  • Like ground with lots of organic decaying matter

  • Smells strongly of aniseed

  • Found as individual fruits or groups

  • Cap white with scales, often appearing cracked

  • Inrolled margin on cap

  • Cap starts off dome-shaped and flattens slightly to a width of 15cm

  • Sturdy white stem up to 8cm and and 2-4cm wide

  • Has an upturned ring/skirt

  • Stem often tapers at base

  • Flesh is white brusing red-pink if damaged

  • Crowded and free gills start out pink and finally chocolate brown 

  • Spore print is chocolate brown

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Salty Mushroom - Agaricus bernardii

Edible mushroom - novice/intermediate

Other common names: Salty Mushroom, Salt Loving Mushroom

 

Scientific name meaning: Agaricus comes from the Greek Agarikon, meaning mushroom. Bernardii is derived from the name f the scientist who discovered the species

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

Habitat - where will I find it? The Salty Mushroom is often found in grassland near to the coast. However, salt sprayed grass verges also provide it with a god habitat

Description - what does it look like? 

Growth: The Salty Mushroom is a saprobic mushroom living on dead and decaying organic matter under the sward. It is found as single fruits or clumps 

Cap: White in colour and can appear cracked due to the scales on its surface. It is dome-shaped when young becoming flatter with age, and has an inrolled margin. The size of the cap can be up to 15cm

Gills: Starting off pink, the gills eventually become chocolate brown. They are crowded and free (do not meet the stem)

Flesh: White, bruising a red-pink when damaged

Stem: Sturdy and white, the stem is 4 to 8cm tall and 2 to 4cm wide and often tapers at the base. It has an upturned ring

Smell: Strongly of aniseed

Spore colour: Chocolate 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 has an aniseed/perfumed taste that some people do not enjoy

Use in herbal medicine Some antimicrobial action has been observed under laboratory conditions

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!