The Prince - Agaricus augustus

Main features

  • Fruits Summer to Autumn

  • Found as individual fruits or small groups

  • Underneath trees, particularly conifers

  • Smells of almonds

  • Cap cream in colour and covered in bright brown scales

  • Scales on cap concentrated in centre

  • Cap starts off dome-shaped and flattens with age

  • Cap reaches 10 to 30cm

  • White stem up of 10 - 20cm and and 3 - 4cm in diameter

  • Large floppy ring that can disappear with age

  • Stem often smooth above ring and with bobbly scales below

  • Flesh is white

  • Crowded and free gills start white, turning pale pink and finally dark purple-brown 

  • Spore print is dark purple-brown

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The Prince - Agaricus augustus

Edible mushroom - novice 

Other common names: The Prince Mushroom

 

Scientific name meaning: Agaricus comes from the Greek Agarikon, meaning mushroom. Augustus is Latin, meaning notable, majestic or worthy of honour

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

Habitat - where will I find it? The Prince is found near trees, particularly conifers

Description - what does it look like? 

Growth: The Prince is a saprobic mushroom living on dead and decaying leaf litter under the ground. It can be found as single fruit bodies or clumps 

Cap: Starts off dome-shaped and flattens out as it ages. It cream coloured and covered in brown scales that are more concentrated at the centre. The size of the cap can be between 10cm and 30cm

Gills: Starting off almost white, becoming pale pink and eventually dark purple-brown. When white, they should be avoided by novice foragers in case of confusion with poisonous Amanitas. The gills are crowded and free (do not touch the stem) 

Flesh: white

Stem: Sturdy and white in colour, the stem can reach 10 to 20cm tall, and is 2-4cm wide. It has a large floppy ring, or skirt, which can disappear with age. The stem is smooth above the ring, with bobbly scales beneath

Smell: Almonds

Spore colour: Dark purple-brown

Possible lookalikes Could be confused with Agaricus bernardii, but this is also edible and prefers salty ground, or Agaricus impudicus, which is also edible but this smells of raddish. It is unlikely to be confused with any of the poisonous Agaricus due to the brown scaling on its cap.

When the gills are white, confusion with poisonous Amanitas could also be possible, so very young specimens are best avoided by novice foragers

Use as a food Must be cooked and can be used exactly as a cultivated mushroom. It has an excellent flavour

Use in herbal medicine None known

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!