August and September are generally rainy months here, bringing out the mushrooms in abundance. One of my favorites is the meadow mushroom, Agricarus campestris, but the local field where I used to harvest them was renovated into a soccer field a few years ago, and the crop never came back.
This year, I found a couple of mushrooms I hoped might be meadow mushrooms. Since it has been a couple of years since I’ve found any, I decided to play it safe and double check my identification.The cap is a little browner than I remember, and the stalk a little thicker, but meadow mushrooms can be slightly brown according to my field guide.
The best way to verify that this mushroom is not a deadly Amanita is to take a spore print. I placed the cap on a white sheet of paper overnight, hoping the print came back dark brownish black, not white.
Alas, the spore print came back a pale reddish brown; not an Amanita, but not solidly enough a meadow mushroom for me to risk eating it (the poisonous Western Flat-topped Agaricus has a chocolate spore print.) The mushroom may or may not be edible — I’d rather not find out the hard way.
On the positive note, I do have puffballs in the yard – an easy identification! Mushroom omelet, anyone?
Disclaimer: If you want to try your hand harvesting wild mushrooms, I strongly encourage you to find a knowledgeable group or a mentor for mushroom hunting in your area. A close friend of mine had a dog who ate a poisonous mushroom this summer. The poor creature died in the vet’s office only a few hours later. I don’t want any of you to get sick, so exercise caution, please.
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