Since the foray Wednesday, all I could think about was getting out again. My mushroom hunting in the past was usually in a very specific spot, for a very specific kind. More of a waiting game. Wednesday’s foray was more ‘dive in and see what you find’ – which is far more exciting. So after a few days of generally deciding to temper my enthusiasm and wait until next week’s guided foray with the Alberta Mycological Society, I caved and figured I’d just get out to a local river valley park a couple km away and see what I could see. R&D. And I needed the walk.
20 minutes later I was back at the car on my way home with a paper lunch bag full of mushrooms that weighed in at 3/4 of a kilo. I had started seeing very little but then noticed a big white thing in the grass, about 50 yards away – softball size looking. Too white for a softball, kind of like spotting moose which are ‘too black’ in their natural environment, believe it or not, making them easy to spot. As I approached it was evident there was a good patch of the same kind, and they looked promising. Into the bag they went, after a couple photos to remind myself of their location – something my grandfather drilled into me when hunting. Only he didn’t have a digital camera in his hunting days… And home I went to snap some shots to send off to some friends to see if I can get a positive ID.
Although still waiting to hear from a couple folks, and barring their correcting me, I’ve taken a leap at the ID. All my notes led me to Agaricus Campestris, then Jasmine weighed in the comments, and not knowing what I was suspecting, confirmed exactly the same. Choice edible. I’m going back this afternoon to get more from that spot, as I’d stopped when my bag was full.
Disclaimer: do be cautious when learning about an unfamiliar wild mushroom, and assume I know little, cause let’s face it, I do. But do learn, and do enjoy!
I love that in mycological circles there is room for such specific debate issues as the decision to snap off or cut mushrooms. Such care for the subtle preferences of these mysterious things, even if irresolutely.
Can’t wait to hear what you find out – and I hope it is soon enough to eat them, if they are edible!
You’ve stumbled across a great cache of my favourite local edible, Agaricus campestris (field mushroom). It’s basically the wild equivalent of the cultivated button mushroom. Damned tasty too.
Here’s the full details: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agaricus_campestris
All this rain has mean an extended cropping season, and since they prefer fields (such as schoolyards and parks) Edmonton grows a lot of them. Enjoy! If you see any Boletes let a girl know, k?
Jasmine – THANK YOU. I was confident on the Agaricus [no volva suggesting Amanita], and no yellow staining so not Xanthodermus, but still am pretty green at this, so have been cautious with my assessment. Campestris was my top contender for an ID guess [gills too brown, not pinky enough for Arvensis], so I’m very glad to hear you agree. And yes, if I locate some more boletes, I’ll be in touch – if for no other reason than as a ‘thank you’ for weighing in here!
Here’s most of my notes:
partial veil, stuck to stem
white top, with some yellow on mature specimens, turning to brown
starts with wide convex, flattens with maturity
gills are white young, brown maturity
spore print is med brown
very bulby young specimens, with partial veil closed
didn’t seem to take long to get to browny/pinky/purply gill color stage
light shagginesss at base of stem
one specimen had fused stem bases
mature cap diameter of 4-6″ maybe
young ones look like big button mushrooms from the store, with a more round, bulgy top
they were growing in mowed grass along the edge of the unmowed riverbank
stems are long, perhaps to get them out of grass, 4″+, and sturdy med thick
smell is very pleasant, classic ‘mushroom’ aroma
not presence of yellow staining at base of stem when cut [agaricus xanthodermus ruled out]
didn’t notice a circle ‘fairy ring’ pattern, more of a here and there pattern perhaps
Harvested 24-30, but there were likely 40-50 in that one spot
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The younger specimens above look a lot like Aminata’s (aka Death Angels) around here. White shrooms with white veil and white spore print = STAY AWAY!!! hehe
Barry – great point, that having a variety of maturities is important to be able to do a confident ID. Also worth knowing how to ID an Amanita, and any other lookalikes that may exist in your area!
Glad I could help. Speaking of wqhich, I went wandering through the University area on my lunch yesterday and had to return early, my bag of ‘shrooms was getting to heavy to carry comfortably. I’d guesstimate 12-15lbs within six square blocks of my office. If you ever need ‘shrooms, come visit (the Uni doesn’t use pesticides on any of their properties, organic-ish mushrooms for free, score!)
Jasmine – wow. Good to know. Ever need…hah…I’m stocking up for the winter.
I will have togo out to our coulee to look for shrooms. THe fairy rings are finally growing but we usually get edibles growing in the yard…nothing yet though!
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