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This page is used to feature mushrooms that are prevalent for the particular time of the year or, during the winter months, to feature some of the less desirable or hard to find mushrooms. To see some of our previous stars follow this link to an index of previously featured mushrooms.

                June's Mushroom of the Month

Agaricus bitorquis (aka) A. rodmani: The Spring Agaricus , The Banded Agaricus or The Urban Agaricus

 

 

Photo Credit: Frank Stevens 

 

The Agaricus bitorquis is a large, choice edible mushroom that fruits in the spring and also in the fall.  It can fruit as early as May in wet, warm springs.  This mushroom is one of the species called pink bottoms or just pinks by Michigan mushroom hunters. 

The dry, smooth to scaly, brownish to grayish-brown caps range from 2 to 5 inches (5 to 11.5 cm.) wide and are hard and fleshy.  The pale pink, free gills turn dark chocolate brown with age.  The whitish, thick, short stems range from 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm.) tall and 3/8 to 1 ½ inches (1 to 3 cm.) thick.  There is a persistent thick, white, membranous veil on the stalk.  The upper edge of the ring is free or flaring with the lower edge free or the ring can be sheath-like with the upper edge free and the lower edge attached almost like a volva.  The flesh is white and does not bruise yellow.  The odor and taste are pleasant and mild not like anise, almonds or phenol like other Agaricus species.  Agaricus bitorquis tends to grow single, scattered or in groups in hard-packed soil near roads, sidewalks, playgrounds and other places with disturbed hard-packed ground.  The spore print is dark chocolate brown.

This is an excellent edible.  Like all choice Agaricus species it is very versatile and can be used in almost all mushroom recipes for cultivated mushrooms.  Such recipes, substituting A. bitorquis and other choice members of Agaricus, are vastly improved as the wild mushrooms have for more flavor than the store-bought white buttons.