No prizes for guessing why this mushroom is called the Parasol…This one was spotted at Soapy Cove.
Photo: Steve Townsend
Scientific name: Macrolepiota procera
Cornish name: The general term for mushroom is skavel gronek
A not uncommon sight on well-drained pastures, verges and woodland clearings, fruiting from high summer into November, it is obvious how the Parasol Mushroom gets its name. The large cap (≤ 40 cm diameter) is fairly flat when mature and, sitting on top of the thin stalk (more correctly called the stipe), makes this mushroom look very like a parasol or umbrella.
When the fungus is immature, the cap is more spherical or egg-like in shape. As it matures, the cap opens out and flattens, but always retains a brown coloured area on the crown that forms a small bump, called an umbo. The gills are white-ish, sometimes with a slight pink tinge; the stipe is also pale, but is covered in brown scales. Look at the photos on this page to see the distinctive ring (or annulus), which can be slid up and down the stipe. In mushrooms, the annulus is what remains of something called the ‘partial veil’, which covered the gills to protect the spores until they matured and were ready for release.
The cap but not the stipe is edible.
Did you know…?
…The Parasol has a nutty smell, and the edible caps have a sweet taste.
…It is important not to confuse smaller-sized Parasols with other, poisonous, members of the same family (Lepiota).
Published: October 2013
Author: Amanda Scott
Photos: Steve Townsend