Mycology is a science that arouses a lot of curiosity, especially in those who love cooking and in people who like to enjoy nature in every way. But you have to be careful, since it is not too easy to try to be an amateur mushroom picker and not get intoxicated in the attempt.
One of the mushrooms most appreciated and sought after by fans, both for its abundance and for its delicious flavor is Agaricus campestris , also popularly known as wild mushroom and that in these lines we will try to know a little better to differentiate it from other very similar species they can be toxic.
CLASSIFICATION OF AGARICUS CAMPESTRIS
Agaricus campestris is an edible saprophytic mushroom that looks very similar to the cultivated mushroom. We are going to know how it is classified based on its taxonomy.
- Genus and species: Agaricus campestris .
- Division: Basidiomycota
- Subdivision: Basidiomycotina
- Class: Homobasidiomycetes
- Subclass: Agaricomycetidae
- Order: Agaricales
- Family: Agaricaceae
It is also classified under this synonym:
- Agaricus silvestris.
- Agaricus campester.
- Agaricus praticola.
- Agaricus edulis psalliota campestris.
- Psalliot flocculosa.
- Pratella campestris.
- Fungus campestris.
COMMON NAMES OF AGARICUS
Depending on where we are, in addition to wild mushrooms, meadow mushrooms and field mushrooms, it is popularly known by different names:
- Barren-gorri, urdintz and larre-sulsoa in the Basque Country.
- Camperol, terrerol, xampinyó and white ambulatory in Catalonia.
- I have two licks in Galicia.
- Camp report in the Valencian Community.
MAIN CHARACTERISTICS OF AGARICUS CAMPESTRIS
Globose during its first stage, convex when it is young, and as it ages it flattens out. It reaches a diameter of between 2 and 10 centimeters. Its cuticle is thick and easy to separate, white in color although it can sometimes turn gray. Sometimes it has fringes on the edge that are remnants of the veil.
They are free from the foot, tight and of a whitish color very at the beginning that quickly change to a characteristic pink color. As they mature they darken, presenting a dark brown color, almost black, when they are old and the spores are separated.
It is proportional to the size of the hat, cylindrical in the shape of a spindle and a uniform white tone. It is firm and without scales, and it separates easily from the hat. It can be up to 7 centimeters long with a diameter of 1 or 2 centimeters. On the upper part of the foot it presents a simple, very fine ring that persists at first, but disappears with growth.
It is thick, firm and consistent, white in color although when cut it may have a faint pink color, especially in the area that joins the foot with the hat. Its flavor is smooth and sweet.
Ovoidal in shape and with smooth light brown walls. Its size is approximately 7 x 4.5 microns.
Solid and dark brown in color.
Present in the plates, they are tetrasporic and between 7 to 8 microns in diameter.
The Agaricus campestris rarely grows in wooded areas . It is a nitrophilic and saprophytic species that needs soil that is rich in nitrogen and contains decomposing organic matter , which is why it grows in abundance in grassy clearings and pastures where it usually frequents cattle that are responsible for fertilizing them with their feces.
It can also grow in gardens and on farmland where nitrogen fertilizers are used, although it is not convenient to collect them for consumption in these places, since they can absorb toxins and heavy metals that are harmful to the body.
It is a species that can be found practically all over the world and that together with other species of fungi has an important ecological value, contributing through its digestion process to the fertilization and contribution of nutrients necessary for the growth of other plants and trees.
It is a spring mushroom. Its appearance begins in the months of April and May, although a second autumnal outbreak is possible, so they can also be enjoyed from September to December.
It can grow singly or in abundant ring-shaped groups.
AGARICUS CAMPESTRIS AS AN EDIBLE MUSHROOM
Due to its firm texture and its great flavor, it is highly appreciated in the kitchen . It is excellent as a garnish for any dish simply grilled or sautéed, raw in salads or as an ingredient in any stew.
Despite being very light ( 90% of its weight is water ) and having very little caloric intake, it is full of vitamins , mainly B2 and B3 and minerals such as phosphorus, potassium and selenium that are essential in a healthy diet.
The optimal time of harvest for consumption is when the specimen is young, as it ages, the sheets turn a dark almost black color that will have to be removed if consumed, since in addition to having an unpleasant taste they can cause digestive problems .
CONFUSIONS WITH OTHER MUSHROOMS
Despite the fact that the wild mushroom is easily recognizable and totally harmless, there are several species that are very similar, some of them highly toxic and that can lead to confusion, especially to people who do not know how to recognize them well. Some of them are the following:
- Amanita verna
- Amanita virosa
- Amanita phalloides
They share habitat and are white, but differ from Agaricus campestris in the blades , which in this case are also white and not pink. Be careful because they can be deadly.
Agaricus arvensis: it is also edible, larger, smooth and with a double ring. Its flesh is yellowish in color and has an anise-like odor.
Agaricus xanthodermus: despite being of the same species, it is toxic. It is similar due to its white color, although in this case it turns yellow if the meat is damaged, especially on the foot. It has an unpleasant smell and taste and its hat is shaped like a trapezoid.
Read more: senderuela or mushroom guide
IDENTIFIED SUBVARIETIES OF A. CAMPESTRIS
Although it is the best known, these varieties or subspecies of Agaricus campestris are quite common :
- Agaricus campestris var. squamulosus, has larger, brownish scales.
- Agaricus campestris var. isabellinus, less scaly and brown in color.
- Agaricus campestris var. fuscopilosellus, is considerably smaller.
- Agaricus campestris var. equestris, is cream-colored.