One of the large parasol-lookalikes, a controversial member of the ‘shaggy parasols’. Its edibility ranking is not conclusive, so it is worth knowing its ID features to avoid any troubles.
|Common Names||Brown Parasol, Czubajnik Ogrodowy (PL), Kerti Őzlábgomba (HU)|
|Scientific Name||Chlorophyllum brunneum|
|Synonyms||Macrolepiota rhacodes var. hortensis, Macrolepiota bohemica, Lepiota rhacodes var. hortensis, Lepiota brunnea|
|Average Mushroom height (CM)||5–20|
|Average Cap width (CM)||10–18|
10–18 cm across. Hemispherical, then convex to flattened with a broad, pronounced umbo or a central depression. The skin is dark ochre-brown at first, then cracks up and becomes scaly, making the pale, almost white, fluffy flesh visible. The central umbo remains complete. Margin is often floccose.
Crowded, free. White at first, spotted reddish brown with age. Edge is darker, somewhat brownish and slightly eroded.
5–20 cm tall, 1–2.5 cm wide. White to cream, smooth, browning with age. Cylindrical, more or less straight with a large, marginate bulb at the base, which could be up to 5 cm wide.
Has a single layered skirt, which is brown on the underside. You can move it up and down on the stem.
Has a large marginate, almost volva like bulbous base. This is a good ID for helping to separate the Brown Parasol from the Shaggy Parasol.
Fruiting solitarily or in smaller groups. Grows on disturbed, nitrogen-rich soil, such as compost heaps, gardens, parklands; or on woodchip/mulch amongst shrubs and various trees. Rarely, but it can be found in mixed forests too. Saprotrophic.
It can be confused with other members of the genus Chlorophyllum, especially the shaggy parasol (Chlorophyllum rhacodes), pictured. The large, marginate, bulbous base of the Brown Parasol can help separate the two.
Taste / Smell
Smells earthy, tastes mealy. However, hence its edibility is in question, we don’t recommend eating it.
Common and widespread.
Spore print is white. Spores are broadly ellipsoid, colourless (hyaline), thick-walled, smooth and dextrinoid (turning reddish-brown in Melzer’s reagent), and they have a small germ-pore.
We have four different Chlorophyllum species in the UK. The more or less edible shaggy parasol (Chlorophyllum rhacodes) and conifer parasol (Chlorophyllum olivieri), also the brown parasol (Chlorophyllum brunneum) with questionable edibility and the toxic false parasol (Chlorophyllum molybdites), the latter is probably more well-known by its US name: the vomiter.
The debate about the edibility of brown parasol is still unsettled. Some authors, e.g. Andy Overall list it as ‘Not Edible’, while the species is listed ‘Toxic’ (based on actual mushroom poisoning cases) in some European countries, so we list it as toxic (as we always follow the ‘better safe than sorry’ philosophy.)