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Horse Mushroom

Edible Edible
Autumn Autumn
Spring Spring
Summer Summer

A great mushroom with a rich, strong taste and as it can grow so large and in rings, usually provides quite a feast.

Mushroom Type
Common Names Horse Mushroom, Abrahams
Scientific Name Agaricus arvensis
Season Start May
Season End Oct
Average Mushroom height (CM) 10
Average Cap width (CM) 25
Please note that each and every mushroom you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.

Cap

White, sometimes discoloured grey/brown, can be scaly or smooth. Starting spherical and opening out flat. Can bruise slightly yellow.

Gills

When very young the gills are almost white but quickly turn from pink/grey to brown in more mature specimens. Crowded. On unopened caps the ring, while still joined to the cap looks like a ‘cog wheel’.

Stem

Stout with a large double ring.

Skirt

Can start fairly large but usually becomes damaged or shrinks to a ring.

Flesh

White, firm and bruising slightly yellow. The flesh has an aniseed smell.

Habitat

Pasture, meadows, lawns, road verges and parks, often growing in rings.

Possible Confusion

The Yellow Stainer, Agaricus xanthodermus but this mushroom stains chrome yellow when bruised or cut and smells of Indian ink, hospitals or iodine not edible. Can look similar to some of the Amanitas when young and light gilled.

Spore Print

Dark purple/brown. Ellipsoid. You should scrape your spores into a small pile to get an accurate spore colour.

Taste / Smell

Excellent, this is one of our  favourites. The smell of aniseed is a good way to identify this mushroom. Should be cooked before consumption.

Frequency

Common.

COMMENTS

10 comments for Horse Mushroom

  1. Catherine Davies says:

    Just found the Horse Mushroom it in my very isolated garden in the Isle of Harris, delicious! No idea how it suddenly appeared there.

  2. Clare says:

    I remember field mushrooms and would like to grow them in a wild area I have. Please help. Thank you so much. Roger

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      It is very difficult but not impossible to propagate mushrooms. I usually put mushrooms I’m not going to eat that are left over or in poor condition gills down in an environment they like. I’ve been successful about 1 in 500 times with that method! Eric.

  3. stephen Jones says:

    How do I propagate horse mushrooms.

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      Hi Stephen, it is very difficult but not impossible to propagate mushrooms. I usually put mushrooms I’m not going to eat that are left over or in poor condition gills down in an environment they like. I’ve been successful about 1 in 500 times with that method! Eric.

  4. Margret Barnes says:

    Thanks for a very helpful demo helping me identify the mushrooms growing on the edge of the woods near my home in Somerset, August 2019. Pretty sure they are young unopened horsemushrooms

  5. Grace Ann Jones says:

    Got excited when we thought we had a big crop of horse mushrooms growing in a border in our garden, on closer inspection we now think they are yellow Staines, as when brushed they go yellow and have an unpleasant smell. Very disappointed as this is the second large crop. Having picked and eaten horse mushrooms as a child in our local fields, thought I was on to a winner, sadly disappointed.

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      Hi Grace, don’t be disheartened, Horse Mushrooms are common I’m sure you’ll find some next season.

  6. timothy clegg says:

    Hello, I recently came across a good crop of what I took to be either horse or large field mushrooms growing in the open in a field often used for sheep. There were some shaggy parasols nearby, a bit decayed. I picked some of the ‘field/horse’ mushrooms. They did not seem to stain yellow but toward the tip of the cap turned slightly yellow/gold on the skin. I continued to walk and soon came across a large number of yellow stainers growing in clumps and circles underneath trees; these stained yellow immediately on bruising. I am now uncertain whether the field/horse mushrooms I picked may also be yellow stainers which for some reason do not stain yellow, possibly because of their open ground habitat. DO YELLOW STAINERS ALWAYS STAIN YELLOW? CAN FIELD/HORSE MUSHROOMS GROW IN CLOSE PROXIMITY TO YELLOW STAINERS? WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS IF YOU MISTAKENLY EAT YELLOW STAINERS ?
    Thanks, response much appreciated.

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      Yellow Stainers do not always stain yellow but will retain a ink or phenol like smell which is enhanced by cooking. They cause alarming symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps and sweats but do not affect everybody and a full recovery is usually achieved in a couple of days. Horse Mushrooms can bruise slightly yellow and will grow in the same area as Yellow Stainers, smell is the key identification between these two mushrooms with the Horse Mushroom smelling of aniseed.

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