A great tasting, easy to identify mushroom that is large enough to spot from afar.
|Common Names||Parasol (EN), Ambarelo'r Bwgan (CY), Czubajka Kania (PL), Nagy Őzlábgomba (HU)|
|Scientific Name||Macrolepiota procera|
|Average Mushroom height (CM)||40|
|Average Cap width (CM)||30|
Tan. Round and bulbous when young even when the mushroom is up to 20 cm high. Opening into a large flat parasol up to 30 cm across, maturing scaly almost in rings as the skin stretches and cracks through growth.
White/off white/cream, often very slightly mottled grey to brown with a kind of snakeskin effect. Coming from a bulb a little like the amanitas, strong and up to 30 cm almost always with the skirt still on nearly 2/3 of the way up the stem. Hollow on cutting and often very fibrous.
The thick, double skirt is not attached very well and can usually be moved up and down the stem.
When young this mushroom looks very similar to some of the deadly amanitas, due to the fact it emerges from a sack-like structure and can have a similar looking cap. The confusion with other lepiotas which are smaller can be ignored if the mushroom cap is over twelve centimetres in diametre, when mature nothing that looks similar is anywhere near as big apart from the Shaggy Parasol (Chlorophyllum rhacodes), pictured. The shaggy does not grow quite as large and is slightly off-white to dusty in colour, the stem has no snakeskin effect and the flesh stains red when cut. We think it’s just as tasty but it can cause mild gastric upsets in a small number of people.
White. Ovoid, dextrinoid.
Taste / Smell
Excellent, fried, dried, sauteed, in stews, or anywhere you are likely to use a mushroom. One of our favourites. Should be cooked before consumption.
Parasols can be found alone but generally they are found in rings or sometimes troops. As stated above, nothing else really gets this big apart from Shaggy Parasols. You can often spot them from quite a distance along the edges of fields, woods and roads.
Parasols are generally whiter than their cousins the Shaggy Parasols, but the Shaggys do have a white variant, so apart from the fact Parasols get marginally bigger than shaggys, the way to tell the difference is that the stem of the shaggy parasol will blush reddish when bruised or cut and never has the snakeskin effect of the true Parasol.
The Parasol is the better of the two mushrooms to cook with as there are some who suffer slight gastic abnormalities after eating Shaggy Parasols.
Parasols have a great mushroomy flavour, but but don’t be fooled by their starting size as they shrink a lot during cooking.
Do the gills turn greenish-grey with some age, and during a spore print?
There is a Green spored Parasol, which is highly toxic and will have green tinges to the gills. It’s not a native UK fungus though.
I have found and eaten shaggy parasols with slight patches of green tint to the gills or flesh in the Midlands, UK. One would have thought that that might mean it gives a greenish tinge to the spore-print, but that wasn’t the case! After eating the specimen with the greenish tints here and there, it was just like the others that lacked this greenish tint, and they were all equally fine. But i do wonder why areas on the shaggy parasol and also on the normal parasols look slightly greenish and wonder if there is ‘elasticity’ – to some extent, between the ‘false’ (Poisonous) and ”real” parasols?? Anyone want to throw in their tuppence worth??
I’ve been collecting parasol mushrooms for a while and love them. However, yesterday I picked them from a different field to normal and theyvtasted horrible – incredibly bitter. My friend also picked some from the same field the day before and had the same issue. They were definitely parasols and all were much more than 12cm diameter. Could it be that the substrate in that field had affected their taste??
They may have been shaggy parasols which don’t taste as good. If so they also make some people quite sick. Check for the snakeskin on the stem next time you see them. The shaggy parasol has a smooth stem.
Just found my first group of parasols! Are they ok to cook and eat when they are young and the cap hasn’t flattened out? Or should I wait until the cap has flattened? Thanks.
As long as the snakeskin pattern is on the stems they should be true Parasols but I would wait until at least one of them is as large as your outstretched hand.
Hello ! I’m very new to foraging but am 99.9% sure I found parasol mushrooms today (many still closed so I’ll wait before picking) in open grassland near London, about 50+ that I could see. I took one home which was almost as wide as my outstretched hand with snakeskin stipe, moveable skirt and white spore print. I just want to be 100% certain before eating that I’ve not picked up one of the deadly ones mentioned here because, you know, I’m only 25 and would rather not die JUST yet. Could you give me the names of all the mushrooms that are similar so I can compare? Or a detailed online reference guide? Do any remotely similar mushrooms also have white spore prints and/or mottled stipes? Do I have to do a spore print of every mushroom, in case there are two different varieties growing together? I’m happy to send in some pictures if that helps. Thank you!
All the Lepiotas have white spore prints but if the caps were as big as you hand and they had the snakeskin pattern on the stipe they can’t really be anything else. Macrolepiota mastoidea has a faint snakeskin pattern but is edible, Chlorophyllum molybdites is the poisonous look-a-like but it has green spores and no pattern on the stem.
I just want to say thankyou for an amazing FREE, very detailed and very well written resource.
I just saw a mushroom while walking in East Hampshire, and was delighted to discover how easy it was to identify it as a Parasol from your site. I can see many hours of detailed research and work have gone into the information and photos provided.
I did not pick the mushroom, just photographed it, because it was so perfect and I hoped others would enjoy it too. But having arrived home and found that Parasols are edible, I’m now tempted to go back. But it just seems a shame to spoil something so beautiful!
Hi so we picked two mushrooms today we thought were parasols but I don’t think they had the brown stippling on the stem. However when we broke them in half they have stayed white flesh all way through for a good few hours. Does this mean they are not the shaggy just small versions of the normal parasol? I don’t want to get a stomach upset 🙁 My son is desperate to try them .
If they didn’t have brown zig-zags or snakeskin pattern on the stem they were probably not Parasols.
Thank you so much for all your research and free information. I regularly send your link to people in my walking group and we love to identify them, if not always eat them. I have eaten parasols in the past, found on common land, hedgerows and open fields. Rather spongy in texture, but that’s perhaps because I normally only eat shop-bought mushrooms, which are probably drier!!
Thanks again👍 Carmela
The other day, we revisited the same site near our home in Sussex where we came across a huge stand of Parasols last year, and sure enough, there they were again. Hundreds of them in a couple of fields close to a railway line. In two visits we picked enough (about 1Kg) for a couple of meals, but left most of them. Hope they’ll be back next year! The heavy rain earlier this month, after the hot dry summer, seems to have done them well. And no worms!
I would suggest, discard the stalks, slice, and fry gently for about 10-15min in oil or butter with a couple of sliced shallots, and seasoning. When nearly done you can either incorporate in an omelette, or just crack a couple of eggs over the mixture and stir up until cooked. Very tasty!
Large ones can be stuffed (after checking for worms) but bear in mind that they shrink a lot!
Thank you so much for the reassuring and definitive description of the Parasol mushroom – found singly on a meadow hillside this afternoon in Essex when walking with friends – snakeskin pattern on stipe, moveable skirt, 17cm wide scale covered cap. Now feel confident enough to cook and eat thanks to your detailed description and elimination of other similar poisonous varieties! Thank you again!
Thank you so much for your very informative videos on mushroom hunting. On my usual dog walk in our local woods in South East London I came across 3 mushrooms that looked like Parasols – I wouldn’t have recognised them without your excellent videos! They have a snake-like pattern on the stipe, moveable skirt, and are between 13-18cm across, with white gills. I also found a young one which hadn’t opened yet. I can’t tell you how excited I was! We brought one home and after double-checking all the signs, I fried a small piece to taste. At first it was delicious but then there was a slightly bitter aftertaste, which worried me slightly, is this normal? If I’m still alive tomorrow I will fry it all up!
Found a magnificent specimen today, 15cm across, and everything about it conforms to the description of a parasol, EXCEPT the long stem, which has the double movable ring, but is kind of browny and smooth, slightly shimmery, but without any snakeskin looking effect whatsoever.
I also found a plump giant puffball though, so I think I’ll just eat that one for now 🙂
It sounds like one of the Shaggy Parasols rather than a true Parasol.
It’s late in the season but here in NE Scotland I found this week some large parasols fitting your excellent description except that the gills are brown and so much darker than expected .
Also the skirt is not so noticeable in these, but they are a good 12-14 cm in diameter.
Please can you advise?
If they don’t have white/off white gills and a prominent skirt they probably are not Parasols.
Hi fellow mushroom enthusiasts!
I’m going into this hobby because I want to grow mushrooms that reach very large sizes like the shiitake mushrooms but I’d like to grow more large sized ones even if they’re not edible.
Would appreciate if anyone could share where I could acquire mychelium for large species of mushrooms? Names of species would also be greatly appreciated.
Your videos are excellent! Thanks so much! 🙂
Theyre brown and shaggy, big. The stems have the moveable ring but are smooth with sort of vertical stripes. Since I picked them, the gills have started to get pink tinged, also the stem, reddish pink. Are they the edible kind? Thanks
They sound like Shaggy Parasols which we don’t recommend eating as they can cause severe gastric upsets in some people. True Parasols have horizontal markings on the stem, not vertical and the true Parasol does not bruise pink/orange.