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Parasol

Edible Edible
Autumn Autumn
Summer Summer

A great tasting, easy to identify mushroom that is large enough to spot from afar.

Mushroom Type
Common Names Parasol Mushroom
Scientific Name Macrolepiota procera
Season Start Jun
Season End Sep
Average Mushroom height (CM) 40
Average Cap width (CM) 30
Please note that each and every mushroom you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.

Cap

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.

Gills

Gills white to cream, free and quite crowded.

Stem

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.

Skirt

The thick, double skirt is not attached very well and can usually be moved up and down the stem.

Bulbous Base

Has a bulbous base a little like members of the Amanita family but it is not a volva.

Flesh

Thin soft and white in the cap, slightly spongy texture.

Habitat

Open woods and pastures, often among ferns, on verges between roads and woods or fields.

Possible Confusion

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, Lepiota 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.

Spore Print

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.

Frequency

Fairly common.

Other Facts

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.

COMMENTS

18 comments for Parasol

  1. Scott Linderman-Saylor says:

    Do the gills turn greenish-grey with some age, and during a spore print?

    1. Poppy Ives says:

      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.

  2. Mia-Amber says:

    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??

    1. Poppy Ives says:

      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.

  3. Lucy says:

    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.

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      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.

  4. Allie says:

    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!

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      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.

  5. Heather says:

    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!
    Thankyou again.

  6. Alison says:

    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 .

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      If they didn’t have brown zig-zags or snakeskin pattern on the stem they were probably not Parasols.

  7. Peter N says:

    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!

  8. Manda O’Connell says:

    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!

  9. Richard Lloyd says:

    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.
    Hmmm….
    I also found a plump giant puffball though, so I think I’ll just eat that one for now 🙂

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      It sounds like one of the Shaggy Parasols rather than a true Parasol.

  10. Ruth Kalitski says:

    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?

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      If they don’t have white/off white gills and a prominent skirt they probably are not Parasols.

  11. Fredrik says:

    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.

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