Not very well known in the UK but it’s an excellent edible, often found in large quantities. It’s highly appreciated in other parts of the World.
|Common Names||Poplar Fieldcap, Poplar Mushroom, Pioppino, Velvet Pioppini, Piopparello|
|Scientific Name||Cyclocybe cylindracea|
|Synonyms||Agrocybe cylindracea, Agrocybe aegerita, Cyclocybe aegerita|
|Average Mushroom height (CM)||6|
|Average Cap width (CM)||7|
The cap starts round and smooth, becoming flat and wrinkled as it expands, sometimes cracking in sunny weather.
The young small buttons have a chestnut brown cap that can be as small as 1cm. As they grow the cap becomes light brown to pale cream, slightly darker in the center. The size usually varies from 4cm to 10cm but may reach 15cm.
The gills are crowded and join the stem slightly running down along it.
They start pale beige and turn brown with age.
Long tough stem, often bended when growing in large clusters.
With a persistent skirt in the upper part.
It is creamy white or slightly darker in older specimens, especially at the base.
Quite often a few specimens will be fused together at the base.
The flesh is white to cream coloured and doesn’t change.
Firm in the cap, tough and fibrous in the stem.
This fungus decomposes dead wood of trees with a preference for Poplar and Willow.
Its favourite host is the Black Poplar, Britain’s most endangered native tree, now hardly found in the wild. Ornamental cultivars of Black Poplar are often planted in gardens and parks. It can appear occasionally with other broadleaf trees.
It grows in large groups from the exposed roots of trees, stumps, cracks on trees, and on fallen decaying wood. Sometimes it may appear on the soil when growing from buried dead roots underneath.
It can be confused with other Fieldcaps in the genus Agrocybe like the Spring Fieldcap (Agrocybe praecox). They all grow on soil or from woodchip and wood debris, and are generally paler and smaller at maturity.
The Wrinkled Fieldcap (Agrocybe rivulosa) seen on the left is the closest. Smells similar and also has a wrinkled cap, but it grows on woodchip, it’s smaller and has a thinner ring.
Sometimes the Poplar Mushroom has a small bended stem and looks similar to an Oyster Mushroom. The spore colour is different and the gills in Oyster mushrooms turn creamy yellow, not brown.
Taste / Smell
Nutty, strong, very pleasant. Very tasty once cooked.
A common appearance where Black Poplars are found, occasional with Willow trees.
Often producing several flushes at different times of the year.
Although largely ignored by most foragers in the UK this is a very tasty mushroom.
It’s highly prized in other European countries such as Italy, Spain, Portugal and France.
It is also cultivated in Asia and very popular in Chinese cooking and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Pliny The Elder mentions it was cultivated in ancient Rome, being one of the first mushrooms to be cultivated.