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Poplar Mushroom

Edible Edible
Autumn Autumn
Spring Spring

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.

Mushroom Type
Common Names Poplar Fieldcap, Poplar Mushroom, Pioppino, Velvet Pioppini, Piopparello
Scientific Name Cyclocybe cylindracea
Synonyms Agrocybe cylindracea, Agrocybe aegerita, Cyclocybe aegerita
Season Start Jan
Season End Dec
Average Mushroom height (CM) 6
Average Cap width (CM) 7
Please note that each and every mushroom you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.

Cap

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.

Gills

The gills are crowded and join the stem slightly running down along it.
They start pale beige and turn brown with age.

Stem

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.

Skirt

A pendent persistent skirt in the upper part of the stem.

Flesh

The flesh is white to cream coloured and doesn’t change.
Firm in the cap, tough and fibrous in the stem.

Habitat

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.

Possible Confusion

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.

Spore Print

Brown

Taste / Smell

Nutty, strong, very pleasant. Very tasty once cooked.

Frequency

A common appearance where Black Poplars are found, occasional with Willow trees.
Often producing several flushes at different times of the year.

Other Facts

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.

COMMENTS

2 comments for Poplar Mushroom

  1. J. T. Timmins. says:

    Hi last year i had a tree tech drop me a load of chippings covered all my garden now i have mushrooms popping up and different batches of fungi, this particular bunch appears to be poplar field cap ,but i am confused by the description ie sizes it says 15 cm
    height cap 15 cm that seems very large for that, its bigger than the giant ones sold in super markets.

    1. Fabio Godinho says:

      Hi,
      Oops, it seems like the dimensions were the maximum instead of average but it has now been corrected! It’s a mushroom that varies a lot in size, and although usually smaller I have seen a few that were 15cm wide or even larger. They grow as large after a strong spell of rain followed by some warmer temperatures. As for the mushrooms in your garden, as they are growing in wood chippings it’s more likely that they are one of the similar looking Fieldcaps such as the Spring Fieldcap (Agrocybe praecox) or the Wrinkled Fieldcap (Agrocybe rivulosa). These are usually slightly smaller than the Poplar Mushroom and a little bit paler or yellower.

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