What is this mushroom?
August 14, 2007 10:38 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone help identify this mushroom that has emerged in our garden? We are in San Francisco and since these shots were taken, this critter has grown to approximately 13" across. Neither of us has seen anything this big here before... And critically, might it be edible? Mycophiles, your thoughts?
posted by Mmothra to Science & Nature (8 answers total)
Response by poster: Nuts...no photos. Here are links to two snaps. Apologies for the clumsiness.


posted by Mmothra at 10:40 PM on August 14, 2007

This guide might help.

I'd say you need to show a pic of the underside, too.
posted by dontoine at 10:50 PM on August 14, 2007

Without being able to see the underside of the hood, it's tough to say what it might be.

But it's possible it's a deathcap, one of the most poisonous mushrooms around.

"This mushroom is rare in most parts of North America but locally common in such areas as the San Francisco Bay area, where it is typically found from mid-autumn through late winter."
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 10:57 PM on August 14, 2007

Making a spore print would help you narrow down what mushroom it could be.
posted by rancidchickn at 11:09 PM on August 14, 2007

It looks like The Prince, Agaricus augustus, in its mature form. They can grow to be quite large. Does it have a lovely almond smell?

More info here.

Yes, more pictures of your mushroom and also a spore print are essential.
posted by shinybeast at 11:22 PM on August 14, 2007

I forgot to add... When you dig up your sample, do exactly that! Dig up the entire stem and brush the dirt away from it. You will need to confirm the presence or absence of a volva or "cup" at the base of the stem. If there's a cup at the base, you might have an Amanita, although other mushrooms can have cups.

More info on Amanitas here.

For what it's worth, your mushroom is too large to be a Death Cap.

I've eaten Agaricus augustus. It's one of the best. Get your mushroom identified properly and, if it is The Prince, pray for more next year! And, while we're on the subject, do a Google image search for Agaricus augustus. It's very photogenic. ;}
posted by shinybeast at 11:47 PM on August 14, 2007

I suppose you know this, but it bears repeating:

when it comes to mushrooms, if you are in any doubt at all as to what it is, do not eat it.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 1:49 AM on August 15, 2007

See if you can contact anyone from the mycological society to take a look.
posted by mikepop at 6:45 AM on August 15, 2007

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