Lepiota procera


We discovered these huge shaggy parasol specimens while hiking with friends in the Appenines in Northern Italy near Carrara. Alas, we were travelling without access to a kitchen so we could not cook them. These mushrooms smelled delicious, and we gave them to our friends in Italy who accepted them happily. Lepiota procera is closely related to L. rachodes, which frequents California, but L. procera does not grow on the West Coast to the best of my knowledge. Unlike L. rachodes, L. procera does not stain orange when cut, but the flesh of older samples can become slightly orange-brown with age. The gills and flesh are clear white in young specimens, except the cap which has scales of fibrous material interspersed with brown patches, and a darker brown umbo in the center. The shaggy parasol also grows on the East Coast of the U.S. and many other places, but be careful not to confuse it with smaller Lepiota, some of which can be deadly poisonous, or with Chlorophyllum molybdites, the mildly poisonous green-spored Lepiota look-alike.