Agaricus bitorquis

Caps are often discoloured by dirt.
Caps are often discoloured by dirt.

Phylum: Basidiomycota. Class: Agaricomycetes. Order: Agaricales. Family: Agaricaceae

Agaricus bitorquis is one of the edible Agaricus mushrooms that we find around Gawler. They can be found in grassy areas, especially where the soil is dry and slightly compacted. They especially love the dirt alongside footpaths and more often than not, they’re the mushroom that you will see pushing up through footpaths and pavements in Winter. This is how their common name ‘Pavement Mushroom’ came about.

The caps of Pavement mushrooms are often discoloured by dirt ands the mushroom sometimes looks a little dried out from above. Sometimes, a Pavement Mushroom will mature below the surface of the soil and just poke some of the cap up through.

Characteristics of a Pavement Mushroom (Agaricus bitorquis)

  • Cap is thick, flattening with age
  • Flesh is white but may turn pink when exposed
  • Gills are free, crowded and start pink, then become reddish brown.
  • Spore print is dark brown
  • Stem is thick and solid.
  • The double ring around the stem is this mushroom’s distinguishing feature.
  • The ring is fragile and easy to damage.
The double ring is the distinguishing feature of Agaricus bitorquis
The double ring is the distinguishing feature of Agaricus bitorquis
Gills are free of the stem and turn reddish brown with maturity
Gills are free of the stem and turn reddish brown with maturity.

Agaricus bitorquis is not the most delicious of the Agaricus fungi but it’ll do in a pinch. The caps and stems are often full of critters, especially maggots, so give it a thorough going over before cooking. Those few that I’ve found this year have gone straight to the chickens!

There are several similar wild mushrooms around Gawler. You can find out about them on our Agaricus species page.