Check That Spore Print

by Kim Speight
(Peru, Indiana)

Recently I have become interested in learning how to raise mushrooms. I have read the wonderful books by Paul Stamets on the subject and thought I would check around our area to see if there are any wild versions of some edible mushrooms. I checked a mushroom field guide out of the local library and have been putzing around in my curiosity. A friend of ours had a patch of enormous mushrooms pop up in his yard.

The next day, we arrived at my friend's yard and took pictures of about 8 of the largest gill mushrooms I had ever seen. 10-20 cm diameter caps, brownish scales on a white background, and a 1.5-2 cm stem with a swollen base. I picked them and took them home, placing some caps on white paper and some on orange paper to get spore prints. The gills looked mostly white and the skin bruised brownish, though there was a greenish smear on the top of one of the mushroom caps. It sure looked like a Macrolepiota rhacodes at this point. Unable to resist, I fried up a portion of one of the mushroom caps and ate it tentatively. It tasted ok, maybe a slightly bitter aftertaste.

Several hours later, I am not ill, but I have discovered that the spore print is green! Hmmm, perplexing, because there was no mention of that color spore print under M. rhacodes or M. procera. I studied the book further. Oh, my gosh, there is a mushroom that looks like M. rhacodes and/or procera with green spores that is reputed poisonous! Chlorophyllum molybdites. Yikes. The next few days (or weeks) should tell whether I've done myself in in my stupidity.

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Green spored parasol look alike!
by: Danielle

I just had a similar encounter with a mushroom that I was 90% sure was Macrolepiota rhacodes. But just in case, I decided to do a spore print and not cook that sucker up just yet. All the while bragging to my husband that we were going to eat good tomorrow because I'd found a choice mushroom growing in our fields on the farm. Then I noticed that the flesh did not bruise and turn pink. But otherwise, it was identical, really identical, to me anyway, to the shaggy parasol. That evening, the samples I'd cut started to take a dark grey look to their formerly white/cream gills. That was weird. The next morning, we went over to the mushroom cap we'd put on printer paper under a glass bowl. The print was GREEN. Really green. So then, of course, we Googled green spored mushroom! And found Kim's story. We might be sticking to meadow mushroom and oysters for a long time! Enough adventure for me. :)

I've just harvested a couple of these
by: Anonymous

I was trying hard to find a picture of this one. Lots of lookalikes, but no info on a green spored species. It's a green spore print indeed...

Thanks for this info. Hope you are ok

Chlorophyllum molybdites
by: Amy

Oh no, Kim! Yikes indeed. I'm very sorry to hear this, but you've given us the opportunity to talk about Chlorophyllum molybdites, the false parasol.

Chlorophyllum molybdites is a poisonous mushroom commonly mistaken for other species. In fact, according to Wikipedia it's responsible for the most mushroom poisonings in North America. Its most identifying feature is a green spore print. As Kim has unfortunately found out, the spore print may take a while to even appear as green.

People poison themselves with this mushroom by making exactly the same mistakes as made here. Mistaking it for something edible, practicing beginning identification from a book and not a hands-on guide, and eating something not identified at least three times before. These are common mistakes that can have very serious consequences.

The poisons in this mushroom are gastrointestinal, and illness will usually set in a few hours after ingestion. The good news is that it probably won't kill you, but it will cause extreme nausea and diarrhea.

Kim, a few days have gone by since you wrote this and I do hope that you didn't become too sick. If you ever stop by this site again drop us a line and let us know you're ok! Poisoning yourself with Chlorophyllum molybdites is a hard-learned lesson.

Take care and be safe!

Amy

(The picture was taken from the public domain on Wikipedia).

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