Chlorophyllum Molybdites, The Green-Spored Parasol

Chlorophyllum Molybdites

(Jean-Louis Cheype)

At the excellent Mushroom Anna’s Adventures, there is an informative article on the Green-Spored Parasol (Chlorophyllum molybdites) that Arizona mushroom fanciers will want to read.

This large, showy fruiting body is one of the most common causes of mushroom poisoning in Arizona, both of people and pets.  It grows enthusiastically in irrigated lawns, even in the lower desert areas like Phoenix and Tucson. It is also found quite frequently in other states, and mycologist Dr. Michael Beug has declared it the most common cause of mushroom poisoning in the entire U.S.A.

Inexperienced collectors frequently mistake this conspicuous mushroom for desirable edible species like the Parasol (Macrolepiota procera), Shaggy Parasol (Lepiota rhacodes/Chlorophyllum rhacodes), Meadow Mushroom (Agaricus campestris), or Shaggy Mane (Coprinus comatus.)  It is not deadly poisonous, but might make you wish you were dead if you make the same mistake.  Typically it produces hours or days of highly unpleasant gastrointestinal distress, and is severe enough in some cases to require hospital treatment.

Spore print of Chlorophyllum molybdites

(Curtis E. Young, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org)

The greenish gills and spore print are the key to identification, along with its saprotrophic ecological niche that does not require a mycorrhizal association with any tree roots. Also, the scales on its cap tend to be confined to the central apex, rather than extending out to the edge of the cap as is typical for Lepiota and Macrolepiota.

About Christopher May

Chris is a radiologist in private practice in Scottsdale. He is married to Barbara May, with two grown children, Megan and Nick.
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2 Responses to Chlorophyllum Molybdites, The Green-Spored Parasol

  1. Mike D says:

    I believe Jack States’ book says that rhacodes hasn’t been found here in AZ. I believe I have found a few, but it is possible they were some other species of Lepiota. Regardless, the rachodes I have found were usually growing solitary and were rather small.

  2. Christopher May says:

    I have not seen any Lepiota or Macrolepiota in Arizona, in my intermediate-level experience. The Bates checklist of Arizona macrofungi names eight or ten species of Lepiota that have been documented here, but none of Macrolepiota.

    I suspect anyone poisoned by C. molybdites around here would be mistaking it for an Agaricus.

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