Agaricus sylvaticus – the forest mushroom

When the rains come in Autumn, the karri forest comes alive with a huge variety of fungi.

One of the mose sought after ones is Agaricus sylvaticus, the forest mushroom. It grows to a diameter of approximately 150 mm and is often found in large outcrops.

I have childhood memories of walking through the forest picking these mushrooms when we would come down and stay here on school holidays. Those memories are an strong driver for my living here now.

The forest mushroom is quite a distinctive fungus and once one has seen a few, it is easy to recognise them. There is, however one caution that I would apply to picking and eating them and it is the same caution that I apply to all Agaricus species – if it smells of phenol, leave it alone. Another description of that smell is ‘like India Ink’.

I have picked and eaten these mushrooms for many years without ever finding any that smelled of phenol, but one year, when they were in great abundance, I picked a bag of them and the phenol smell was clearly evident. Perhaps it was the fact that there were so many of them, I don’t know. But I didn’t risk eating them. Mushrooms containing phenol are likely to cause distressing stomach upsets.


Sometimes this mushroom can reach enormous size.   This specimen was found when I was collecting firewood in the mixed jarrah/marri forest.


4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Clowez philippe said,

    Please contact me to the morels??? l am a french mycologist. well cordially.

  2. 2

    carolyn said,

    Morrie, is this a forest mushroom? The red staining is very intense -although it was growing at edge of a playing field it is near big gums its the second patch like this i have found in tassie near devonport

    • 3

      morrie2 said,

      Hi Carolyn,

      The mushroom in your video doesn’t resemble the ones here that are classified as A. sylvaticus by Richard Robinson in his DEC guide book.

      I have never seen anything turn quite so red at such a speed as the ones you have found. The closest red stainer is A. bitorquis, but it looks nothing like your specimen.

      A very interesting find. Did you eat these, and if so, how were they? It would be interesting to track down the chemistry responsible for the red staining reaction.

      There are so many different Agaricus species around the place that I think we can probably only divide them into groupings. I hope you are keeping spore prints.

      I would love to get some of these interesting ones into cultivation. One has to be ready to act quickly though.

      If you are interested in the Milkwood courses, I believe you might be able to negotiate the price. I hear good reports of them.



  3. 4

    A. Bernardii also stain very red, at least the ones I have found. Lisa

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