Agrocybe spp.

Scientific names:  Agrocybe acericola (Peck) Singer;
A. praecox (Pers.) Fayod; Agrocybe sororia (Peck)
Derivation of namesAcer- refers to "maple," a
common substrate for this fungus, praecox - means
"early" in reference to its appearence in spring.  
Common names: Maple Agrocybe; spring or early
Phylum:   Basidiomycota
Order:   Agaricales
Family:  Strophariaceae
Occurrence on wood substrate:  Saprobic; solitary to
scattered or growing in groups on decaying deciduous
logs and stumps and on wood chips in urban areas;
April through September.
Dimensions:  Caps are 3-15 cm wide; stalks are 5-10
cm long and 0.5-1.5 cm thick.   
Cap:  Cap whitish, ochre-yellow, tan or brown;
smooth but may be cracked or fissured with age.       
Gills: Attached; off-white when young, becoming
brownish at maturity.
Spore print: Brown (cinnamon to rust-brown to dark
Whitish at first, becoming brownish with age
particularly at the base; cordlike white rhizomorphs
often present at base of stipe.
Veil: Present or absent dependent on species:
A. acericola with white membranous ring at first, staining
cinnamon by the spores, persistent as large, pendant ring;
A. praecox cluster with fragile thin membranous ring
persistent or not on stalk or leaving remnants on cap margin.
Not recommended.
The taxonomy of the genus is unsettled.
A cluster of closely related species exists (Agrocybe
cluster) which may include A. acericola.
See the web sites below for additional information.

More information at   
More information at

Figure 1. Agrocybe acericola. Note the close gills and
persistent ring stained the color of the spores.
Photo © John Plischke III.

Figure 2. Maple agrocybe with large, persistent,
pendant superior ring. Photo © Steve Nelsen.

Figure 3. A specimen collected at a foray. The partial veil is
collapsed about the stem and is the color of the spores
deposited on it. Photo © Gary Emberger.

Figure 4. This specimen, growing in wood chips, was
identified as belonging to the Agocybe praecox species
complex. Photo © Dorothy Smullen.

Figure 5. Specimen in the Agocybe praecox species cluster
growing on wood chip mulch. Note the presence of the ring on
only one of the stipes and the white rhizomorphs at the base
of the stipes. Photo © Gary Emberger.

Figure 6. In members of the Agocybe praecox species cluster,
the veil may persist only as remnants on the cap margin.
Photo © Gary Emberger.

Figure 7. The presence of a cracked or fissured cap is quite
common in certain Agrocybe species including members of the
Agocybe praecox species complex. Despite the fissuring, the
fruit bodies are unusually long-lasting.
Photo © Gary Emberger.

Figure 8. Agrocybe dura, another member of the
Agrocybe praecox complex. A. dura is described as a
strict saprotroph of grass litter. For photographic clarity,
these specimens were removed from their grass habitat.
Photo © John Plischke III.

Figure 9. I believe this mushroom is Agrocybe sororia. It
grows on hardwood wood chip mulch mulch in spring. Unlike
members of the A. praecox species cluster, this mushroom
does not form a ring. This species is featured in Figures 9-15.
Photo © Gary Emberger.

Figure 10. The strongly zonate cap of this species is due to its
hygrophanous nature. Hygrophanous refers to the change in
color that occurs as the cap tissue gains or loses moisture.
Agrocybe is a genus that includes many hygrophanous
species. Photo © Gary Emberger.

Figure 11. White rizomorphs are present at the base of the
stipe in many Agrocybe species. Photo © Gary Emberger.

Figure 12. Young specimens of this Agrocybe species
(possibly A. sororia - see Figure 9) show no evidence of a
partial veil covering the gills. The immature gills are whitish.
Photo © Gary Emberger.

Figure 13. Agrocybe species have attached gills.
Photo © Gary Emberger.

Figure 14. The flesh of Agrocybe species is whitish.
Photo © Gary Emberger.

Figure 15. Two interesting features evident on the cap of this
Agrocybe species (possibly A. sororia - see Figure 9): The
hygrophanous nature of the cap (see Figure 10) is evident in
the color differences in the central and marginal areas of the
cap. Secondly, a dark brown spore print was deposited on
the right side of the large mushroom cap. The overtopping
cap was removed in order to take the picture.
Photo © Gary Emberger.


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