Reddening Lepiota (Leucoagaricus americanus)
Leucoagaricus americanus, also called Reddening Lepiota, is an edible mushroom native to North America, as the Latin name depicts.
It is a somewhat well-known species that pops up on waste woods in urban areas and often in gardens.
A few of the synonymous names include Lepiota americana, Lepiota bresadolae, and Agaricus americanus.
This guide will cover identifying Leucoagaricus americanus, some of its common lookalikes, and why it is not recommended for consumption.
Other Awesome Mushroom Guides:
- Jack O'Lantern Mushroom (Omphalotus olearius & illudens)
- White-Pored Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus cincinnatus)
How to Identify Leucoagaricus Americanus
The Leucoagaricus americanus mushroom has some beautiful features that can help with its identification.
Around 3-15 cm (about 1-6 inches)
Cap starts out smooth and white-tan in color, but develops scales that darken red.
The color between the scales will remain white with hints of reddish-brown.
It also begins development in an oval shape but will develop to be flat or convex.
The margins edges can curl with age but have a central hump is visible that darkens like the scales.
The thick flesh within is white but will darken yellow then to a reddish-brown when damaged.
Free gills, meaning detached from the stem, white in color that darkens with age.
The edges near the margin will darken to a reddish-brown.
It has a partial hymenium or veil that can detach completely, leaving a visible darkened ring.
The stipes will be roughly 5-13cm (2-5 inches) long.
The stem is often swollen, especially near the base.
White spore print.
Location and Fruiting
This is a saprobic mushroom, meaning it feeds on organic material that is dead or decaying.
It often grows singly or in small scattered clusters.
This species can grow on dead stumps or the ground, usually on scattered debris containing wood.
The mushrooms can fruit in the same location multiple times, and the typical season is summer to fall.
It mushroom can be found across North America but is primarily found more in eastern areas.
While it is native to North America, it can be found overseas in other countries and is often known by other names.
Leucoagaricus Americanus Lookalikes
This mushroom can resemble several other species, of which some are edible and some poisonous.
Macrolepiota procera is a choice edible lookalike but differs in a few ways:
- Scales and darkened coloring is tan to brown
- The stem will be scattered with white and brown colors and is not enlarged
- The ring, or hymenium, is often more visible through maturation
Chlorophyllum molybdites is likely the closest resembling poisonous lookalike species.
This mushroom is known as the green-spored Lepiota or false parasol and is extremely poisonous.
It is common in North America but can be distinguished by its green spores.
This false Parsol also does not darken red when damaged.
Leucoagaricus americanus also has similar characteristics to mushrooms of the Amanita genus.
Some of these include the scales, the bulging stem, and the partial veil or ring.
While there are edible species of Amanita, some of the most dangerous mushrooms are from that genus.
However, most of the extremely dangerous ones do not originate in North America.
Is Leucoagaricus Americanus Edible?
You will find mixed information when researching the edibility of this species of mushroom.
Leucoagaricus americanus are edible but generally not recommended for consumption. It can cause gastrointestinal distress and vomiting, especially if eaten raw. One main reason for not encouraging its consumption is that it resembles toxic mushrooms from the Amanita genus.
Remember to never consume a wild mushroom without first consulting an expert for identification and toxicity verification.
Is Leucoagaricus Americanus Poisonous?
Some people believe Leucoagaricus americanus is poisonous, but that is not true.
It is not considered poisonous, but it will likely make you sick if not cleaned and cooked first. While people enjoy eating raw mushrooms, the reality is mushrooms can not be digested without first being cooked. Cooking mushrooms also helps kill bacteria that may be found on them.
What does Leucoagaricus Americanus taste like?
Another reason to not really bother eating this mushroom is that it doesn't really taste that good.
The flavor of Leucoagaricus americanus is rather sour and slightly bitter. Also, the cap flesh is thin and makes it not really worth the effort of harvesting and eating. With heavy seasoning, it can be eaten just fine but make sure you identify it correctly.
Leucoagaricus americanus is beautiful species that can be fun to find but dangerous if misidentified.
The main descriptive features are the widened stem, reddish-brown color, the partial shedding veil, and its unique bruising colors.
Again it is my opinion that these aren't worth harvesting because they don't taste that great.
That being said, people do harvest and eat them.