Agaricus campestris

Agaricus campestris is a widely eaten gilled mushroom closely related to the cultivated button mushroom Agaricus bisporus. It is commonly known as the field mushroom or, in North America, meadow mushroom.

Agaricus campestris
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Agaricales
Family: Agaricaceae
Genus: Agaricus
A. campestris
Binomial name
Agaricus campestris
L. (1753)
Agaricus campestris
gills on hymenium
cap is convex or flat
hymenium is free
stipe has a ring
spore print is brown
ecology is saprotrophic
edibility: choice


This species was originally noted and named in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus as Agaricus campestris.[1] It was placed in the genus Psalliota by Lucien Quelet in 1872. Some variants have been isolated over the years, a few of which now have species status, for example, Agaricus bernardii Quel. (1878), Agaricus bisporus (J.E. Lange) Imbach (1946), Agaricus bitorquis (Quel.) Sacc. (1887), Agaricus cappellianus Hlavacek (1987), and Agaricus silvicola (Vittad.) Peck (1872). Some were so similar they did not warrant even varietal status, while others have retained it. Agaricus campestris var. equestris (F.H.Moller) Pilat (1951) is still valid. A. campestris var. isabellinus (F.H.Moller) Pilat (1951), and A. campestris var. radicatus, are possibly still valid too.

The Latin specific epithet campestris means "of the fields". Common names given to the fungus include "meadow mushroom", "pink bottom",[2] and "field mushroom".

An analysis of ribosomal DNA of a limited number of members of the genus showed A. campestris to be an early offshoot in the genus and sister taxon to A. cupreobrunneus.[3]


The cap is white, may have fine scales, and is 3 to 12 centimetres (1+18 to 4+34 in) in diameter;[4] it is first hemispherical in shape before flattening out with maturity. The gills are initially pink, then red-brown and finally a dark brown, as is the spore print. The stipe is 3 to 10 cm (1+18 to 3+78 in) tall, 1–2 cm wide,[4] predominantly white and bears a single thin ring.[5] The taste is mild. The white flesh bruises a dingy reddish brown, as opposed to yellow in the poisonous Agaricus xanthodermus and similar species. The thick-walled, dark brown, elliptical spores[4] measure 5.5–8 μm by 4–5 μm. Cheilocystidia are absent.[6]

Similar species

Several species may be confused with Agaricus campestris. The most dangerous confusion may be with Amanita virosa,[7] which is morbidly toxic, or with the deadly Amanita hygroscopica or 'Pink-Gilled Destroying Angel'.[8] A less serious, but more common, confusion is with Agaricus xanthodermus[7] ("the yellow stainer"), which causes gastrointestinal problems in many people. In the US, it may be confused with the poisonous Agaricus californicus[4] or Agaricus hondensis. Agaricus arvensis, the horse mushroom, is another similar mushroom, and an excellent edible. White Clitocybe species that also grow on lawns, and in grassy places may be dangerous to eat.

Distribution and habitat

Agaricus campestris is found in fields and grassy areas after rain from late summer onwards worldwide. It is often found on lawns in suburban areas, appearing in small groups, in fairy rings,[9] or solitary. Owing to the demise of horse-drawn vehicles, and the subsequent decrease in the number of horses on pasture, the old "white outs" of years gone by are becoming rare events.[10] This species is rarely found in woodland.

The mushroom has been reported from Asia, Europe, northern Africa, Australia,[11] New Zealand, and North America.[12][13]


Although edible and choice,[4][14] this mushroom is not commercially cultivated on account of its fast maturing and short shelf-life.[15] Culinary uses of the meadow mushroom include eating it sauteed or fried, in sauces, or even sliced raw and included in salads. In flavor and texture, this mushroom is similar to the white button mushroom available in grocery stores in most Western countries.[7] Among the similar species mentioned above, there have been cases (in fact the most common cause of fatal fungus poisoning in France) where the deadly toxic destroying angel (Amanita virosa) has been consumed by individuals who mistook it for this species. The edibility of specimens collected from lawns is uncertain because of possible contamination with pesticides or other chemicals.

It is nearly identical (except microscopically) to the edible species Agaricus andrewii and A. solidipes.[16][17]

Other uses

Research into fungal dressings for the treatment of ulcers, and bed sores, using fungal mycelial filaments, is ongoing. In the past, slices of A. campestris were applied to scalds and burns in parts of Scotland.[18]

Bioactive properties

Water extracts of A. campestris have been shown to enhance the secretion of insulin, and to have insulin-like effects on glucose metabolism in vitro, although the mechanism is not understood.[19]

See also


  1. Linnaeus C. (1753). Species Plantarum (in Latin). Vol. 2. Stockholm: Lars Salvius. p. 1173.
  2. Roody WC (2003). Mushrooms of West Virginia and the Central Appalachians. Lexington, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky. p. 48. ISBN 978-0-8131-9039-6.
  3. Geml J, Geiser DM, Royse DJ (2004). "Molecular evolution of Agaricus species based on ITS and LSU rDNA sequences". Mycological Progress. 3 (2): 157–76. doi:10.1007/s11557-006-0086-8. S2CID 40265528.
  4. Davis, R. Michael; Sommer, Robert; Menge, John A. (2012). Field Guide to Mushrooms of Western North America. Berkeley: University of California Press. pp. 224–225. ISBN 978-0-520-95360-4. OCLC 797915861.
  5. Nilsson S, Persson O (1977). Fungi of Northern Europe 2: Gill-Fungi. Penguin, New York. ISBN 978-0-14-063006-0.
  6. Miller HR, Miller OK Jr (2006). North American Mushrooms: A Field Guide to Edible and Inedible Fungi. Guilford, Connecticut: Falcon Guides. p. 283. ISBN 978-0-7627-3109-1.
  7. Meuninck, Jim (2017). Foraging Mushrooms Oregon: Finding, Identifying, and Preparing Edible Wild Mushrooms. Falcon Guides. p. 107. ISBN 978-1-4930-2669-2.
  8. "Amanita hygroscopica - - Taxonomy and Morphology of Amanita and Limacella".
  9. Fox RTV (2006). "Fungal foes in your garden: fairy ring mushrooms". Mycologist. 20 (1): 36–37. doi:10.1016/j.mycol.2005.11.013.
  10. Mabey R. (1972). Food For Free, A Guide to the Edible Wild Plants of Britain. Fontana/Collins.
  11. J. H. Maiden (1889). The useful native plants of Australia : Including Tasmania. Turner and Henderson, Sydney.
  12. Roberts P, Evans S (2011). The Book of Fungi. Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-226-72117-0.
  13. Alonso-Aguilar LE, Montoya A, Kong A, Estrada-Torres A, Garibay-Orijel R (2014). "The cultural significance of wild mushrooms in San Mateo Huexoyucan, Tlaxcala, Mexico". Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine. 10: 27. doi:10.1186/1746-4269-10-27. PMC 3996006. PMID 24597704.
  14. Miller Jr., Orson K.; Miller, Hope H. (2006). North American Mushrooms: A Field Guide to Edible and Inedible Fungi. Guilford, CN: FalconGuide. p. 283. ISBN 978-0-7627-3109-1.
  15. Grigson J. (1975). The Mushroom Feast. London, UK: Penguin. ISBN 978-0-14-046273-9.
  16. Phillips, Roger (2010). Mushrooms and Other Fungi of North America. Buffalo, NY: Firefly Books. p. 219. ISBN 978-1-55407-651-2.
  17. Murrill, William (1922). "Dark-Spored Agarics". Mycologia. New York Botanical Garden. 14: 203.
  18. Harding P. (2008). Mushroom Miscellany. Collins. ISBN 978-0-00-728464-1.
  19. Gray AM, Flatt PR (1998). "Insulin-releasing and insulin-like activity of Agaricus campestris (mushroom)". The Journal of Endocrinology. 157 (2): 259–66. CiteSeerX doi:10.1677/joe.0.1570259. PMID 9659289.
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