High elevation spruce forest generally at elevations of 10,000ft or above. They love growing up through the spruce needle duff and bark that is on the ground.
They are a fairly large robust Agaricus with a light brown scaled cap. This mushroom will stain an orange / red color shortly after cut, nicked or scratched. This helps to differentiate it from Agaricus julius which is a yellow staining brown capped Agaricus as well. A. julius has a lighter color, slightly different cap pattern and more of an anise like smell. Mushroom hunters in Colorado have commonly eaten this mushroom for many years. It is also said to be related to or the same as Agaricus silvaticus which also stains red however the A. silvaticus group is much smaller. I believe there are similar variations or relatives of this mushroom which could different species in Colorado. There are other red staining Agaricus with variations in cap color from white to brown to reddish to gray. Woodland Agaricus species are still being studied in Colorado and some are still unknown. There are several that grow under Spruce with similar characteristics and not all of them are known. There are no known toxic red staining Agaricus in Colorado. More study is needed however.
When cooked it can turn a darker color than most Agaricus very similar to the portobello mushrooms bought at the grocery store. It is a great mushroom paired with a steak or grilled like a portobello for a mushroom burger. It also works great as a meat substitute in a veggie taco as they are fairly large and very meaty.
Feb 10 2023 11:27 PM
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