Parasol Mushrooms going absolutely mental


Every autumn some species of fungi have a good year and others have a bad year. Sometimes we get a mass-fruiting of a particular species, or a particular group. In 2017 it was Horn of Plenty and its relatives. Last year it was Fly Agarics. This year, in truly spectacular style it is Parasol Mushrooms and all the other species in its genus (Macrolepiota). I cannot recall ever seeing a mass-fruiting of Parasol Mushrooms (M. procera) as the one that has appeared in the last few days. I’ve also seen the biggest mass-fruiting I can remember of its much smaller relative M. excoriata (no common name). This is true all over Kent and Sussex, and reports from elsewhere in the country suggest it is the same as far away as Devon and Northamptonshire.

A large ring of Parasol Mushrooms

Why they do it — why this year it is the year of the Parasols and not something else — is anybody’s guess. It isn’t just down to conditions right now. It might be something to do with the weather over the previous 12 months, or if they had a particularly bad year last year (for example). It isn’t just the parasols either. A lot of other grassland species are currently fruiting in numbers, including Agaricus species and various sorts of puffballs, both of which are members of the same family as the Parasols (Agaricaceae),

Second huge ring of Parasol Mushrooms, in the same field

as well as unrelated species like Fairy Ring Champignons (Marasmius oreades) and Entoloma species.

There are also some woodland species doing well, especially the saprophytes, but a lot of the symbiotic woodland species are having a very bad year. I’ve seen very few Blushers (Amanita rubescens), and they are usually very abundant. The same is true of most other Amanita species (with the exception of Fly Agaric), and a lot of the Russulas.

I’m not even going to try to predict what is going to happen next, but I will let my readers know as soon as there’s anything worth blogging about.

8 thoughts on “Parasol Mushrooms going absolutely mental

  1. Amy

    Just back from a walk in East Kent (between Faversham and Canterbury) and totally amazed by the number of parasol mushrooms we’ve seen! I didn’t know that’s what they were until I saw this post. I googled “bumper year for mushrooms?” And found this. We’ve lived here 14 years and have never seen such a display (as you said). There are still quite a few not yet out fully. What a fantastic sight they all are.

      1. Amy

        Isn’t that the truth…thanks for the tip. Collins guide says they are uncommon?
        Re: mushrooms in general, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen a mushroom / toadstool of some sort every single month of the year so far, which I don’t remember in past years. Is that unusual or have I just been more observant?

  2. Geoff Dann Post author

    >>Collins guide says they are uncommon?

    I don’t think any Collins guide would say that.

    There are usually mushrooms of some sort about, but there were more than normal in the first half of this summer. Every year is different.

  3. Glyn Williams

    Hello Geoff
    Always enjoy your excellent site (and the book of course).
    This past week here in Suffolk and Norfolk has been the most fruitful purple patch I can recall. Agaricus species are going completely bonkers and parasols are now just coming up dor a secondary flush but in huge clumps, which we rarely see. Sandy soil and low rainfall usually means we are definitely the poor relations in the East of England in terms of yield and variety. This mild very wet weather has flipped a switch.
    I am a restaurant PR consultant and I have just left one of my Southwold restaurant owners, who has bought a glut of B. edulis, the size of the harvest I’ve never seen in East Anglia before, from a local forager for the price of dinner for two.
    I will email you the picture separately but it must be 10 – 1kg if not more. They will be cleaned tomorrow.
    Unbelievable sight, I doubt one I will ever see again. The secretive forager reckons he has left the same amount again unpicked.
    2019 may just be a mycological godsend.
    Best wishes, Glyn


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