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The umbrella mushroom is so named because of its similarity with this wardrobe item. The appearance of a large and wide cap on a long and relatively thin stem is quite characteristic, and it is difficult to find any other association. Most of the umbrellas are edible mushrooms with excellent taste. The area of their distribution is very extensive. Below are photos and descriptions of umbrella mushrooms, their gastronomic and medicinal properties are given.
Description of mushroom umbrellas
This group of related species is otherwise called macrolepiots and belongs to the Champignon family. All of them are distinguished by a characteristic appearance, indeed very similar to an open umbrella. Most of the macrolepiots are edible mushrooms.
Where mushroom umbrellas grow
Umbrellas grow in forests, both coniferous and deciduous. They can even appear in parks and plantings. They are able to form mycorrhiza with almost any tree. They prefer dry, light areas (for example, meadows or forest edges), often found near paths.
They can also appear far from trees. Repeated cases were recorded when umbrellas were in the fields and meadows. They grow on the banks of reservoirs relatively rarely.
Each of the macrolepiots, even by itself, has a fairly large area. And if we consider the entire group as a whole, then we can say that its representatives are found on all continents, with the exception of perhaps Greenland and Antarctica. Umbrella mushrooms can be found both in the Moscow region and in the north of Australia.
When mushrooms grow umbrellas
Fruiting of this group lasts almost all summer. The first mushrooms appear in early June. The latter are in mid-September. Of course, a lot depends on the specific species. So, the motley umbrella bears fruit from the third decade of August to the first decade of October, and the white one - from mid-June to the third decade of October.
The growth rate in summer is much higher than in autumn. If the formation of a mature fruiting body in July takes several days, then in September this process (despite the greater amount of rain) can take 2 weeks.
What mushroom umbrellas look like
These are rather large mushrooms, the cap of which can reach very large sizes. Its diameters are fixed from 35 to 40 cm. The leg can also be very long (up to 40 cm). From above, the cap is powdered with many small scales. There are also representatives with relatively large spots instead.
A typical edible umbrella mushroom (variegated) is shown in the photo below:
The cap of the ripe fruiting body of the variegated umbrella is covered with many small scales
Young fruiting bodies look like small balls (up to 10 cm in diameter) on relatively long and thin legs. Over time, they open and the outer shell, breaking in many places, remains in the form of scales on the caps. Photo of an unopened umbrella mushroom:
Unopened caps of young mushrooms have a richer color than in adult specimens.
What category are mushrooms umbrellas
Since, despite their widespread occurrence, these are little-known and unpopular mushrooms, they are classified as edible category 4. An important role in this was played by the fact that their fruiting bodies should be consumed at a young age, while the pulp is still quite loose.
Young mushrooms can be cooked in any form (fried, boiled, salted, soaked, etc.) With age, the area of their application is significantly narrowed. It is not even recommended to dry old copies.
Types of mushrooms umbrellas
There are several varieties of edible umbrella mushrooms. Below they are considered in more detail, their characteristic differences with the photo are given.
A typical representative of the umbrella group. Another name is chicken mushroom, it received for the similarity of taste with chicken meat. A large species, reaching a leg up to 40 cm long (although the average figures are from 10 to 30 cm). The diameter of the cap is up to 35 cm. It has a late ripening period. A photo of a motley umbrella is shown below.
Young and mature fruiting bodies of variegated umbrella
It is also a popular edible variety. The sizes are much smaller than that of the variegated (hat with a diameter of up to 15 cm, a leg up to 12 cm long). The distribution area is much larger, since the fungus can grow both in forests and in open areas.
A characteristic feature is the ragged color of the cap in mature fruit bodies. The flesh is white and does not change when cut. The taste is slightly tart.
A ragged color of the cap is characteristic of a white umbrella.
Edible mushroom. It has a thin stem up to 15 cm long. The diameter of the cap is up to 18 cm. A characteristic feature is a tubercle in its center. Has a tasty and aromatic pulp.
It is found in the warm temperate climates of Europe and Asia. It is also widespread in northern Africa and America. In addition, there are large colonies of this fungus in Australia.
Elegant umbrella with a characteristic tubercle color on the cap
In addition, there are a number of inedible umbrellas, mainly lepiots. Almost all of these species are smaller than their edible relatives. In addition to their short stature, their other characteristic feature is the presence of variegated pigmentation in the center of the cap.
Crested lepiota - a typical representative of inedible umbrellas
Is it possible to eat mushrooms umbrellas
The question of whether the umbrella mushroom is edible or not has been settled for a long time. Almost everywhere it is eaten without any restrictions. Many are afraid to eat this species for its similarity with poisonous mushrooms, however, the external differences of the umbrella from inedible related species, as well as from false siblings, are quite characteristic, it is problematic to confuse them.
What kind of umbrella mushroom tastes
The taste of a variegated umbrella, like its related species, is similar to the taste of champignons. Young fruit bodies are more juicy and soft. Their gastronomic qualities are especially appreciated by gourmets due to their light astringent effect.
Why is the umbrella mushroom useful?
The beneficial properties of the umbrella mushroom are determined by its constituent substances. These include:
- tyrosine (normalization of the liver and hormonal system);
- arginine (improving metabolism and vascular function);
- melanin (maintaining the normal state of the skin);
- B vitamins;
- vitamins C, K and E;
- minerals - potassium, sodium, magnesium, iron.
In addition, the fruit bodies of the umbrellas contain a large amount of beta-glucans, which are immunostimulants.
The medicinal properties of the umbrella mushroom
Traditional medicine recommends the use of this type of mushroom in various diets (due to their low calorie content), as well as as a protein food for diabetes mellitus.
Traditional healers believe that the beneficial properties of umbrellas can improve the condition of patients in cases of such diseases:
- diseases of the cardiovascular system;
- with rheumatism;
- disorders of the nervous system;
An important medicinal property of the umbrella is its immunostimulating and antioxidant effects.
Due to the presence of characteristic elements in the device of the leg and cap, this representative of the Champignon has several dangerous counterparts. All of them are poisonous, some are fatal. Below are the false doubles of the variegated umbrella.
Refers to poisonous mushrooms. Outwardly, it is very similar to an umbrella. Has a white cap, which is covered with brown or brownish-pink scales. Its diameter can be up to 30 cm. In young fruit bodies, it is domed, but as they mature, it flattens.
The leg does not exceed 25 cm in length, and its diameter ranges from 1 to 3.5 cm. Initially, its color is white, but in places of damage under the influence of air, its flesh turns brown. In this case, a cut of a large area has a reddish tint. The color of the plates in young mushrooms is white.
Old fruiting bodies of lead-slag chlorophyllum have gray-green plates
Distributed throughout the world, except for southern Asia and South America. However, it is found in Africa and Australia. Perhaps he got there with the colonists.
Chlorophyllum dark brown
It is also a poisonous representative of the mushroom kingdom, very similar to an umbrella. There are only minor differences in appearance. The fleshy and relatively thick cap has a diameter of up to 15 cm. The stem is short, about 9 cm long and 1-2 cm in diameter. It has an almost regular cylindrical shape, but near the ground level there is a thickening on it with a diameter of about 6 cm.
With age, the leg and cap of dark brown chlorophyllum acquire a brown tint.
The area of the fungus is relatively small. It is found on the east coast of the United States as well as in parts of Central Europe. Most often, dark brown chlorophyllum is recorded in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia.
Important! Researchers note that the mushroom has hallucinogenic properties. But since the features of this species have not been fully studied, in no case should you try to use it.
Panther fly agaric
A well-known representative of deadly fungi, characterized by high toxicity. Its cap can be up to 12 cm in diameter. In youth it is semicircular, in old fruit years it is flat. The leg reaches 12 cm in length, 1-1.5 cm in diameter.
A characteristic feature of the leg is a thickening in the shape of a small potato. 80% of the legs have a ring located directly at the attachment point of the hymenophore.
The edges of the panther fly agaric hat always crack
The plates are white, but sometimes brownish spots are found on them - traces of injuries and insect activity. The flesh is white and remains the same when cut. The growing area is very wide, we can say that the mushroom is widespread throughout the Northern Hemisphere.
Stinky fly agaric
He's a white toadstool. A deadly poisonous mushroom with a 90% chance of death when consumed. The remaining 10% of cases cause serious poisoning, up to and including disability. The color of the whole mushroom is off-white.
The hat is covered with peculiar flakes of irregular shape. Its diameter can be up to 20 cm. For young fruiting bodies, a conical cap is characteristic. In maturity, it becomes slightly convex, but flattening does not occur. The color of the outer layer of the cap can vary from white to pink, while the dirty gray tint will always be present in the color.
Amanita muscaria prefers open areas with low grass
The leg has a cylindrical shape. Its height rarely exceeds 15 cm, and its diameter is 2 cm. Distinctive features of the leg are a flaky coating, a ring and a tuberous thickening at the base.
The pulp of the fruiting body is white, does not change color when cut. The smell is pungent, unpleasant. Many people note its similarity with the smell of chlorine-containing preparations and household chemicals. Distributed widely: ubiquitous in Eurasia, northern Africa, the United States and Canada.
There are no specific techniques for collecting umbrellas. Mushrooms do not need any special conditions for transportation and storage. Their fruiting occurs depending on the variety at such a time of the year:
- blushing from early July to late October;
- in the variegated - early August to late September;
- white: late June and early October.
It is during these periods that the content of nutrients in the fruit bodies of the umbrellas is maximum.
Mushroom pickers especially appreciate the taste of caps in young specimens. It is slightly astringent and sour. Therefore, it is recommended to harvest young mushrooms. In addition, their use will be universal - such specimens are suitable for frying, and for salting, and for making soups and salads.
Important! Like all representatives of the kingdom of mushrooms, umbrellas have the property of accumulating harmful substances, so it is not recommended to collect them near roads and railways, industrial enterprises and other man-made objects.
Eating mushroom umbrellas
Depending on the age of the fruiting bodies, their use may differ. Only young mushrooms are versatile. Already ripe specimens are not recommended, for example, frying or salt. For them, the best option would be to use it as a protein base for a soup or a second course. You can also consider extinguishing for them.
It is recommended to use only young mushrooms for salting. Older adults (with a straightened hat) are a compromise solution, their taste may change over time.
It is better not to cut off old fruit bodies at all, but to leave them in the forest. But if it so happened that an overripe representative got into the basket, it can be dried.
Important! Regardless of the age or condition of the umbrella mushroom, the preparation of any dish should include heat treatment. For young specimens, it is permissible without prior boiling.
The article presents a photo and description of umbrella mushrooms. This species is an edible member of the Champignon family. The umbrella mushroom is found almost everywhere in Europe, America and Asia. It ripens in mid-summer and early autumn. The umbrella mushroom has many varieties. They differ slightly in appearance and collection time. In addition to edible umbrellas, there are also inedible members of the family, as well as poisonous false counterparts very similar to them.