Are Chlorophyllum molybdites Edible?

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Key Takeaways:

  • Chlorophyllum molybdites is a poisonous mushroom that causes severe gastrointestinal distress if eaten.
  • It is commonly found in lawns and parks across North America and should not be consumed.
  • Chlorophyllum molybdites is the most frequently eaten poisonous mushroom in North America.
  • Consumption can lead to stomach irritation, vomiting, and diarrhea, but no deaths have been reported.
  • Proper identification of this mushroom is critical, as some sites incorrectly claim it is edible.

Chlorophyllum molybdites, also known as the False Parasol, Green-Spored Parasol, Lepiota molybdites, Fairy Ring Mushroom, Yard Mushroom, and Green Gill, is a mushroom found commonly across North America. This mushroom has a distinctive appearance, with a green-tinted cap and gills along with a white spore print. Although some sources indicate that Chlorophyllum molybdites is edible, it is actually poisonous and ingesting it leads to severe gastrointestinal problems. This article will analyze in detail whether Chlorophyllum molybdites is safe to eat, the effects of consuming it, how to properly identify it, and reasons for its frequent misidentification as an edible mushroom.

Understanding the edibility of Chlorophyllum molybdites is critical because it is so prevalent across eastern North America and California. Consuming this common lawn and park mushroom can cause significant sickness. This article will provide a comprehensive evaluation of Chlorophyllum molybdites, enabling readers to safely identify it and avoid ingesting this poisonous fungus. The information presented aims to prevent poisonings from this mushroom, which is the most commonly consumed toxic species in North America.

Is Chlorophyllum molybdites Edible?

Chlorophyllum molybdites is not edible and should never be consumed. Eating this mushroom leads to severe gastrointestinal distress, including stomach cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea. Although some sources claim this mushroom is edible, these reports are incorrect and fail to account for its toxicity that causes sickness in those who ingest it. Consuming any part of Chlorophyllum molybdites should be avoided.

What Happens If You Eat Chlorophyllum molybdites?

Consuming Chlorophyllum molybdites, also known as False Parasol, causes significant adverse effects, beginning within 30 minutes to 2 hours of ingestion. The poisonous compounds in this mushroom irritate the gastrointestinal tract, provoking nausea, stomach cramps, vomiting, and watery diarrhea that may persist for several hours. These symptoms are not life-threatening but can be severely uncomfortable. Recovery typically occurs within 24 hours after onset following rehydration.

Although Chlorophyllum molybdites poisonings can be severe, none have yet resulted in death. However, its consumption is especially dangerous for small children and pets, who are more vulnerable to dehydration from fluid loss through vomiting and diarrhea. All ingestion cases should be monitored carefully, and medical treatment obtained if symptoms are extreme or prolonged. Overall, eating any part of this common lawn mushroom causes significant sickness and discomfort that can last a full day.

Where Is Chlorophyllum molybdites Found?

Chlorophyllum molybdites has a widespread distribution, found commonly across eastern North America, California, and other temperate and subtropical regions globally. It frequently occurs in manicured grassy areas such as lawns, parks, fields, and golf courses from spring to early winter after rainy periods.

This mushroom emerges singly or in groups or fairy rings on the ground. Its prevalence in recreational spaces increases the risk of accidental ingestion and poisonings. Proper identification and avoidance of collection are necessary, given how commonly it grows intermingled in areas used for mushroom foraging.

Why Is Chlorophyllum molybdites Frequently Misidentified as Edible?

Although it is poisonous, Chlorophyllum molybdites is often misidentified as an edible species. This frequent mistake occurs for several reasons:

  • Resemblance to edible species – Its white spore print and green-tinged cap when young resemble some edible parasol mushrooms like the Shaggy Parasol.
  • Mild taste – The mushroom tissue has a mild taste, lacking the bitterness or burning sensation indicative of some toxic mushrooms.
  • Appearance in lawns – Its growth in residential lawns where edible mushrooms are collected suggests it is also safe to eat.
  • Incorrect online information – Some websites erroneously list this species as edible, propagating dangerous misinformation.
  • Delayed symptoms – Gastrointestinal issues occur 30 mins to 2 hours after ingestion, complicating identification of the causal mushroom.
  • Variable reactions – Sensitivity can vary between individuals, so some may consume Chlorophyllum molybdites without illness, fostering false confidence in its edibility.

Without careful attention to mushroom identification details, these factors allow Chlorophyllum molybdites to be easily mistaken for a safe, edible species. However, its toxicity makes this misidentification hazardous.

How To Identify Chlorophyllum molybdites

Accurately identifying mushrooms before consumption is critical to avoid poisoning. Chlorophyllum molybdites has the following key identification characteristics:

  • Cap – 2 to 8 inches across; conical when young but expands to flattened or umbrella shape; covered in cream to brownish scales; margin hangs down with age; often tinged green when young.
  • Gills – Closely spaced; narrow; attached to stipe; start out white but mature to olive green color.
  • Spore print – White.
  • Stipe – 2 to 5 inches long; 0.5 to 1.5 inches thick; cylindrical; covered in loose rings of fibers; may have green stains at base.
  • Habitat – Solitary or clustered on lawns, fields, parks; late spring to autumn.
  • Odor and taste – Mild, indistinct taste and odor.

Carefully noting all these features will prevent mistaken identification and reveal it is not an edible parasol mushroom. Obtaining an expert opinion can provide additional confirmation of proper identification before consuming wild mushrooms.

How To Avoid Accidental Poisoning

Due to the risks of misidentification, Chlorophyllum molybdites poisonings can best be prevented through precautionary measures:

  • Learn to accurately identify mushrooms, using guides and experts to build identification skills before consuming wild-collected edibles.
  • Assume mushrooms found on residential lawns are potentially toxic species unless definitively identified as safe by a mushroom expert. Never eat these lawn mushrooms raw.
  • Avoid online sources listing Chlorophyllum molybdites as edible, as these contradict scientific documentation of its toxicity.
  • Take great care if trying Chlorophyllum molybdites to unequivocally confirm its identity beforehand. Be prepared for likely gastrointestinal effects.
  • Supervise children and pets when outdoors in areas where Chlorophyllum molybdites may grow to prevent accidental ingestion.

Exercising caution and properly identifying mushrooms before eating are the best defenses against poisoning from inadvertently consuming the toxic Chlorophyllum molybdites.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some other names for Chlorophyllum molybdites?

Some other common names for Chlorophyllum molybdites include False Parasol, Green-Spored Parasol, Lepiota molybdites, Fairy Ring Mushroom, Yard Mushroom, and Green Gill.

Does cooking destroy the toxic compounds in Chlorophyllum molybdites?

No, cooking does not destroy the toxic compounds in Chlorophyllum molybdites or make this mushroom safe to eat. Consuming it cooked or raw will result in similar gastrointestinal illness.

Can you eat Chlorophyllum molybdites if you don’t have a negative reaction?

Even if you seem to have a tolerance and don’t get sick immediately after eating Chlorophyllum molybdites, it is unsafe to continue consuming it. Toxic effects can vary individually and build up with repeated exposures.

What color is the gill color of Chlorophyllum molybdites?

The gills of Chlorophyllum molybdites start out white but mature to an olive green color as the mushroom ages. This greenish coloration is a key identification feature.

What is the cap color of Chlorophyllum molybdites?

The cap of Chlorophyllum molybdites is covered in cream to brownish scales and is often tinged green, especially when young. The green cap is one trait that can lead to incorrect identification as an edible mushroom.


In summary, Chlorophyllum molybdites should never be eaten, despite some sources mistakenly indicating it is an edible species. Consuming any part of this common lawn and park mushroom can lead to severe gastrointestinal distress, for which it earns its reputation as the most frequently eaten poisonous mushroom in North America. However, through proper identification education and vigilance, accidental poisonings from this toxic species can be avoided. This article has provided readers with comprehensive information on identification, toxicity, and precautionary measures to prevent sickness from the consumption of Chlorophyllum molybdites. Equipped with these details, readers can confidently navigate the hazards posed by this poisonous but often misidentified mushroom.

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