(See Plate Facing Page 64)

The members of this genus have the gills free from the stem, and have no wrapper remains at the base of the stem. In some species the cap or pileus has the surface scaly, owing to the rupture of the fibres which compose it. It is this feature which has suggested the name Lepiota, from the Latin word lepis - a scale. There are about thirty species represented in the United States, of which a few are commonly eaten.

Parasol Mushroom ; Tall Lepiota (Edible)

Lepiota procera

Cap or Pileus - Convex, like an open umbrella. Thin, umbonate, covered with closely pressed scales.

3-5 inches broad. Stem or Stipe - Long, hollow, or with cottony pith ; bulbous at the base ; usually covered with closely pressed scales. 5-1 0 inches long. Veil or Ring - Thick and firm ; often movable on the stem.

Lep-i-o'-ta

Section of L. procera Proc e ra

Section of L. procera Proc-e-ra.

Gills or Lamella - Closely placed, side by side. Whitish, or tinged with yellow. The inner extremity remote from the stem.

Spores - White, elliptical.

Flesh - White, soft, and dry.

Time - July to September.

Habitat - Thin woods, pastures, and by roadsides.

The specific name, Procera, from the Latin procera (tall), refers to the length of the stem.

There is no poisonous species for which it can be mistaken if one bears in mind that it has a long stem with bulbous base, a brownish, spotted cap with dark apex, and a broad basin about the insertion of the stem.

Smooth Lepiota (Edible)

Lepiota naucinoides

Cap or Pileus - Smooth, white ; rarely the central part of the cap is tinged with a smoky hue. 2-4 inches broad.

Stem or Stipe - Coloured like the cap ; thickened at the base. Hollow or webby. 2-3 inches long.

Veil or Annulus - White. External edge generally thicker than the inner ; often movable on the stem.

Gills or Lamella - White when young ; when old, pinkish or smoky brown. Rounded at the inner extremity and not attached to the stem. Narrower toward the stem than in the middle.

Spores - White, sub-elliptical.

Flesh - Thick, white, and tender.

Time - August-November.

The smooth lepiota resembles the chalk agaric (Agaricus cretaceous), which has brown spores, and the meadow mushroom

Section of L. naucinoides

Section of L. naucinoides.

Smooth Lepiota (Edible)

Smooth Lepiota (Edible).

(Lepiota nancinoides. Peck)

Nat. size : Cap diam., 3 1/2 inches; stem length, 4 1/2 inches.

Parasol Mushroom. Tall Lepiota (Edible)

Parasol Mushroom. Tall Lepiota (Edible).

(Lepiota procera, Scop.)

Nat. Size: Cap Diam., 3 1/2. inches; stem length, 4 1/2 inches

See page 63

Lepiota Friesii, Lasch. (edible). See page 65.

Lepiota Friesii, Lasch. (edible). See page 65.

Cortinarius albovioiaceus, Fr. Reduced. See page 86.

Cortinarius albovioiaceus, Fr. Reduced. See page 86.

White-spored Series room {Agaricas campestris), which has darker gills, a persistent collar, and a stem tapering at the base. No harm can come from confusing these for edible purposes. Great care should be taken to be sure that a specimen thought to be a smooth lepiota has no volva or wrapper at the base, for the absence of a volva is the most marked difference between it and the poisonous vernal amanita (Amanita verna). The gills of the smooth lepiota turn a dingy brown or pink, and those of the vernal amanita remain white ; and the cap of the smooth lepiota has not the moist smoothness and the brilliant whiteness of the vernal amanita.

Lepiota Friesii

Cap or Pileus - Rather thin, convex, or nearly plain, with soft, tawny fibres forming small patches over the surface. 1- 4 inches wide. Stem or Stipe - Tapering toward the cap, slightly bulbous at the base. The lower part of the stem coloured like the cap, and with similar fibrils. Hollow. Powdery white above the ring. 2-5 inches long. Ring or Annu/us - Present and pendulous. Gills or Lamella - Narrow, crowded, free from stem ; white ; some forhed. Spores - White.

Flesh - Soft, white, with a slight odour when bruised. Ring or Annulus - Well developed, drooping. White above, and tawny or scaly below. Habitat - Soft, loose soil in bushy places. Time - July to September.