This section is from the book "Studies of American Fungi: Mushrooms, Edible, Poisonous, Etc.", by George Francis Atkinson. Also available from Amazon: Studies of American Fungi: Mushrooms, Edible, Poisonous, Etc..
This plant occurs from Ohio, southward and west. It grows in grassy places, especially in wet pastures. It is one of the largest of the lepiotas, ranging from 20-40 cm. high, the cap 20-30 cm. broad, and the stem about 2 cm. in thickness. The pileus, when fully expanded, is whitish, with large dark scales, especially toward the center. The ring is large, sometimes movable, and the gills and spores are greenish. Some report the plant as edible, while others say illness results from eating it.
Lepiota americana. Scales and center of cap reddish or reddish brown. Entire plant turns reddish on drying (natural size). Copyright.
Lepiota americana Pk. Edible. - This plant is widely distributed in the United States. The plants occur singly or are clustered, 6-12 cm. high, the cap 4-10 cm. broad, and the stem 4-10 mm. in thickness. The cap is adorned with reddish or reddish brown scales except on the center, where the color is uniform because the surface is not broken up into scales. The flesh is white, but changes to reddish when cut or bruised, and the whole plant becomes reddish on drying.
Figure 82 is from plants (No. 2718, C. U. herbarium) collected at Ithaca.
The European plant, L. badhami, also reported in this country, changes to a brownish red. It is believed by some to be identical with L. americana.
Lepiota cristata. Entirely white, but scales grayish or pinkish brown, stem often flesh color (natural size). Copyright.