The Yellow Stainer

Colin Davidson c.davidson at biotech.cam.ac.uk
Mon Oct 2 12:39:54 EST 2000


I've never really given the yellow stainer much thought till this morning.

Yesterday (Sunday) my girlfriend and I went for a little evening walk around
where we live, and to the local woods. We came across a few edible
mushrooms, nothing really to write home about. What struck me as most odd
was the vast number of yellow stainers we came across (Agaricus
xanthodermus). They were everywhere, around sports pitched in the housing
estate, around a stand of ornamental cherry trees, on grass verges by paths,
and in the woods. Now, I know they're not uncommon, but I've never seen such
a prolific fruiting of this species.

I've always figured that it simply isn't worth findint out whether I'm one
of the people who can eat this mushroom. Many books tell us that about 50%
of the population react badly with this fungus. To me it smells pretty
awful, so there's simply no reason to ponder whether I can eat it or not.
Does anyone out there actually eat this? Do you enjoy it? Is this 50% figure
genuine?

I'd guess that it's very useful to the fungus to co-ordinate its fruiting
like this, it'll have far more chance of campatible haploid mycelium from
the spores released germinating in proximity to each other, and many of us
will have unexpectedly found one mushroom or another fruiting profusely
quite out of season when the weather conditions are strange. We've all seen
lots of Pleurotus fruiting after the first frost. But what are the cues that
cause this in Agaricus, specifically A. xanthodermus?

Thanks,

Colin.








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