Leucoagaricus leucothites — White dapperling, smooth parasol

White dapperling

White dapperling2, photograph by Ludovic Le Renard.

White dapperling

White dapperlings7 are common in lawns. Gills are still white when the cap is fully expanded but turn pink, as in the top specimen, with age. Photograph by Adolf Ceska.

Odour: Variable, from indistinct to distinctly fungal, or like aniseed or astringent.
Taste: Indistinct.
Cap: 3.5–10 (15) cm. It starts out rounded, often shaped like a motorcycle helmet, then flattens and spreads to become convex with a flattened or depressed centre. The surface appears dry and dull, not shiny, and its colour is commonly white to cream. The flesh in the cap is white, dull, and thick. This variable species can be robust or quite small. Old specimens can be brownish and grey-capped specimens are not uncommon. Some mushrooms become distinctly yellow when scratched while others develop pinkish colours.
Gills: Crowded, free from the stem, white at first, and gill edges remain white as gill faces turn cream or pink with age (see image above).
Stem: : 4–10 cm long, 0.5–1.5 cm wide, wider at the base than at the top. The base can be rounded. The colour is white all over when young, later brownish, especially below the ring. The stem breaks off easily, its rounded top separating from a round socket-like depression in the cap. The stem is hollow and its flesh is shiny and white.
Ring or veil: A distinct white ring with a cuff-like part around the stem and a small spreading rim.
Cup: None.
Spores: 7–10.0 x 5.0–7.0 µm, smooth, white in mass, colourless in transmitted light, but red-brown in an iodine solution, with a small germ pore.
Habitat: On the ground, in lawns, grasslands, but also in woods, and in human environments. Saprotrophic.
Geographical range: Widespread, common in temperate parts of the Northern Hemisphere including the Pacific northwest and in BC, and reported from the Southern Hemisphere.
Remarks: This species has also been known as Leucoagaricus naucinus and Lepiota naucina.

The highly toxic death cap mushroom, Amanita phalloides looks like the white dapperling in size and structure and it is also common in grassy areas in cities. However, the death cap mushroom is more likely to have a yellowish or brownish rather than a white cap, its ring typically hangs like a skirt rather than a spreading outwards from the stem as a rim, and (dig down in the soil to find this) its stem has a cup around its base. The green-spored parasol mushroom Chlorophyllum molybdites is also toxic and can be distinguished from the white dapperling by the brown scales on the cap, greenish spore print, and by the more conspicuous ring on the stem. The green-spored parasol also grows in lawns, but it likes it hot, and is found regularly in southern California and the Central Valley.

This species cunningly resembles an Agaricus species from above but can be distinguished because its gills remain white as its caps expand (see 'Additional image'). Gills in Agaricus species start out white or light pink, but their dark brown spores colour the gills dark purplish brown or chocolate brown as caps reach their full size.

The white dapperling often grows in lawns. The pesticides used to maintain the lawn’s character might contaminate the mushrooms growing in it. Besides this hazard, some people get really sick from eating this mushroom, whereas others eating the same dish enjoy it4,6. If you want to experiment, take only mushrooms from a clean environment, and try a small bite of well-cooked mushrooms as a start.

Symptoms: Gastrointestinal distress has been the most common complaint after eating this species. Time to onset has varied between 10 min and 10 hours, averaging 4 hours6.

Treatment: Contact your regional Poison Control Centre if you realize you or someone you know has become ill after eating this species. Poison centres provide free, expert medical advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If possible, save the mushrooms or some of the leftover food containing the mushrooms to help confirm identification.

Poison Control:
British Columbia: 604-682-5050 or 1-800-567-8911.
United States (WA, OR, ID): 1-800-222-1222.

MyCoPortal. Mycology Collections Portal, accessed March 2018.

Specimen Leucoagaricus leucothites UBC F33266, GenBank #MH718246.

Vellinga, E. C. Leucoagaricus Pp. 85-108 in Flora Agaricina Neerlandica Vol. 5 (eds. Noordeloos, M. E., Kuyper, T. W., & Vellinga, E. C.) A.A. Balkema Publishers, Lisse, Netherlands (2001).

Arora, D. Mushrooms Demystified. Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, California (1986).

Siegel, N. & Schwarz, C. Mushrooms of the Redwood Coast. A Comprehensive Guide to the Fungi of Coastal Northern California. Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, California (2016).

Beug, M. W., Shaw, M. & Cochran, K. W. Thirty-plus years of mushroom poisoning: Summary of the approximately 2,000 reports in the NAMA case registry. McIlvainea 16, 47-68 (2006).

Leucoagaricus leucothites MO 291971.