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Agaricus is a genus of mushrooms containing both edible and poisonous species, with possibly over 300 members worldwide.[2][3] The genus includes the common ("button") mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) and the field mushroom (Agaricus campestris), the dominant cultivated mushrooms of the West.

Agaricus campestris.jpg
Agaricus campestris
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Agaricales
Family: Agaricaceae
Genus: Agaricus
L.:Fr. emend Karst.
Type species
Agaricus campestris
  • Amanita Dill. ex Boehm. (1760)
  • Fungus Tourn. ex Adans. (1763)
  • Hypophyllum Paulet (1808)
  • Myces Paulet (1808)
  • Agaricus trib. Psalliota Fr. (1821)
  • Pratella (Pers.) Gray (1821)
  • Psalliota (Fr.) P.Kumm. (1871)

Members of Agaricus are characterized by having a fleshy cap or pileus, from the underside of which grow a number of radiating plates or gills on which are produced the naked spores. They are distinguished from other members of their family, Agaricaceae, by their chocolate-brown spores. Members of Agaricus also have a stem or stipe, which elevates it above the object on which the mushroom grows, or substrate, and a partial veil, which protects the developing gills and later forms a ring or annulus on the stalk.



1855 field notes with synonymy of Hypophyllum (quoted literarure) with Omphalia and Agaricus (added handwritten notes).

For many years, members of the genus Agaricus were given the generic name Psalliota, and this can still be seen in older books on mushrooms. All proposals to conserve Agaricus against Psalliota or vice versa have so far been considered superfluous.[4]

Several origins of Agaricus have been proposed. It possibly originates from ancient Sarmatia Europaea, where people Agari, promontory Agarum and a river Agarus were known (all located on the northern shore of Sea of Azov, probably, near modern Berdiansk in Ukraine).[5][6][7] Note also Greek ἀγαρικόν, "a sort of tree fungus" (There has been an Agaricon Adans. genus, treated by Donk in Persoonia 1:180.)

Dok reports Linnaeus' name is devalidated (so the proper author citation apparently is "L. per Fr., 1821") because Agaricus was not linked to Tournefort's name. Linnaeus places both Agaricus Dill. and Amanita Dill. in synonymy, but truly a replacement for Amanita Dill., which would require A. quercinus, not A. campestris be the type. This question is compounded because Fries himself used Agaricus roughly in Linnaeus' sense (which leads to issues with Amanita), and A. campestris was eventually excluded from Agaricus by Karsten and was apparently in Lepiota at the time Donk wrote this, commenting that a type conservation might become necessary.[8]

The alternate name for the genus, Psalliota, derived from the Greek psalion/ψάλιον, "ring", was first published by Fries (1821) as trib. Psalliota. The type is Agaricus campestris (widely accepted, except by Earle, who proposed A. cretaceus). Paul Kummer (not Quélet, who merely excluded Stropharia) was the first to elevate the tribe to a genus. Psalliota was the tribe containing the type of Agaricus, so when separated, it should have caused the rest of the genus to be renamed, but this is not what happened.[9]


The use of phylogenetic analysis to determine evolutionary relationships amongst Agaricus species has increased the understanding of this taxonomically difficult genus, although much work remains to be done to fully delineate infrageneric relationships. Prior to these analyses, the genus Agaricus, as circumscribed by Rolf Singer, was divided into 42 species grouped into five sections based on reactions of mushroom tissue to air or various chemical reagents, as well as subtle differences in mushroom morphology.[10] Restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis demonstrated this classification scheme needed revision.[11]


This genus is divided into several sections:

Contains 19 species in six subgroups similar to the horse mushroom, A. arvensis, it has versatile heterothallic life cycles.[12]
Outlined by Singer in 1948, this section includes species with various characteristics similar to the type species A. xanthodermus.[13] The section forms a single clade based on analysis of ITS1+2.[14]
Based on DNA analysis of ITS1, ITS2, and 5.8S sequences, this section (also known as section Hortenses) may be divided into six distinct clades, five of which correspond to well-known species from the temperate Northern Hemisphere: A. bisporus, A. subfloccosus, A. bitorquis, A. vaporarius and A. cupressicola. The sixth clade comprises the species complex A. devoniensis.[15]


The genus contains the most widely consumed and best-known mushroom today, A. bisporus, with A. campestris also being well known. The most notable inedible species is the yellow-staining mushroom, A. xanthodermus.[citation needed] All three are found worldwide.

One species reported from Africa, A. aurantioviolaceus, is reportedly deadly poisonous.[16]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Synonymy: Agaricus L., Sp. pl. 2: 1171 (1753)". Index Fungorum. CAB International. Retrieved 2013-08-29.
  2. ^ Bas C. (1991). A short introduction to the ecology, taxonomy and nomenclature of the genus Agaricus, 21–24. In L.J.L.D. Van Griensven (ed.), Genetics and breeding of Agaricus. Pudoc, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
  3. ^ Capelli A. (1984). Agaricus. L.: Fr. (Psalliota Fr.). Liberia editrice Bella Giovanna, Saronno, Italy
  4. ^ Wakesfield E. (1940). "Nomina genérica conservando. Contributions from the Nomenclature Committee of the British Mycological Society, III". Transactions of the British Mycological Society. 24 (3–4): 282–293. doi:10.1016/s0007-1536(40)80028-4.
  5. ^ Rolfe R. T., Rolfe F. W. (1874). "The derivation of fungus names". The Romance of the Fungus World. Courier Corporation. pp. 292–293. ISBN 9780486231051.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  6. ^ R. Talbert, ed. (2000). "Map 84. Maeotis". Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World. Princeton University Press.
  7. ^ W. Smith, ed. (1854). "Agari". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. Vol.I. Boston: Little, Brown, and Company. p. 72. (on Google Books, on
  8. ^ Donk, M.A. (1962). "The generic names proposed for Agaricaceae". Beiheifte zur Nova Hedwigia. 5: 1–320. ISSN 0078-2238.
  9. ^ Donk, M.A. (1962). "The generic names proposed for Agaricaceae". Beiheifte zur Nova Hedwigia 5: 1–320. ISSN 0078-2238
  10. ^ Singer, Rolf (1987). Agaricales in Modern Taxonomy. Lubrecht & Cramer Ltd. ISBN 978-3-7682-0143-8.
  11. ^ Bunyard BA, Nicholson MS, Royse DJ (December 1996). "Phylogeny of the genus Agaricus inferred from restriction analysis of enzymatically amplified ribosomal DNA". Fungal Genet Biol. 20 (4): 243–53. doi:10.1006/fgbi.1996.0039. PMID 9045755.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  12. ^ Calvo-Bado L, Noble R, Challen M, Dobrovin-Pennington A, Elliott T (February 2000). "Sexuality and Genetic Identity in the Agaricus Section Arvenses". Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 66 (2): 728–34. doi:10.1128/AEM.66.2.728-734.2000. PMC 91888. PMID 10653743.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  13. ^ Singer R (1948). "Diagnoses Fungorum Novorum Agaricalium". Sydowia. 2: 26–42.
  14. ^ Kerrigan RW, Callac P, Guinberteau J, Challen MP, Parra LA (2005). "Agaricus section Xanthodermatei: a phylogenetic reconstruction with commentary on taxa". Mycologia. 97 (6): 1292–315. doi:10.3852/mycologia.97.6.1292. PMID 16722221.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  15. ^ Challen MP, Kerrigan RW, Callac P (2003). "A phylogenetic reconstruction and emendation of Agaricus section Duploannulatae". Mycologia. 95 (1): 61–73. doi:10.2307/3761962. JSTOR 3761962. PMID 21156589.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  16. ^ Walleyn R, Rammeloo J. (1994). The Poisonous and Useful Fungi of Africa South of the Sahara. Scripta Botanica Belgica. 10. National Botanic Garden of Belgium. p. 10. ISBN 978-90-72619-22-8.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)

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