8 julio, 2024

Agaricus: characteristics, taxonomy, habitat, species

agaricus is the generic name of a group of Basidiomycota fungi belonging to the Agaricaceae family that are characterized by developing fruiting bodies in the form of fleshy and generally large mushrooms. They have a cap that changes from hemispherical to slightly flattened, with a ring on the stipe and separate stipe blades.

The genus was originally described by Carlos Linnaeus and currently groups about 300 species worldwide. They are saprophytes, generally humicolous and with relatively high nitrogen requirements. Some species develop among grasses, while others do so in forests or other more specific habitats.

Some of the species ascribed to this genus are edible, including the mushroom (Agaricus bisporus), the most cultivated mushroom species worldwide, with a production that in 2009 exceeded 4 million tons. The genus is also home to some toxic species, including Agaricus bitorchis and Agaricus xanthodermus.



The fruiting body of the species of agaricus it is generally fleshy and large in size. The cap changes shape over time, initially being hemispherical, then becoming slightly flattened over a certain period of the organism’s life. They are normally whitish or brownish species.

The hymenium presents numerous free sheets, that is, not attached to the stipe. These blades are fleshy and light in color in recent fruiting, which then acquire pinkish tones and finally in senescent organisms turn into colors derived from the blackish-brown tone.

The ring is always present, it is light in color, it usually acquires different levels of development, it always separates easily from the cap and it can be persistent or fall off in older specimens.

The stipe is usually uniformly cylindrical, although it may also widen or narrow at the base. Does not present back.

The meat is firm, compact, generally whitish in color and can change color when touched and/or cut, acquiring a reddish or yellowish coloration of different levels of intensity depending on the species. The odor ranges from very pleasant to quite unpleasant.


The gender agaricus It is taxonomically located within the family Agaricaceae, class Agaricomycetes, division Basidiomycota. The taxonomy of this genus is complicated because, although it was coined by Carlos Linnaeus in 1735, it was used to encompass a great diversity of terrestrial fungi provided with blades and stems.

This name was later used with Fries’ interpretation of it in 1821. Karsten later emendates the genus, but excludes Agaricus campestris. Additionally, some mycologists have created new genera such as psalliotabut including in it the type species of the genus agaricus.

Due to all this, the authorship of the genre, as well as its valid definition, are still controversial. However, most taxonomists agree that this genus currently contains about 300 validly described species worldwide, some of which may additionally have varieties.

Habitat and distribution

The fungi of the genus agaricus They can grow in different habitats depending on the species. Many of them prefer meadows and open fields with abundant grasses, others prefer more wooded areas. Some grow under cypresses and other species of trees in the Cupressaceae family.

organisms of the species Agaricus minieri they are very specific in terms of their habitat, thriving only in dunes. Some species develop better directly on plant remains and others are frequent along the roadsides.

The gender agaricus It is cosmopolitan and has representatives on all continents, although it is more frequent in the northern hemisphere. The common mushroom has a wide distribution worldwide and has been introduced for cultivation in many countries where it did not originally exist.

representative species

Agaricus bisporus

The common mushroom is the best-known representative of the genus and the species of mushroom that has the highest production worldwide, because it is highly appreciated in the kitchen as it has very important nutritional and medicinal properties. Its cultivation is carried out both artisanally and commercially.

There are several varieties of the species, of which the most common are A. bisporus var hortensiswhich is the one that is generally marketed as common mushroom and Agaricus bisporus var brunnescens which receives the trade name of portobello either crime, depending on their size and level of development.

This fungus can reach up to 18 cm in diameter of the cap, but generally does not exceed 13 cm. Its surface is covered by a powdery cuticle on which scales and spots can appear with age.

Agaricus campestris

Fungus whose fruitful body has a cap up to 12 cm in diameter and a stem 7 cm high, with a simple ring. It is an edible species with a very good flavor as well as being rich in vitamins and minerals, but it provides very few calories, which is why it is very suitable to help lose weight.

This species, despite presenting better organoleptic qualities than the common mushroom, is not cultivated commercially due to its long and complex life cycle and the fact that the fruiting body has a very short duration.

Additionally, this species presents an inconvenience, since it can be easily confused with some toxic species, and even deadly, for which its consumption is not recommended if one is not sure of its identity.

Agaricus silvicola

Also edible species that is distributed in northern Europe and North America. Its fruiting body appears in autumn and presents a cap up to 10 cm in diameter and a foot 4 cm high.

Agaricus xanthodermus

It is characterized because its fruitful body has a convex cap that in some mature specimens takes on the appearance of a cube with a flattened, dry and scaly surface and can reach up to 15 cm in diameter. Another important characteristic is that the foot has a yellow coloration.

This species has a wide distribution in the northern hemisphere, it grows associated with grasses, decaying leaves and coniferous trunks. It gives off an unpleasant odor and its meat turns yellow when cut.

Agaricus xanthodermus it is toxic, although it does not cause death. Among the effects of its intake are gastrointestinal disorders such as abdominal cramps, nausea and diarrhea. Other symptoms of poisoning that appear less frequently are drowsiness, headaches, and dizziness.


agaricus. On Wikipedia. Retrieved from: en.wikipedia.org.
Agaricus xanthodermus. On Wikipedia. Retrieved from: en.wikipedia.org.
P. Callac (2007). II. The gender agaricus. In JE Sánchez, DJ Royse & HL Lara (Eds). Cultivation, marketing and food safety of Agaricus bisporus. Ecosur.
C. Lyre. Common mushroom (Agaricus bisporus): characteristics, taxonomy, nutritional properties, reproduction, nutrition. Retrieved from: .com.
C. Lyre. Agaricus campestris: characteristics, taxonomy, habitat and distribution, reproduction, nutrition, properties. Retrieved from: .com.
E. Albertó (1996). The gender agaricus in the province of Buenos Aires (Argentina). sections agaricus and sanguinolenti. Bulletin of the Mycological Society of Madrid.

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