The Blusher

Parasol Mushroom by Todd Henson

A horizontal view of a parasol mushroom growing out of a small patch of grass.

The Parasol mushroom is an interesting mushroom with a textured cap topped with lots of little growths (they appear to be called scales) and a ring on the stem just below the cap. It gets its name from its resemblance to a parasol (umbrella).

A vertical view of a parasol mushroom growing out of a small patch of grass.

I found this particular specimen in a small cluster of grass right in the middle of a wooded trail in mid-July. I’m very surprised it hadn’t been trampled, but I don’t think the trail gets a huge volume of traffic. I’m also not sure how quickly this mushroom grows so I don’t know how long it had been on the trail.

I was fascinated by how it was growing right in the little patch of grass so I got down on my stomach and captured a couple frames from ground level. You can just barely see the ring on the stem, just below the rim of the cap. I probably should have photographed it from the other side, looking up under the cap, but didn’t think of that at the time.

Lesson for the future: Take the time to work the subject before moving on. With these sorts of subjects you often can’t go back later as it could disappear at any time.

When I first published this post I had mistakenly identified this mushroom as an Amanita rubescens, known as The Blusher. Many thanks to Antonín who pointed out it looked more like a parasol mushroom. After spending more time researching and reading up on both species I agree with him. Identifying mushrooms can be a challenge and I still have much to learn, which is one of the great draws of nature photography. Every photograph I create, and every post I publish, is an opportunity to learn something new. If you ever see any species in my posts you feel I’ve misidentified please leave a comment and let me know. Thanks much!