Chlorophyllum Molybdites Description, Toxicity & Look-Alikes

With the nickname “vomiter,” you have a pretty good indication that Chlorophyllum molybdites is not a mushroom that you want to be messing with.

Commonly known as the false parasol, it is the most commonly misidentified and accidentally ingested mushroom in North America.

This is especially concerning once you learn about the gastrointestinal symptoms it causes.

How do you identify Chlorophyllum molybdites? Chlorophyllum molybdites is an off-white mushroom that has light brown scales on the cap. It typically grows in partial or complete “fairy rings.” The most distinguishing feature of Chlorophyllum molybdites is the green-colored spore print that sets it apart from other mushrooms.

Chlorophyllum molybdites causes a large percentage of poisonings in children.

False parasols are commonly found in lawns and grassy areas, and children are drawn in by the magical look of a fairy ring.

This is one of the reasons that it is so important to identify and eradicate Chlorophyllum molybdites.

Chlorophyllum Molybdites: What You Need To Know

Understanding how to identify false parasols and where they are commonly found will help you to avoid accidentally consuming them.

Unfortunately, many novice mushroom collectors have fallen victim to false parasols after assuming they collected one of the harmless look-alike species. 

Chlorophyllum Molybdites Identification 

Two false parasol mushrooms growing among blades of grass.

Chlorophyllum molybdites has caps that begin white and turn to off-white with light brown scales when mature.

The cap begins as a spherical shape that flattens out with growth. This is a large mushroom, with caps that can be 3-12 inches in diameter. 

On the underside of the cap, you will find the gills. Immature false parasols will have white gills with no spores.

Mature false parasols will exhibit a distinct green color to their gills and spore print. 

The stem can be white to light brown in color and proportionately thin for the size of the cap. The stipe can measure 2-12 inches tall but only 0.5-1.5 inches in diameter. 

While it is possible to find a single Chlorophyllum molybdites, you will most likely see this mushroom in groups of multiple fruiting bodies.

Partial or complete fairy rings are commonly seen. 

Immature Chlorophyllum molybdites look nearly identical to Chlorophyllum rhacodes or the shaggy false parasol mushroom.

The immature mushrooms have spherical or convex white caps and white gills. Over time, the mushroom cap will flatten out and light brown scales will form. 

Quick Guide to Chlorophyllum Molybdites Identification

Chlorophyllum Molybdites Common Names

Mushroom enthusiasts tend to refer to Chlorophyllum molybdites by its scientific name, but common names include false parasol, green-spored Lepiota, vomiter, and green gill.

The common names are descriptive of the appearance and effects of the mushroom.

Are Chlorophyllum Molybdites Poisonous?

Chlorophyllum molybdites mushrooms are severely poisonous for most people.

Toxins in false parasols cause gastrointestinal problems including diarrhea and vomiting. The intensity of the poisoning can vary from person to person.

Are Chlorophyllum Molybdites Deadly?

There have been no recorded deaths associated with Chlorophyllum molybdites poisonings.

In the worst cases, the gastrointestinal symptoms lead to hypovolemic shock, but patients usually recover within a week.

Where & When Chlorophyllum Molybdites Are Typically Found

Chlorophyllum molybdites is common in North America, but it can be found in various temperature, subtropical, and tropical locations around the world.

False parasols are found in lawns, grassy areas, and open woods. The fruiting bodies, aka mushrooms, appear after summer and autumn rains in most locations.

Tropical locations can also find Chlorophyllum molybdites after warm spring rains.

Similar Mushrooms Commonly Confused With Chlorophyllum Molybdites

If you are not 100% confident in the identification of a mushroom, it is better to avoid touching it.

This is especially true for Chlorophyllum molybdites and their look-alikes because some species are edible, but some are toxic.

Many of these species have similar appearances and environments and also create fairy rings. 

The distinguishing feature of Chlorophyllum molybdites is the green spore print. This is the most reliable way to differentiate Chlorophyllum molybdites from other mushroom species.

Parasol Mushroom (Macrolepiota procera)

A parasol mushroom (Macrolepiota procera) in the woods.

Parasol mushrooms are well-known edible mushrooms that can be found worldwide. In areas where false parasol mushrooms are not commonly found, such as the United Kingdom, mushroom foragers do not need to be as careful when collecting.

Parasol mushrooms tend to have a more pronounced snakeskin pattern of light brown scales on the cap when compared to false parasol mushrooms. 

Shaggy Parasol Mushroom (Chlorophyllum rhacodes)

A shaggy parasol mushroom (Chlorophyllum rhacodes) growing in the woods.

Immature Chlorophyllum molybdites look extremely similar to Chlorophyllum rhacodes. They both have white convex caps and can be found growing in fairy rings.

Shaggy parasols also contain toxins that can create gastrointestinal problems, but they are not as potent.

Some groups of people can eat shaggy parasols without any effects, especially when the mushrooms are cooked.

Meadow Mushroom (Agaricus campestris)

Two meadow mushrooms (Agaricus campestris) that have been knocked over in the woods.

Meadow mushrooms are an edible variety that is closely related to the button mushrooms (Agaricus bisphorus) found in grocery stores.

While meadow mushrooms have similar coloration to Chlorophyllum molybdites, the cap and stipe are noticeably thicker.

In addition, the gills and spore print of Agaricus campestris are pink to red in color.

The flesh bruises a reddish-brown color. Meadow mushrooms are another variety that forms fairy rings as they grow.

Thiers’ Lepidella (Amanita thiersii or Saproamanita thiersii)

A Thiers' mushroom (Saproamanita thiersii) in the woods.

Thiers’ lepidella and false parasols have two differentiating features.

Thiers’ lepidella mushrooms have a shaggy cap and stem and their gills remain white at maturity.

They also grow in fairy rings in grassy locations. Thiers’ lepidella is suspected of being toxic, so it is best to avoid it. 

Reddening Lepiota (Leucoagaricus americanus)

A group of reddening Lepiota mushrooms (Leucoagaricus americanus) in the woods.

Reddening Lepiota is a toxic mushroom with a similar appearance to Chlorophyllum molybdites.

As the name suggests, reddening Lepiota turns from white to red as it ages and upon bruising.

This mushroom causes similar gastrointestinal distress to Chlorophyllum molybdites and should also be avoided. 

Be sure to head over to our List of 24 Toxic Mushrooms (with pics) to learn about other dangerous mushrooms to avoid.

Chlorophyllum Molybdites Toxicity

Chlorophyllum molybdites causes gastrointestinal and related symptoms when consumed.

The effects include vomiting, diarrhea, colic, bloody stools, abdominal cramps, sweating, weakness, dizziness, and chills.

These symptoms can lead to hypovolemic shock (shock due to decreased fluid volume in the body). 

Symptoms begin to appear within 1-3 hours after consumption. The average person recovers within 24 hours, but reported recoveries range from 4 hours to 7 days.

For most people, the amount of Chlorophyllum molybdites consumed is directly related to how severe the symptoms are and how long the symptoms last. 

All parts of Chlorophyllum molybdites are poisonous, including the cap, stem, and spores.

There are higher concentrations of toxins in the cap compared to the gills or stem, but all parts contain enough toxins to poison an adult or child.

There is no difference in toxicity between immature and mature false parasols.

Some studies have shown that the amount of toxins in Chlorophyllum molybdites decreases after cooking, but the cooked mushrooms are still considered toxic.

There are some groups of people who can eat cooked false parasols and not have any symptoms of poisonings. 

Additional studies show that different people can have varying degrees of severity of poisoning when consuming the same batch of Chlorophyllum molybdites.

The theory is that the toxins are more or less effective depending on the amount of stomach acid and enzymes present in the stomach. 

The exact toxic compound in Chlorophyllum molybdites has not been identified, and therefore there is no antidote available. 

Are Chlorophyllum Molybdites Poisonous to Dogs?

Chlorophyllum molybdites are poisonous to all animals, including dogs. Dogs tend to have severe reactions due to their small size compared to the size of the mushroom consumed.

Their symptoms are similar to those of humans. 

Chlorophyllum Molybdites vs Parasol Mushrooms 

Chlorophyllum molybdites, also known as false parasol mushrooms, can be nearly identical to parasol mushrooms.

It is not a surefire identifier, but parasol mushrooms tend to have more light-brown scales on the cap, giving them a snakeskin appearance.

However, the more distinguishing differentiator is the green spore print from Chlorophyllum molybdites

Parasol mushrooms are found all over the world and are commonly collected for consumption.

In areas where false parasol mushrooms are not found, there is less concern about misidentification.

However, in environments that have both species, like eastern North America, mushroom foragers should be especially careful. 

Are Chlorophyllum Molybdites Psychedelic?

Chlorophyllum molybdites is not considered psychedelic because it does not contain psilocybin or any other hallucinogenic compounds. 

Does Cooking Make False Parasols Edible?

Studies have shown that cooking false parasols does remove some of the toxins, however, it does not remove 100% of the toxins.

For most people, Chlorophyllum molybdites are still considered poisonous even after cooking. However, some people have reported eating cooked false parasols and have no ill effects. 

How To Get Rid of Chlorophyllum Molybdites

A false parasol mushroom that has been knocked over.

When you see a fairy ring of Chlorophyllum molybdites popping up in your yard, you can immediately remove the fruiting bodies.

By removing the mushrooms when they are still immature, you will prevent spores from spreading.

However, this will not kill the fungus as a majority of the fungal body is located underground. 

To get rid of Chlorophyllum molybdites, you should first remove any debris from your lawn. This includes matted dead grass, plants, decaying leaves, and other organic detritus.

These materials create the perfect environment for fungus, including Chlorophyllum molybdites, to thrive. 

Aerating your lawn will make it a less hospitable environment for Chlorophyllum molybdites.

This can be done by wearing spikes on your shoes (find them here on Amazon) and walking through the grass or using a rolling aerator, like this towing version with 32 self-sharpening knives.

This can be repeated as needed until you see a decrease in mushroom activity. 

Common Fairy Ring Mushrooms

There are estimated to be around 50 species of mushrooms that grow in fairy ring formations. Some of the common varieties are:

  • Meadow mushroom (Agaricus campestris).
  • Fly amanita (Amanita muscaria).
  • Death cap (Amanita phalloides).
  • Purple-spored puffball (Calvatia cyathiformis).
  • Golden chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius).
  • Cloud funnel (Clitocybe nebularis).
  • False parasol (Chlorophyllum molybdites).
  • Shaggy parasol (Chlorophyllum rhacodes).
  • Violet chanterelle (Gomphus clavatus).
  • Common puffball (Lycoperdon perlatum).
  • Parasol mushroom (Macrolepiota procera).
  • Fairy ring mushroom (Marasmius oreades).
  • White knight (Tricholoma album).

Conclusion

This seemingly innocent-looking mushroom is capable of causing severe gastrointestinal distress that can lead to hospitalization.

While it is fortunately not deadly, Chlorophyllum molybdites should still be avoided.

Armed with the information in this article, you will have no issues identifying Chlorophyllum molybdites should you encounter some.