This widespread mushroom occurs in natural habitats in our area on forest litter and wood, but is most prevalent in gardens and planting beds where it often appears in large quantities during the spring season. It does well in warm, moist weather and this spring did not appear in large numbers until recently because of cooler conditions. It is a brown-spored mushroom (see the lines of spores on the upper side of the ring), with pale gills when young, the partial veil is membranous and may leave a distinct ring on the stem as in the photo but it may also break away when the cap and stem enlarge and may be lost. The caps are usually pale to yellow-brown in color and often crack like dried mud as they develop. Note the white cord(s) extending from the base of the stem. The mushrooms in the photo are not all completely expanded. Note that snails or slugs and squirrels already have been munching on these mushrooms.
Agrocybe praecox is part of the Burke Museum's Mushroom of the Month series.
Photo by J. Ammirati