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Champignons au marché de Salon-de-Provence

France’s forests and meadows are happy hunting grounds for wild mushrooms, especially in the spring and autumn. If you are looking, remember the rules:

Mushrooms must be carried in a wicker basket. This reduces the chance of good ones mingling with bad ones and accidentally poisoning someone.

Use a knife to cut the mushroom stem. This is to allow part of the stem to survive and leave spores for future mushrooms.

Don’t forage on private property. There may also be local limits as to how many cèpes or other mushrooms each person can gather. Don’t expect any local to tell you where to find them, either— that’s top secret information!

If you are in doubt about a mushroom, take it to a pharmacy and ask. Every year roughly 1000 people get seriously ill from eating poisonous mushrooms because some bad ones closely resemble the good ones. Don’t take the risk; French pharmacists are trained to know.

I’ve included the most common edible ones; for more details see the Atlas de Champignons (in French).

amanite rougissante


amanite vaginata



mushroom or artichoke dish

bolet granule

weeping or granulated bolet

boule de neige

horse mushroom—or a dessert

cèpe bronzé

dark cep or bronze bolete

cèpe de Bordeaux

penny bun

cèpe des pins

pine bolete

cèpe d’été

summer cep

champignons de Paris

button mushrooms

clitocybe odorant

aniseed toadstool

coprin chevelu

shaggy ink cap


parasol mushroom

cèpes à la bordelaise

mushrooms with shallots and parsley


finely chopped mushrooms


giant mushrooms



lactaire sanguin

saffron milk cap

lépiote pudique

white dapperling

marasme des Oréades

fairy ring mushroom




St. George’s mushroom

oreille de Judas

wood ear

oronge or amanite des césars

Caesar’s mushroom

pied de mouton

hedgehog mushroom


wood blewit


oyster or tree mushroom

rosé des près

field or meadow mushroom

russule charbonnière

charcoal burner

trompette des morts

horn of plenty



vesse de loup géante

giant puffball

Text © Dana Facaros

Image by Jjpetite, Creative Commons License