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SHAGGY INKCAP

LAWYER'S WIG

Coprinus comatus

Inkcap (1) Family [Agaricaceae]  

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27th Sept 2002, Burneside, Kendal, Cumbria. Photo: © RWD
Elongated egg shaped and brilliant white cap covered in what look like scales or feathers. The very top of the mushroom is a fawny brown colour. The stipe is also white, with a narrow rim half-way up.


8th Oct 2008, Bosley, Macclesfield Canal. Photo: © RWD
The scales are what gives it its' shaggy name. The cap soon starts turning black at the lower extremity, which also starts to curl up.


8th Oct 2008, Bosley, Macclesfield Canal. Photo: © RWD
The mushroom dissolves in its own water from the bottom upwards releasing a black fluid, or 'ink' containing the spores.


8th Oct 2008, Bosley, Macclesfield Canal. Photo: © RWD
The 'scales' really do look like short bird feathers.


8th Oct 2008, Bosley, Macclesfield Canal. Photo: © RWD
Soon the whole mushroom has turned to ink from the periphery upwards.


8th Oct 2008, Bosley, Macclesfield Canal. Photo: © RWD
Into a messy black liquid leaving just the apex of the cap on the stipe.


Some similarities to : Magpie Inkcap, Common Inkcap and Snow-White Inkcap, but Shaggy Inkcap looks like it is covered in small short bird feathers.

Somewhat surprisingly the mushroom is edible and good to eat even when raw, but only before it starts to turn to a viscous black fluid. Alas, the mushroom soon starts to deteriorate when picked, and cannot be stored frozen. Once grown commercially for public consumption, they are no longer because of the very short shelf life. It has a salty flavour and a pleasant smell.

The crowded and shrouded gills beneath, white at first, turn first pink, then to black liquid as they liquefy. The black liquid also contains the spores, ready to propagate the species in the immediate vicinity.

The white stem or stipe has a narrow rim, which is mobile, consisting of no more than a 'stocking-like' sheath around the stem which slowly rolls downwards. The stipe is persistent, remaining when the mushroom has almost completely dissolved apart from the top-most part, which is left like a black-rimmed parasol.

There are two distinct populations of Inkcap, this one is in on its own in the Agaricaceae Family whereas all the others others are in the Brittlestem Family [Psathyrellaceae]. Both dissolve themselves into a black liquid.

Mainly grouped together on shortish grassland or waste ground.


  Coprinus comatus  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Agaricaceae  

SHAGGY INKCAP

LAWYER'S WIG

Coprinus comatus

Inkcap (1) Family [Agaricaceae]  

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