Glistening Inkcap - Coprinellus micaceus

Main features

  • Fruits Spring to early Winter

  • Grows on dead and rotting deciduous wood

  • Found in groups of tightly packed fruit bodies

  • Mid mushroom smell

  • Cap starts off egg-shaped, becoming bell-shaped and then flattening with age

  • White powdery grains appear on the caps of younger specimens

  • Grains on cap glisten in the light

  • Striated caps 2 - 4cm wide

  • Fragile white stem, browning at base, up to 10cm tall and 2 - 6mm wide

  • Has no ring

  • Stem has a swollen base

  • Flesh is white turning brown then grey with age

  • The gills are crowded and adnexed or free

  • The gills started off white, then turn purple-brown, then black before deliquescing (turning to ink)

  • Spore print is dark brown to black

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Glistening Inkcap - Coprinellus micaceus

Edible mushroom - novice

Other common names: Mica Cap, Brownie Mushroom, Glistening Coprinus

 

Scientific name meaning: Coprinellus comes from The Greek Kupros, meaning dung, and the Latin suffix Ellus, which makes the noun it is attached to diminutive. This is because of Glistening Inkcap's link to the genus Coprinus, many species within which grow on dung. So, the name is a reference to looking like a small Coprinus. Micaceus is derived from the Latin Mica, meaning small crumb or morsel

Season - when will I find it? From Spring to early Winter
 

Habitat - where will I find it? On dead and rotting deciduous wood

Description - what does it look like? 

Growth: The Glistening Inkcap is a saprobic fungi growing on dead and rotting deciduous wood. It is usually found as a mass of fruit bodies tightly packed together

Cap: Starting off very egg-shaped, the tan-coloured cap is covered in white grains and has a striated surface. These glisten if moved around in the light. As they age, the cap becomes more bell-shaped and the grains more dispersed. In older specimens, the grains are usually gone.

Around 2 to 4cm wide, the brown-coloured cap, which is darker in the centre, becomes grey with age. It flattens out before the gills deliquesce

Gills: The adnexed to free gills start off white and crowded. As the mushroom matures the gills turn purple-brown and eventually black before deliquescing (dissolving into a sticky ink-like substance)

Flesh: White to white-brown to grey

Stem: Fairly fragile and white, but brownish near the base. It is 3 - 10cm tall and 2 - 6mm wide

Smell: Mild mushroom

Spore colour: Dark-brown to black

Possible lookalikes The Fairy Inkcap (Coprinellus dessiminatus) could be confused, but its fruits are much smaller and lack the white grains. It is also edible

Use as a food Must be consumed before it deliquesces. Dissolves quite quickly upon cooking and not considered the best tasting, so best used as a soup or stock base

Use in herbal medicine A limited amount of research has been undertaken into the use of Glistening Inkcap in the inhibition of the growth of certain cancers. It is also believed to have antimicrobial properties, based o research undertaken on its close relatives

If you are suffering from any ailment or need medical advice, please see your General Practitioner

Hazards This mushroom must be cooked before it deliquesces. It also bioaccumulates heavy metals such as lead and cadmium, so avoid harvesting from roadsides or areas known to have heavy metals within the soil

Importance to other species Provides food for a the larvae of a number of fly species

Always stay safe when foraging. You need to be 100% sure of your identification, 100% sure that your foraged item is edible, and 100% sure that you are not allergic to it (it is good practice to always try a small amount of any new food you are consuming). If in doubt, leave it out!