Shaggy Inkcap - Coprinus comatus

Main features

  • Fruits Spring to early Winter

  • Grows in grassland

  • Found in groups of tightly packed fruit bodies

  • Mid mushroom smell

  • Cap starts off egg-shaped, becoming and elongated bell-shape

  • White cap covered in curved scales

  • Caps up to 15cm tall and 5cm wide

  • Fragile, hollow, white stem up to 30cm tall and 1 - 1.5cm wide

  • Has a movable ring that often drops down the stem

  • Flesh is white turning grey-black

  • The gills are crowded and adnexed or free

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

  • Spore print is black

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Shaggy Inkcap - Coprinus comatus

Edible mushroom - novice

Other common names: Lawyer's Wig, Shaggy Mane

 

Scientific name meaning: Coprinus comes from The Greek Kupros, meaning dung, because many species within the genus grow on dung. Comatus is Latin, meaning long haired

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

Habitat - where will I find it? In grassland

Description - what does it look like? 

Growth: The Shaggy Inkcap is a saprobic fungi growing in grass. It can be found fruiting as individuals, groups, lines and in rings

Cap: Starting off very egg-shaped, the white cap is covered in curved scales. The scales, especially near the centre of the cap, often ave a brown tint. As the cap ages, it becomes an elongated bell-shape of around 5cm wide and up to 15cm tall. It begins to deliquesce from the edge

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

Flesh: White to grey-black

Stem: Fragile, hollow and white to grey black. It can reach 30cm tall and  1 - 1.5cm wide. It has a movable stem ring that often falls to the base of the stem

Smell: Mild mushroom

Spore colour: Black

Possible lookalikes The Magpie Inkcap (Coprinopsis picacea) could be confused, but it has white scales on a dark grey-black cap surface that are more obvious with age

Use as a food Must be consumed quickly after gathering before it deliquesces. It is still good for soups, stews and stocks when it begins to deliquesce

Use in herbal medicine Has been researched for its antiandrogenic and blood sugar lowering properties

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!