Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Mushrooms of Spring

This could almost be a mystery photo, couldn't it? But I'm going to tell you right up front that it's a shaggy mane mushroom, Coprinus comatus.
In the photo above you can see a whole crop of them sprouting in someone's front lawn. They are said to be delicious, but don't gather the ones that are starting to drip inky black stuff. They are starting to deliquesce, which is the mycological term for decompose. It helps the maturing spores to be in exactly the right spot to float away on puffs of air, thus continuing the species.

They may be kind of creepy when they start dripping, but they sure are cute when they're little. The ones in the photo above were about 3" tall. The one in the photo below was about 7" tall.


PG said...

Yum! They look identical to our shaggy inkcaps, which are delicous and edible before they start darkening and dripping. They are my favourite mushroom to eat, gently fried in butter with a sprinkling of Maldon sea salt, but sadly I find very few where we live.

Amongst The Oaks said...

Yes PG, they are also called inkcaps, and folks have actually used them to make ink. Perhaps you should experiment with that. That would be a conversation point, wouldn't it? Art drawn with ink from mushrooms!