Shaggy Mane (Coprinus comatus)

Coprinus comatus, the shaggy ink caplawyer’s wig, or shaggy mane, is a common fungus often seen growing on lawns, along gravel roads and waste areas. The young fruit bodies first appear as white cylinders emerging from the ground, then the bell-shaped caps open out. The caps are white, and covered with scales—this is the origin of the common names of the fungus. The gills beneath the cap are white, then pink, then turn black and secrete a black liquid filled with spores (hence the “ink cap” name). This mushroom is unusual because it will turn black and dissolve itself in a matter of hours after being picked or depositing spores. When young it is an excellent edible mushroom provided that it is eaten soon after being collected (it keeps very badly because of the autodigestion of its gills and cap). If long-term storage is desired, microwaving, sauteing or simmering until limp will allow the mushrooms to be stored in a refrigerator for several days or frozen. Also, placing the mushrooms in a glass of ice water will delay the decomposition for a day or two so that one has time to incorporate them into a meal. Processing or icing must be done whether for eating or storage within four to six hours of harvest to prevent undesirable changes to the mushroom. The species is cultivated in China as food.

Scientific (binomial) Name:
Coprinus comatus
My Notes:

These guys are prolific here in Southern Ontario. They really don’t last long, usually only a week or so. I haven’t had a chance to eat these yet. I have found them several times but I read somewhere that some people can have digestion issues with them, but they are also widely consumed, so maybe it is a small minority.

on hymenium
is conical
is free
has a ring
Spore Print
is black