Inky Cap Mushrooms

“Quick—get your camera and meet me down where we piled the sheep manure!”

Not exactly the kind of quote you hear often, is it? David was quick to notice inky cap mushrooms that had grown out of the mass of manure and thought it might make an interesting blog entry. He was right.

“Coprinoid” or Inky Cap Mushrooms get their name from their caps which disintegrate, sometimes, within hours (hence the “quick” command). We’ve all seen the species at one time or another. Usually, you’ll find these mushrooms in manure, rotting wood, or forest debris because they help in the decomposition of these materials.

If you’ve ever noticed a small collection of colored “dust” on a leaf or piece of bark near mature mushrooms, you’ve probably witnessed a “spore print.” These are spores which have been released by the mushroom. The Coprinoid caps actually begin in an oval shape and as they mature, the gills liquefy, gently disintegrating. This is their method of reproducing; the spores are picked up and deposited by the wind. 

The urgency was necessary after all; the Inky Caps were gone the next day.


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