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Shaggy Mane Fruiting Bodies Dissolving

10-30-15Shaggy Mane, Coprinus comatus, is one of a group of mushrooms known as Inky Caps. Both of these common names reflect the appearance of the mushroom at different stages of its development – the cap has white, shaggy scales, and as the mushroom matures its gills liquefy into a black substance that was once used as ink. Most Inky Caps have gills that are very thin and very close to one another, which does not allow for easy release of the spores. In addition, the elongated shape of this mushroom does not allow for the spores to get caught in air currents as in most other mushrooms. The liquification/self-digestion process is actually a strategy to disperse spores more efficiently. The gills liquefy from the bottom up as the spores mature. Thus the cap peels up and away, and the maturing spores are always kept in the best position for catching wind currents. This continues until the entire fruiting body has turned into black ink.

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6 responses

  1. Thanks for your continued exploration, research and sharing. I am nearly always ASTONISHED by what you reveal to my “blind” eyes and so appreciate it!

    October 30, 2015 at 8:43 am

  2. Caitlin Hilton


    October 30, 2015 at 12:31 pm

  3. Dede Heath

    Once, several years ago, I gathered a few shaggy manes & made a sauce for fish with them, adding a bit, of white wine to the sauce. Only once: I was fine, so I could drive husband to the emergency room, as he was not fine at all. No more shaggy manes on our dinner table. Interesting to look at, looking only!

    October 30, 2015 at 1:04 pm

  4. Fascinating, as always!

    October 30, 2015 at 8:38 pm


    Is this mushroom at all edible? Thank you. Katherine J. Holle

    October 30, 2015 at 10:31 pm

  6. Jean Harrison

    Yes, but be sure it’s nice and fresh and white. Cook it within a few hours of picking, or it might start turning into black liquid. I find it okay but nothing special. But if a lot are available, you might as well eat them.

    October 31, 2015 at 12:51 am

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