Sunday, October 2, 2011

Shaggy Mane Mushrooms starting to drip ink...

As autumn seeps into the Little Miami River valley, stealing the green from the leaves and tipping them with reds and yellows, Shaggy Mane mushrooms start popping up along the bike trail and the forest's edge. I usually see them in the areas that have been cut back or mowed. It's easy to see how they got their common name because they really do look like a shaggy mane, which also accounts for their other nickname, lawyer's wig...

Shaggy Mane Mushrooms, Coprinus comatus
The shaggy fungi were growing all along the Little Miami bike trail. The cooler temperatures of the past couple of days coaxed them out, and they stood like little sentinels of the autumn season.

Shaggy mane mushrooms are edible, but I don't know how to cook them! I did find a recipe for Shaggy Mane Potato Leek Soup in the book, "Chanterelle Dreams, Amanita Nightmares--The Love, Lore and Mystique of Mushrooms," by Greg A. Marley. Click here for the recipe in the online preview of this book (go to page 58). I just ordered the book...it looks interesting!

Shaggy mane mushrooms are part of Clyde Christensen's "Foolproof Four," which are four types of mushrooms that are edible, easy to find, and don't have dangerous look-alikes that can kill you! Apparently Mr. Christensen wrote the book "Common Edible Mushrooms" (1943) to turn "mycophobes" into mycophiles, and it worked. There is an entire section devoted to Christensen's Foolproof Four in Marley's book (click here, page 31). You can also find references to the Foolproof Four here. (If you're curious, the Foolproof Four are morels, puffballs, sulphur mushrooms, and shaggy manes.)

...and here we see where the genus (Coprinus) gets its common name, "inky caps." When the fruit matures, the gills undergo self-digestion and "melt" (deliquescence) from the bottom up forming an inky mess that allows the mushroom to release spores (click here for details on this process). Strangely enough, the inky black liquid really was used as ink for writing!

22 comments:

rebeccainthewoods said...

Love! I wish we had some popping up here that I could enjoy! I keep hearing about the abundance of mushrooms in Ohio right now, but I've hardly seen any up here in Wisconsin - too dry all summer, I suppose.

TexWisGirl said...

they remind me of little Cousin Itts. :)

Elaine said...

We get lots of these in our lawn in the late summer. They get picked but not eaten. Love the box turtle in your last post!

Wanda..... said...

I knew morels and puffballs were edible, but had no idea the other two were. The shaggy manes are very interesting mushrooms, there are a few here, but it's mostly sulfur and puffballs at the moment. Thanks or the links, Kelly.

Jeremy Medina said...

Wow, that's crazy weird! We don't get many mushrooms here in the desert.

Carole Meisenhelter said...

how beautiful these photos; and 'quaint' mushrooms at that. Interesting to note the ink really was used to write with at some time too.

Randy Emmitt said...

Kelly,

I've seen hundereds of mushrooms. These are new to me, very cool post and lovely photos.

Cicero Sings said...

I have them growing in my lawn for the first time this year.

Sue said...

Kelly-such a pretty shot of these. But, I still don't trust any mushroom I would pick!
:D

Hilke Breder said...

Hi Kelly,
Beautiful close-ups. I used to collect and cook them, before they melted into Inky Caps, when living in Iowa - they are delicious. Sadly I haven't seen them in the Northeast. To cook them, I just cleaned and trimmed them and put them into a skillet with a small amunt of butter, add salt and pepper to your liking, and they are done in minutes. They are so unique - you can't mistake them for any other types of mushrooms.
Cheers,
Hilke Breder

Tammy@Simple Southern Happiness said...

try again, need coffee before posting.
~~~~~~~~~~
This was one informative post BOTH for the superb photography and for the information. I have only captured one Ink Cap (different shape than yours) and it vanished so quickly, now I know it melted.
Amazing Inky you have and you sure captured such detail.

Grizz………… said...

One of my favorite mushrooms for the table and, IMHO, the best of the fall fungi offerings. I just sauté them in a bit of butter and salt, add them into omelets with a bit of onion and green pepper, or for supper, as a compliment to beef tips. If I have a lot, they go in stews, or are dried for later use. You want to pick and use them before they begin to show their "ink."

While I haven't see an abundance of shaggy manes hereabouts, the puffballs are everywhere. On a recent drive I counted twenty-three in a single group alongside a road near the cottage. There must have been upwards of seventy-five visible within the next quarter mile. I've never seen anything like it before—must have been the perfect situation this time around.

Great post and pix. I'm just fixing to head out for a ramble. Now I'll have to do some mushrooming as I go…

KAT said...

very interesting ! Im going to go look for them...so pretty looking

- KAT -

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Kelly, Great photos of the mushrooms. We haven't had enough rain here to have many this year... We had no rain in July/Aug--and then had too much at one time in Sept.. Now--it's dry again.. Crazy year for us!!!
Hugs,
Betsy

Laure Ferlita said...

Girl, you need to dip your brush in some of that "ink" and render a shroom or two in your sketchbook!!

Kelly said...

Rebecca...they are everywhere. I saw a slew at Fort Ancient yesterday. We were so dry all summer, but the past couple of weeks have been rain. Just enough to bring them to life!

hahaha! You're so right, Tex (I love your nickname)! :-)

Elaine...I've never eaten them either, but Grizz just left a nice recipe...maybe I'll give it a try!

Wanda...funny...just down the river a little, and all I saw was Shaggy Manes....further up at Fort Ancient, all I saw was Amanitas...yikes! The deadly mushrooms!

Jeremy...but you get so many other cool things in the desert!!

Carole...they are kind of quaint...and very "mushroomy" looking! :-)

...thanks, Randy! Head up our way! I wanted to go back today to see how they were faring, but didn't have time.

Cicero...first time! Conditions must be just right. They like to grow on lawns and disturbed soil.

Sue...I'm still a scaredy-cat too!

...thanks, Hilke. That's true....they really are unique. You and Grizz seem to know what to do. I might try it the next time I see fresh Shaggy Manes. It's probably the one mushroom I couldn't mess up!

...thanks, Tammy! I wish I could have gotten back today to see how long it takes them to melt. I think I'm going to be tied up tomorrow too...

Thanks, Grizz. I would like them in omelets, definitely! Funny...we are on the same river, and down here I've not seen any puffballs!! I did see Amanitas yesterday at Fort Ancient...lots of them! Yikes... I wonder if you found any Shaggies on your walk today!

...thanks, Kat! Let me know if you find any.

Betsy...we didn't have any rain this summer...June-August, but the last two weeks were rainy. Now it looks like it's dried up again!

:-) Hi Laure! Check out today's post. I did sketch some saplings... I need to sketch a few mushrooms too.

Kerri said...

These are so awesome! I've seen these before but I didn't know what they were! Your blog is not only beautiful but educational as well :)

Kelly said...

...thanks, Kerri!! I started my blog to teach my family and friends about birds because they were always asking me about the birds they saw, but while I'm out birding there are so many other things to see too... :-)

Guy said...

Hi Kelly

Great shot of the mushrooms I have never seen that before it quite interesting.

Thanks
Guy

Mary said...

Wow..those are really odd! I've never seen one.

Gaina said...

We have those in England and call them Shaggy Ink Caps. I remember my Environmental Studies teacher first showing them to us when I was about 10.

I love Fungi, the range of shapes, sizes and colours is astounding :).

Angela said...

As these shaggy mushrooms sit on the forest floor I can just imagine a little mice coming to them for shelter from the rain. Love your photos they are so awesome. Thanks for sharing.