Coprinus comatus

Coprinus comatus
Image Courtesy of Peter Katsaros
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Group of Fungi: Agarics

Family: Agaricaceae

Latin Name: Coprinus comatus (O. F. Müll.) Pers.

Common Name: Shaggy Mane

Description: Total height 3–8 in (7.5–20 cm); cap 2–7 1/2 in tall and 2–3 in (5–7.5 cm) wide, oval to rounded cylindrical at first but becoming bell-shaped and considerably reduced in size as the cap becomes black and inky, upper surface white but shaggy with flattened reddish brown scales; gills very closely spaced, white at first but becoming black and then dissolving (deliquescing) into an inky liquid; stalk 1–7 1/2 in (2.5–19 cm) long, 3/8–3/4 in (1–2 cm) in diameter, smooth and hollow, white; spores black in mass.

Biological Role: Decomposer of litter and humus.

Habitat: On the ground in grassy areas, along roads and trails and other areas where the soil has been disturbed; usually occurring in clusters.

Geographical Distribution: Found throughout North America.

Comments: This is an unmistakable fungus not likely to be confused with anything else. When young and thus before the gills become inky, it is considered to be edible.

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