Don’t confuse the mane with the magpie.

I saw this strange fungus on the walking path last week, and wondered if it were a puffball type. My nephew saw the photo on Instagram and told me it looked like Shaggy Mane Fungus. I thought he might be joking, but Wikipedia gave me the straight scoop: It is indeed Shaggy Mane, a.k.a. Coprinus comatus. “This mushroom is unusual because it will turn black and dissolve itself in a matter of hours after being picked or depositing spores…” It grows “in places which are often unexpected, such as green areas in towns.” The ones I saw were just up the bank from the creek. You can cook and eat the Shaggy Mane — I guess if you do so before it “dissolves itself.”

We are warned not to confuse it with the magpie fungus, Coprinopsis picacea, which is poisonous, and looks like this one, at right.

Or with the common inkcap fungus, Coprinopsis atramentaria, whose botanical name also starts with Coprin-, but whose form is nothing similar.

I’ll be interested to see what condition my specimens are in next time I meet them.

13 thoughts on “Don’t confuse the mane with the magpie.

  1. Scary! I watched a Mary Berry show where she was foraging for mushrooms and it seemed difficult to tell which are edible and which are deadly. Yikes! But then again, I am a big fan of toadstools. You’re a good botanist.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We had lots of shaggy mane in Carmel inside the back gate in the service yard where we kept the woodpile and such. The strange thing was how prolific it was, popping right up through the gravel. And yes it turns into a black puddly pile as it matures.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, my! The sacred “puffball” in my Japanese Literature Challenge 12 photo does look like this! What a remarkable similarity. As I replied to your comment, I only know that the white thing in mine is something sacred, but I ask you, “What could be more sacred than something God made?” I’m glad you pointed this photo comparison out to me, and I am also so glad you are joining in. The Great Passage seems like a good place to start. Xo


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