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Common Inkcap Mushroom

coprinopsis atramentaria
common inkcap mushroom by Alan J Stuart

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The Common Inkcap arises after rain from May until November, usually from tree stumps or buried wood of deciduous hardwood trees, although occasionally in grassland. It has long been associated with orchards, as fallen branches covered over with leaf-mould provide an ideal habitat. It is usually found in clusters.

The grey-brown cap is initially bell-shaped before opening, after which it flattens and disintegrates.


It is a powerfully strong mushroom and has been known to burst through asphalt and even to lift the corners of paving stones where its mycelium has been covered over during the winter months.

The Common Inkcap has a mild taste but is poisonous when consumed in conjunction with alcohol, and the effects are sometimes severe. It is unwise and can be dangerous to eat inkcaps if alcohol has been consumed during the three days before a meal or is likely to be consumed at any time during the three days afterwards.

The black fluid from the mature gills has been used in the past as a good writing ink. It was made by boiling the inky cap with a little water and cloves.

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Copyright © Karen Meadows 2018  

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