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Glistening Inkcap (Coprinellus Micaceus) Identification

Glistening Inkcap / Spring / Summer / Autumn / Edible

Description 

A common mushroom, very similar looking to the Common Inkcap but they’re much smaller, often growing in massive tight clusters and with a powdery ‘mica’ coating giving them a glistening look.


Scientific Name

Coprinellus Micaceus


Common Names

Glistening Inkcap, Mica Cap, Shiny Cap


Family

Psathyrellaceae


Habitat

On dead wood, logs and stumps of hardwoods. Usually appearing in large tufts or groups. They are quite often found on disturbed sites for example building yards, cars etc.


Identifying Features:

Cap:

They are greyish/brown in colour, conical or bell-shaped when young, they flatten out with age before almost melting into black ink. The cap has tiny furrows running down the length which often split as the mushroom matures. The cap is covered with a fine ‘mica’ coating giving it a ‘glittery’ appearance. This coating is easily washed off in rain.

Strobilomyces, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Stem:

Thin and fibrous, normally white when young turning grey with age.

Holger Krisp, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Gills:

The gills are very crowded and free. When young they are pale in colour but very soon darken before turning into ink. This process is called deliquescing.

EmillimeS, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons


Smell:

Mushroomy.


Spores:

Dark brown to black.


Uses

In food

Unlike the Common Inkcap (Coprinopsis Atramentaria)  which reacts with alcohol and are therefore considered toxic the Glistening Inkcap is an edible species although it has very little nutritional value or taste.

It is best mixed with other mushroom for example in a cream sauce to serve with pasta.

You can pop the caps in a jar with 5% salt and wait a day for them to turn in to black ink and use that as a substitute for squid ink in making black mashed potato or black pasta.

I naturen, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

Harvesting   

Only caps that have the ‘mica’ coating should be harvested. The ‘mica’ coating can be washed off by the rain at which point they look similar to the Common Inkcap (Coprinopsis Atramentaria) which are toxic. The main differences are that the glistening ink cap is more orange/buff in colour, much smaller in size and grow in big stuffed clusters. The Common ink cap is more grey in colour, larger and grows less in big bunches and tufts.


Known hazards

This species can bio-accumulate heavy metals like lead and cadmium, it has been advised to restrict consumption of specimens collected from roadsides or other sites that may be exposed to or contain pollutants.


Potential lookalikes

Only caps that have the ‘mica’ coating should be harvested. The ‘mica’ coating can be washed off by the rain at which point they look similar to the Common Inkcap (Coprinopsis Atramentaria) which are toxic. The main differences are that the glistening ink cap is more orange/buff in colour, much smaller in size and grow in big stuffed clusters. The Common inkcap is more grey in colour, larger and grows less in big bunches and tufts.

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