Magpie Inkcap (Coprinopsis picacea) Identification

Magpie Inkcap / Autumn / Toxic


Enter the realm of caution as we unveil the hidden dangers of the Magpie Inkcap (Coprinopsis picacea), a mushroom that demands respect for its toxic nature.

Join us on a journey of awareness and safety as we delve into the risks associated with this intriguing fungus. With its distinctive black and white appearance resembling the plumage of a magpie, the Magpie Inkcap may catch your eye, but it holds a potentially harmful secret. Learn to identify its unique features, explore its preferred habitats, and understand the potential dangers it poses. Consuming the Magpie Inkcap can lead to severe gastrointestinal distress and other adverse health effects. Let this serve as a reminder of the importance of accurate identification, responsible foraging practices, and prioritizing personal safety. Respect the perils that nature presents, and navigate the world of mushrooms with informed caution. Stay vigilant, for the Magpie Inkcap stands as a stark reminder of the hidden dangers that can lurk within the natural world.

Scientific name

Coprinopsis picacea




Magpie inkcaps grow in deciduous woodland, preferring beech trees and alkaline soils. Occasionally they can be found in damp shady grassland. Often a single mushroom or very small numbers grow in one spot.


Magpie inkcaps are bell shaped mushrooms with a long white stem and an awful smell.

Henk Monster, CC BY 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons


Identifying features of the Magpie Inkcap:


Dark brown cap with white fibrils, starting off egg shaped,  becoming long bell shaped. The cap can reach upto 7cm, at maturity the cap will start to deliquescing (liquifying into its spore mass)

Katya from Moscow, Russia, CC BY-SA 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons


Björn S…, CC BY-SA 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Tall white stem which is floccose (covered in wooly tufts) its bulbous at the base.


Adnate or free gills which are white, turning red then black as they deliques


Muck, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Strong unpleasant chemical smell




Can be used as an ink for writing

In Food

This mushroom is toxic and must not be eaten

Known Hazards


Potential lookalikes 

Shaggy inkcap, which have a shaggy cap – looking like a lawyers wig and without the black lines of the Magpie Inkcap – the shaggy inkcap is edible

Common inkcap – without the black lines of the magpie – best avoided too


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