Shaggy Inkcap

Shaggy Inkcap ©Tom Hibbert

Shaggy Inkcap

Shaggy Inkcap ©Amy Lewis

Shaggy inkcap

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Scientific name: Coprinus comatus
As its name suggests, the shaggy inkcap, or 'lawyer's wig', has a woolly, scaly surface to its bell-shaped toadstools. It is very common and can be seen at the road side, in parklands and even popping up in lawns.

Top facts

Stats

Cap diameter: 5-15cm
Stem height: 10-30cm

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

May to November

About

The shaggy inkcap is an unmistakable fungus - its tall, white, shaggy cap providing this name and also others, such as 'lawyer's wig' and 'shaggy mane'. It is widespread and common on roadside verges, parkland, grassland and gardens, growing in small groups. It is edible when young. Fungi belong to their own kingdom and get their nutrients and energy from organic matter, rather than photosynthesis like plants. It is often just the fruiting bodies, or 'mushrooms', that are visible to us, arising from an unseen network of tiny filaments called 'hyphae'. These fruiting bodies produce spores for reproduction, although fungi can also reproduce asexually by fragmentation.

What to look for

The shaggy inkcap displays a tall, narrow, cylindrical cap that is white and very 'shaggy' with 'scales' over its surface. The cap gradually opens out to a bell shape. The gills are very crowded; they are white at first, then turn pink and eventually black, dissolving from the margin of the cap until it is almost entirely gone. The shaggy inkcap has a tall, smooth, white stem with a moveable ring.

Where to find

Widespread.

Did you know?

Similar to the shaggy inkcap, the snowy inkcap (Coprinus niveus) is much smaller and can be found growing in pastures on horse or cow dung.