From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
showing various growth stages
|gills on hymenium|
|cap is flat|
|hymenium is free|
|stipe has a ring and volva|
|spore print is white|
|ecology is mycorrhizal|
Although it is generally considered poisonous, deaths from its consumption are extremely rare, and it is eaten as a food in parts of Europe, Asia, and North America after parboiling. Amanita muscaria is noted for its hallucinogenic properties, with its main psychoactive constituent being the compound muscimol. It was used as an intoxicant and entheogen by the peoples of Siberia and has a religious significance in these cultures. There has been much speculation on traditional use of this mushroom as an intoxicant in places other than Siberia; however, such traditions are far less well documented. The American banker and amateur ethnomycologist R. Gordon Wasson proposed that the fly agaric
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
THE SHAGGY MANE MUSHROOM
Scientific name: Coprinus comatus
This Shaggy Mane mushroom's cap has begun melting into black goo.
About one-half actual size.
The Shaggy Mane mushroom (Coprinus comatus; see photo, above) is a very common, visually distinctive mushroom with a really nice flavor. The Shaggy Mane mushroom is quite popular, and is among the four mushrooms author Clyde M. Christensen listed back in 1943 as "the fool-proof four." Personally, I don't consider any edible wild mushroom to be fool-proof—the fools Christensen had met apparently weren't of the same calibre as some of the ones I have met!
The Shaggy Mane mushroom's most salient hallmarks are the bulletlike shape of its cap, which is reliably covered with delicate white scales—one cannot handle the Shaggy Mane mushroom without getting bits of those white scales on his hands—and the fact that the mushroom's cap "melts" into an inky black goo, starting at the edge of the cap (see photo, below). Be sure that the Shaggy Mane mushroom is at least four inches or so in height with a weight of several ounces each; this will rule out much smaller, more delicate species, including some dangerous Lepiotas and several small "edibility uncertain" species of Coprinus. Though the Shaggy Mane mushroom is a gilled mushroom, its gills are very tightly packed; the beginner might not even immediately recognize them as gills. Nonetheless, it is important that the mushroom hunter checks to make sure that her specimens do have gills before cooking and eating them.
The Shaggy Mane mushroom fruits on the ground, primarily on lawns but even on bare ground—it has even been known to push up through gravelly, hard-packed soil or old pavement! Its season runs from spring through autumn (it's not unusual to find it on the same lawn in the spring and again that same fall). As with all wild foods, it is very important to avoid collecting specimens from contaminated habitats; I have seen a massive fruiting of the Shaggy Mane mushroom on a polluted industrial "brownfield."
The entire genus Coprinus is noted for "melting" into black goo (which contains huge numbers of spores!), hence they are, as a group, commonly called "Inky Caps." If one notes the robust size and the distinctive scales of the Shaggy Mane mushroom, there's only one species (actually, it's probably a group of several different closely related species) with which it is likely to be confused by a reasonably careful person: The Scaly Inky Cap (C. variegatus = C. quadrifidus; see photo, below), which has whitish scales but lacks the Shaggy Mane mushroom's overall white color. Some people do eat C. variegatus, but I strongly advise against that, as it has been known to cause gastrointestinal symptoms for some folks and also seems to react very unpleasantly with alcohol in people who've consumed both within a period of a few days (for more information on this phenomenon, see COPRINE on the Poisonous American Mushrooms webpage).
One other mushroom in genus Coprinus, the so-called "Alcohol Inky" (Coprinus atramentarius, see photo below), is also noted for its toxicity when eaten in conjunction with alcoholic beverages. It is far less likely to be mistaken for the Shaggy Mane mushroom, but the wise mushroom hunter will nevertheless be aware of it so as to prevent the possibility of adverse reactions.
There's a lot more information about the Shaggy Mane mushroom and other choice edible wild mushroom species
in my best-selling book, Edible Wild Mushrooms of North America.