Coprinellus micaceus

Common Names: Mica cap, shiny cap, glistening inky cap
Category: Fungi
Sub-category: Ink caps

Formerly known as Agaricus micaceus and Coprinus micaceus. Although small and with thin flesh, the mushrooms are usually bountiful, as they typically grow in dense clusters. A few hours after collection, the gills will begin to slowly dissolve into a black, inky, spore-laden liquid-an enzymatic process called deliquescence. Depending on their stage of development, the tawny-brown mushroom caps may range in shape from oval to bell-shaped to convex, and reach diameters up to 3 cm. The caps, marked with fine radial grooves that extend nearly to the center, rest atop whitish stems up to 10 cm long. In young specimens, the entire cap surface is coated with a fine layer of reflective mica-like cells that provide the inspiration for both the mushroom's species name and the common names.

The fruit bodies of the saprobe typically grow in clusters on or near rotting hardwood tree stumps or underground tree roots.

Edible Notes: The fruit bodies are edible before the gills blacken and dissolve, and cooking will stop the autodigestion process. Must be cooked very quickly after picking or else it will turn into black ink. It is considered good for cooking with omlettes and making into sauces. The fungus appeals to fruit flies, who frequently use the fruit bodies as hosts for larvae production, thus making undesirable for consumption by some people.
Warnings: Because the species can bioaccumulate detrimental heavy metals like lead and cadmium, it has been advised to restrict consumption of specimens collected from roadsides or other collection sites that may be exposed to or contain pollutants.