Coprinopsis atramentaria: The Ultimate Mushroom Guide
About The Coprinopsis atramentaria Mushroom
Coprinopsis atramentaria, commonly known as the common ink cap or inky cap, is an edible (but sometimes poisonous, when combined with alcohol) mushroom found in Europe and North America.
Inky caps are a group of mushrooms that have an unusual method of distributing their spores. Members of the group digest their own cap. The gills are located on the undersurface of the cap and bear the reproductive spores. As autodigestion takes place, the cap and gills change into a black, gooey liquid. The spores aren't digested, however. They are released in the liquid and exposed to air currents, enabling them to be carried to new areas.
It is a widespread and common fungus found throughout the northern hemisphere. Clumps of mushrooms arise after rain from spring to autumn, commonly in urban and disturbed habitats such as vacant lots and lawns, as well as grassy areas.
In former times black secretion of the Coprinopsis atramentaria Mushroom was used as ink
Synonyms: Agaricus atramentarius, Agaricus fimetarius, Agaricus luridus, Agaricus plicatus, Agaricus sobolifer, Coprinus atramentarius, Coprinus luridus, Coprinus plicatus, Coprinus sobolifer, Pselliophora atramentaria.
Coprinopsis atramentaria Identification
Shiny grey/brown or sometimes quite pink, smooth, darker in the middle and initially bell-shaped becoming furrowed and then splitting before deliquescing.
White and crowded turning to grey than black and deliquescing, melting to black ink.
White to off white, smooth and leaving a skirt-like ring near the base of the stem.
Flesh: White to pale gray throughout; thin; soft.
Spore print: Black
Coprinopsis atramentaria Habitat
Like many ink caps, it grows in tufts. It is commonly associated with buried wood and is found in grassland, meadows, disturbed ground, and open terrain from late spring to autumn.
Fruiting bodies have been known to push their way up through the asphalt and even tennis courts. It is also common in urban areas and appears in vacant lots, and tufts of fungi can be quite large and fruit several times a year. If dug up, the mycelium can often be found originating on buried deadwood.
Also found in the mountains under Aspen and Conifers.
Coprinopsis atramentaria Taxonomic
The common ink cap was first described scientifically in 1786 by the French botanist and mycologist Jean Baptiste Francois Pierre Bulliard, who named it Agaricus atramentarius. (Most gilled fungi were initially dumped into a gigantic Agaricus genus.) The great Swedish mycologist Elias Magnus Fries transferred this species to the genus Coprinus in 1838, and there as Coprinus atramentarius it resided until DNA analysis by Redhead, Vilgalys & Moncalvo resulted, in 2001, in the genus Coprinus being reduced to very few species. Most of the inkcaps are now in new genera sited within the family Psathyrellaceae.
Synonyms of Coprinopsis atramentaria include Agaricus atramentarius Bull., Agaricus luridusBolton, Agaricus sobolifer Hoffm., Agaricus plicatus Pers., Coprinus atramentarius (Bull.) Fr., and Coprinus plicatus (Pers.) Gray.
Coprinopsis atramentaria Etymology
The generic name Coprinopsis indicates that this mushroom genus is similar to the genus Coprinus, which literally means 'living on dung' - that's true of quite a few of the inkcaps but not particularly apt for this and several other species. The specific epithet atramentaria comes from the Latin 'atramentum' meaning a very dark or black substance, in particular a liquid such as ink.
Common names change with time and location. In America, the terms Inky Cap or Inky-cap are most commonly used, while in many older field guides published in Britain you are likely to see Ink Cap or Ink-cap rather than Inkcap.
Coprinopsis atramentaria and Alcohol
Coprine is considered to be a mycotoxin—a toxin that comes from a fungus. The combination of common inky caps and alcohol produces unpleasant symptoms but doesn't seem to be dangerous.
Recovery is apparently complete, although it's possible that secondary effects could be serious. There has been at least one report of an esophageal rupture due to excessive vomiting after consuming common inky caps and alcohol.
Symptoms of coprine toxicity include:
Flushed skin and a warm sensation
Rapid heartbeat and palpitations
A tingling sensation in the arms and legs
A metallic taste in the mouth
If symptoms are severe or last for a long time, medical aid should be sought. It's also important to note that the symptoms listed above can have other causes besides mushroom poisoning.
How to Turn Coprinopsis Atrament Into Ink
Pick Inky Caps as they appear during months between autumn and spring and use immediately.
To turn them into ink, place the mushroom onto a saucer and store at room temperature for a few days ... the mushroom disintegrates and become ink.
If you want to keep the ink, pour it into a bottle and add a preservative, one part of formalin to twenty of the ink.
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