What You Should Know
Parasola leiocephala is a delicate mushroom that starts off narrow and egg-shaped, turning more open and wrinkled as it gets older. It can be pale gray-brown in color. You can find it alone or in small groups in short grass and at the edges of woodlands.
This mushroom is one of those that show up quickly after rain and disappear just as fast. They grow, open up, release their spores, and break down all within a day. By the next morning, you might not even see any trace of them. It's quite common in Europe and North America.
Other names: Bald Inkcap, German (Kahlköpfiger Scheibchentintling), Japan (コツブヒメヒガサヒトヨタケ).
Parasola leiocephala Mushroom Identification
0.39 to 1.57 inches (1 to 4 cm) broad at maturity, at first narrowly ovoid to ellipsoid, expanding to convex, finally nearly plane, the disc sometimes slightly depressed; margin incurved, then decurved, eventually level; surface striate-sulcate to near the disc, the latter, tawny-brown, occasionally tinged rust-brown, elsewhere the ribs pale grayish-buff; context membranous, fragile; odor and taste not distinctive
Free, close to subdistant in age, narrow, pallid, eventually grey to blackish, not deliquescing.
0.98 to 2.56 inches (2.5 to 6.5 cm) long, 1-2 mm thick, round, fragile, more or less equal except for a sub-bulbous base; surface pallid, translucent, glabrous; partial veil absent.
Spores 8.0-11.0 x 7.0-9.5 x 5.0-7.5 µm, heart to apple-shaped to weakly angular in face-view, elliptical with an eccentric germ pore in profile; hilar appendage conspicuous; spores smooth, thin-walled, blackish in deposit.
Solitary, scattered, to gregarious in grassy areas, especially under trees, disturbed ground, and decaying wood chips; fruiting spring, summer, and fall, after periods of moisture.
Parasola leiocephala Look-Alikes
Has larger spores and its gills are attached to a collar around the top of the stem.
Slightly larger and its young caps are a much darker orange-brown; it has minute hairs among its cap cells and grows in woodland habitats and on woodchip mulch.
The latter is larger, more tawny-brown overall, has filamentous cap setae (visible with a strong hand lens), and narrowly attached or barely free gills.
Parasola leiocephala Taxonomy and Etymology
In 1969, British mycologist Peter Darbishire Orton (1916 - 2005) scientifically identified the Parasola leiocephala fungus, naming it Coprinus leiocephala. Later, in 2001, Redhead, Vilgalys & Hopple reorganized many species that were once categorized under the Coprinus genus, using DNA sequencing. This led to the relocation of this fungus and similar small inkcaps to the Parasola genus, resulting in its scientific name changing to Parasola leiocephala.
The specific term "leiocephala" is derived from "leio-", which means smooth, and "cephalus", referring to the head.
Parasola leiocephala Synonyms and Varietes
Coprinus superiusculus Britzelmayr (1883), Bericht des naturhistorischen vereins in Augsburg, 27, p. 183, fig. 132, 173
Pseudocoprinus lacteus A.H. Smith (1946), Journal of the Elisha Mitchell scientific Society, 62(2), p. 191
Coprinus leiocephalus P.D. Orton (1969), Notes from the royal botanic Garden, Edinburgh, 29(1), p. 88
Pseudocoprinus brunneolus McKnight (1970) , Morris Arboretum bulletin, 20(4), p. 73
Parasola lactea (A.H. Smith) Redhead, Vilgalys & Hopple (2001), Taxon, 50(1), p. 236
Parasola brunneola (McKnight) Redhead, Vilgalys & Hopple (2001), Taxon, 50(1), p. 235
Parasola plicatilis var. leiocephala (P.D. Orton) P. Roux & Guy Garcia (2006), Mille et un champignons, p. 13
Parasola leiocephala Video
All photos were taken by the Ultimate Mushroom team and can be used for your own purposes under the Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license.