Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Inky Parasols

I noticed an unexpected visitor during July 4th weekend in one of my strawberry pots. I was surprised to see an inky parasol in July! Members of the mushroom genus Coprinus are called 'inky caps' because the cap turns into a black inky ooze of spores as the mushrooms mature. They usually reach inky stage within a few hours. There are many North American species in this genus (over 200 known species worldwide), including the popular and easy-to-recognize, Shaggy Mane mushroom, Coprinus comatus.

By noon the strawberry Inky was falling apart. I was feeling a little melancholy to see the Inky leaving so soon. Back in February they were popping up in one of my 4x4 potato and onion beds every morning. It was always a delight to see those little round fuzzy caps popping up from underneath the mulch.

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