fairy ring

Shaggy Ink Cap

Monday 2nd October 2000, 2/2, West Yorkshire
shaggy ink cap THIS SHAGGY INK CAP, Coprinus comatus, was growing on a grassy slope adjacent to the old colliery branch line at the Runtlings, Ossett, on a landscaped colliery spoil heap. The grass was prominently marked by the circles of Fairy Ring Fungus.

The shaggy ink cap is edible and easy to identify (but don't risk eating any fungus without expert advice). As a hungry art student in London I once collected it on a weekend walk in the Chilterns and tried it fried in butter. But then at that time, when I was out on a solo field trip to Iceland, with a very slender budget, I once enjoyed eating common earthball fungus, which Roger Philips describes as not edible. I expect it depends how hungry you are.

Tasting Notes

Roger Philips describes shaggy ink cap as 'good while gills still white'.

Marcel Bon says 'A good edible fungus in the young state when quite white (though rather watery alone: best in batter with garlic and parsley) but not when blackening.

section of shaggy ink cap I thought about trying it on toast after my walk but I didn't get around to drawing it until the next morning' and by then it was starting to turn.

The gills (cross-section, right) are dark grey, covered on the inside by a whitish layer. It has a hollow stem.

Growing on grass by an old hedged farm track I saw, but didn't pick' a large Horse Mushroom. It looks like a gaint-sized version of the standard supermarket mushroom and is described by Philips as 'excellent' to eat.

A Buff-gilled Fungus

buff-gilled funguscross section of the 'buff gilled' fungusWhen I picked this toadstool I thought that it was perhaps the Greasy Tough-shank but it doesn't look like the picture in the book. The gills were buffish and there is a suggestion of crimped edges around the cap. Between the main gills, which stretch from centre to edge like the spokes of a bicycle wheel, smaller gills are tucked around the edges. It has a solid, fairly tough, page

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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