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Mushrooms Right from Your Farm
Coprinus Comatus - also known as Lawyer's Wig, or Inky Cap
Coprinus mushrooms, and a few other genera of mushrooms, are referred to as Inky Cap mushrooms, because they begin to break down and liquify from the bottom of the cap, upward, once they are mature.
Shaggy Mane is edible, if it is still white, and not turning black. The image to the left shows the mushroom beginning to turn, about the bottom third of the mushroom is already blackened inside and throughout the gills.
Shaggy Mane mushrooms should be harvested, and processed as quickly as possible, because picking them will increase the rate at which they break down, and if you are not prompt, you'll have a puddle of goo instead of an edible mushroom!
This mushroom grows in lawns, compost piles, on disturbed ground, and often at the base of old stumps where the wood from the stump is well decomposed under ground. It is a good mushroom for growing in wood-chip or deep compost gardens.
Shaggy Manes are actually a pretty good sized mushroom. The one shown to the left is about life-size, and it is not the largest one we found. It looks a bit shorter than it is, because of the camera angle.
They emerge from the ground, in a series of bullet shaped protrusions, and the color of the top will be highly dependent upon the moisture in the mushroom - wetter conditions produce a white cap, with white fibrils. Dryer conditions produce a white cap with brown fibrils and a brown disc on the top of the cap. It can look very similar to a Shaggy Parasol in dry conditions, but Shaggy Mane is elongated, and Shaggy Parasol caps are more round when unopened, with a loose ring around the stem which Shaggy Mane does not have. When Shaggy Mane mushrooms are young, the cap edge will still be under the turf or soil or compost, and the stem will be under that - but once they get close to maturity they seem to shoot upward so that the bottom of the cap will stand above the ground.
They are considered one of the easier mushrooms to cultivate outdoors, just scatter the spawn into a suitable habitat. They'll appear in the fall, during cooler or wetter weather spells, or shortly following weather changes.