Inky Caps
Ink Bottle

Their mass rotted off them flake by flake
Til the thick stalk stuck like a murderer's stake,
Where rags of loose flesh yet tremble on high
Infecting the winds that wander by.


Inky caps are conical mushrooms with grey to black gills that release their black spores when the cap disintegrates and turns into ink. The hollow stalk is usually white. This group is very easy to recognize, even for beginners.

These saprophytic (decomposer) mushrooms grow on lawns, pastures and manured habitats, disturbed habitats, and empty lots in urban and suburban settings, often in great quantity, returning year after year.

Some species, like the shaggy mane, are choice. One species, the alcohol inky cap, can make you temporarily ill if you consume alcohol within hours of eating it. And some small species, such as the mica cap, are as tasteless as my jokes, nonpoisonous, but not worthwhile as food.

Although some individuals may experience adverse reactions after consuming inky caps, (possible with any mushrooms) there are no poisonous large inky caps. Some species too small for food are of unknown edibility, and some that grow on dung may be poisonous or hallucinogenic.

Pick them before they turn into ink. Ink really isn't good to eat (or drink)! Cook the mushrooms the same day, or you might have a bagful of ink in your refrigerator the next day.

Alcohol Inky Cap
Alcohol Inky Cap
Mica Cap
Mica Cap
Shaggy Mane
Shaggy Dogs
Shaggy Mane Mushroom