Fairy Inkcap – Coprinellus Disseminatus

Fungi and lichen can be two quite difficult groups of wildlife to learn, and I must confess this is the first year I’ve really made an effort to learn to identify some of them. One of the difficulties is that they frequently lack common names, and holding the latin names in your head is somehow much more difficult!

Enter the Fairy Inkcap! This charmingly named mushroom is related to the familiar common and shaggy inkcaps, but is sufficiently distinctive to allow it to be quite easily identified.

The fruiting bodies start off a bright white colour, and gradually darken to black over a period of just two or three days, though they do not dissolve altogether into a puddle of black ink as some other inkcaps do.

They are often found in large clumps, giving rise to their alternative name of Trooping Inkcaps. They can be found from spring until early winter, and are frequently found on decaying wood. The name Corprinellus refers to a tendency to grow on dung, but the Fairy Inkcap is more likely to be found on dead rotten wood and vegetation.

The caps vary in size from around 0.5cm to 1.5cm, and the smaller ones can look extremely delicate when new, as in the picture above.

By Chris Eyles, Senior Warden for Exmoor

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