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Coprinus micaceus Coprinus micaceus: Mica Cap

was the
Mushroom of the Month
for May 2013

Mica caps are very common mushrooms found around stumps or wood and like shaggy manes are found in suburbia as well as in the woods. Mica caps, and many other species of the genus, Coprinus, are inky caps that auto-digest at the edge of their caps as their spores mature. Spores are reaching maturity and being launched shortly above the auto-digesting region. Mica caps are edible though thin fleshed and have the virtue of growing in large clumps. When you find a mica cap you usually find many of them. I ate mica caps when I was a beginning mushroom hunter but expend my efforts on better mushrooms now. Mica caps fruit from April through October so they are available almost throughout our mushroom season.

The tawny brown to gray caps that can be cinnamon brown near the center are oval when immature soon expanding to a bell-shape and then to convex. The caps are sprinkled with minute glistening whitish particles hence the name mica cap as the caps glisten in the sun much as mica does. The particles are remnants of a universal veil. The caps are ¾ to 2 inches broad and ½ to 1 inch high. Coprinus micaceusThe crowded gills are attached to the stem and are whitish becoming gray to brown then black. The white stems are 1 to three inches tall and 1/8 to ¼ inch thick. The gills partially dissolve into a black, inky mess. The spore print is dark brown to black though hard to obtain due to the liquefying gills and flesh.

This is another mushroom that can deliver a meal in April and May when the morels are not cooperating.