Don’t cry for me Lacrymaria! – The Weeping Widow

The Weeping Widow (Lacrymaria lacrymabunda) has got to have one of the best common names I’ve heard of even though it has a negative vibe about it. It sounds like a toadstool you should avoid at all costs, but never fear, this mushroom is not poisonous but is in fact edible, though unfortunately a little bitter. I’ve read about a simple recipe where you can cook with butter or deep fry for a while and then serve with a sweet pickle to counteract the twinge of the bitter taste. Worth a try I think. I’ll let you know in a later post if I do…

It’s season is late spring to Autumn. Earlier in June, my father found a group of them at the edge of his garden (near soil and a paved patio). I’ve also found them growing from peoples gravel driveways! But these beauties were found on tufted grass in local park’s car park (near gravel and paving again). So this is interesting to note – as a general rule they tend to grow near (or on) paths and roadsides mainly in short grass.

It’s a medium sized yellow/ochre brown mushroom which is convex shaped which has a persistent central umbo (rounded bump) with a fine ‘fibre’ texture. As it grows older the cap flattens out and the brown coloured centre appears darker. The gills are dark brown/purple.

In it’s early development the upper part of the stem is trapped within the closed cap. Being related to the Ink Cap family (see discussion of this below on Lisa’s comment), it has inky black spores which characteristically leave their mark here. When the cap opens the fibre/cotton-like veil remnants can remain (NOT web-like like a Webcap), giving it a woolly edged appearance.

So why is it called the Weeping Widow? It’s a well earned name, because during moist/damp weather conditions it exudes droplets of water which many books term as ‘weeping’. Makes sense, but not as much as the Widow part!? See examples in the picture below (top left) of how the droplets form on the gills.

Weeping Widow (Lacrymaria velutina)

Medium ochre brown mushroom – The Weeping Widow

Weeping Widow Garden Mushroom

The Weeping Widow is common in gardens too. The top right picture shows the cotton-like veil breaking

3 replies
  1. lisa
    lisa says:

    Nice post, I just found some of these myself! They are not in the Ink Cap (Coprinaceae) family, though. They are Psathyrellaceae.

    Reply
    • J C Harris
      J C Harris says:

      Good point Lisa. It’s probably best not to label it as being ‘solely’ Inkcap in its origins.

      Brittlestems (Psathyrella) and many of the Inkcaps (Coprinus) including The Weeping Widow belong to the Psathyrellaceae family, hence my entry on that point. I’ll keep it in the post though with a note pointing people towards this comment. It’s good to point out.

      In the past it also has been refereed to as an Agarics species and also as Coprinus velutinus (Inkcap), which adds to the confusion!

      And whilst we’re on the subject of names, it’s quite interesting to know that the Shaggy Inkcap (Coprinus commatus), after molecular research (and I believe DNA testing) is in fact closer to being an Agaric, rather than Coprinus. But they are still keeping the name. It was known as Agaricus comatus in the 18th Century. Confusing – hmm!

      Thanks
      John

      Reply

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  1. […] here and there with the Inkcaps were small, young brown caps which I suspected were Weeping Widows (Lacrymaria lacrymabunda / Click here for more information). I checked with all the characteristics and true enough, they […]

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