This mushroom has a long fruiting season and depending on what time it is discovered, it can appear to be a different fungus altogether…
I have come across the Hare’s Foot Inkcap (Coprinopsis lagopus / Coprinus lagopus) as early as May right through to the late autumn months. It gets its common English name from the way the young ‘furry-like’ fruiting body is reminiscent of a hare’s foot – albeit poking up from the ground (hence my tasteless post title).
This Inkcap mushroom is usually found in small groups and matures into relatively tall specimens (up to 12 or 13cm in some cases). They’re usually found on soil or leaf litter in woodland (sometimes in rarer field scenarios).
But quite often, as in this case, they especially seem to enjoy taking to wherever there has been man made disturbance in woodland. There had been a huge pile of woodchip/bark mulch, left by the recent activity of forestry workers. There were dozens of them, in several groups spread across one side of the large mound.
The white(ish) veil remnants are numerous on the young caps, which are very delicate and disappear on handling. The cap expands to almost flat, thinly spreading out the fine fibres on it’s greyish and finely grooved surface. During this ‘growing’ stage, the young white gills soon turn black and deliquesce (turning to inky fluid) typical of nearly all the Inkcaps.
The long white stem is also covered in fine white fibrous scales but usually end up becoming completely smooth.
If you do find some of these Inkcaps coming to the end of their life, you’ll notice the cap curls upwards as it decays. And if you pick and hold up the mushroom to the sky (gills towards you) you will also see it is very translucent due to the very thin flesh. All interesting stuff.
Anyway, they’re pretty common throughout the UK and unfortunately inedible as they’re not really worth the time. Never mind eh!?
QUICK ID TABLE: HARE’S FOOT INKCAP Coprinopsis lagopus / Coprinus lagopus
CAP / FLESH
Young: 2-4 cm high, conical or ovate, covered in fine downy white veil remnants. Mature: Up to 6cm diametre, thin, grey. Covered in whitish veil remnants.
6-13 cm x 0.3-0.5cm. White, swollen at base. Covered in fine white down. Smooth later.
GILLS / SPORE PRINT
White, turning black very soon and deliquescing.
HABITAT / SEASON
In groups on soil or leaf litter in woodland (less so in fields). Commonly found in disturbed woodland areas on wood chip or mulch. Early summer to late autumn.
Inedible. Too insubstantial.
The Genus COPRINUS & Related (Inkcaps): Characteristics to look out for:
• Most species gills dissolve into an inky black liquid as the black spores ripen.