Shaggy Mushroom

This fall I’m really trying to let fungi thrive.  Mushrooms pop up in several spots around our place.  They’re pretty, but for some reason I’ve always weeded them out…

Coprinus comatus
photo by SVSeekins

Perhaps they scare me a bit.
Are they edible?

Perhaps I’m just a neat- freak?

Years ago someone told me that trees use fungi root systems as information highways between other trees.  I dismissed the idea.  It sounded too airy-fairy.  But scientists are looking into it.  BC’s Suzanne Simard explores & maps the fungi mycelium networks that trees use to share nutrients with offspring & neighbors.  Sounds a bit like the story line to Avatar, doesn’t it?  Perhaps the Old Ones were on to something?

Coprinus comatus, shaggy mane
photo by SVSeekins

The Pacific Northwest is a great place for mushrooms.  The rainforest at one of our favorite campsites is prime.  In 2015 I was charmed by orange stools with white spots.  This October, right in our campsite, was a beautiful white shaggy mushroom.

Coprinus comatus, shaggy mane, lawyers wig, mushroom fungi fungus edible garden Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC, Pacific Northwest
photo by SVSeekins

Growing in afternoon sunshine beside a well trodden gravel pathway, not far from the beach, it struck me as unusual.  This is not the regular deep humus-rich growing site I’d expect for fungi.

The shape & outer texture of the mushroom are distinctive.  I’m pretty sure it’s the edible  Shaggy Mane, aka Lawyer’s Wig, aka Coprinus Comatus.  That said, I’m no expert.

Coprinus comatus
photo by SVSeekins

For several days we carefully left the cap to its business. While striking camp, the mushroom was knocked open.  I felt bad, but took the chance to look at the inner gills where the spores were maturing.  The dark coloring is further evidence that the ID is correct.  Maybe we should’ve made mushroom soup. (Actually, I wasn’t tempted to use it because of the high traffic area & the large population of dogs around camp.)

Coprinus comatus
photo by SVSeekins

Did you also notice how much the fruit grew in just 3-4 days?  Doubling size  in 48 hours seems amazing to me. The apples in our garden don’t produce like that.

Now I’ll try to keep a closer eye on the fungi growing through our gardens.  Perhaps I’ll shift even further out of my  comfort zone & explore farming some edible types.