Mica Cap

Shiny Cap, Glistening Inky Cap

Coprinellus micaceus

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The mica cap mushroom is a small, delicate fungus recognized for its tendency to grow in clusters on decaying wood. It is named for the shiny, mica-like granules on its cap surface when young. These mushrooms are commonly found in woodlands and urban areas alike.

Mica Cap

Common Name
Mica Cap

Other Names

Shiny Cap, Glistening Inky Cap

Latin Name

Coprinellus micaceus

Distribution

This mushroom is cosmopolitan, found throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and other parts of the world.

Appearance

The cap is bell-shaped, starting out as a deep brown and becoming tan or buff as it matures. The surface is sprinkled with glistening, mica-like particles when young. As it ages, the edges of the cap start to liquefy, turning into a black, inky substance.

Size

The cap is typically 1 to 4 cm in width, and the stem is around 8 to 10 cm tall.

Habitat

Mica caps prefer growing on decaying wood, especially hardwoods. They can often be found on stumps, logs, and other woody debris in both forests and urban areas.

Diet

Saprotrophic, deriving its nutrients from decaying organic matter.

Lifecycle

The mica cap starts as a spore, which germinates into mycelium, colonizing suitable substrates like decaying wood. When conditions are right, the mycelium forms fruiting bodies, which mature, liquefy (deliquesce) and release spores. The process of deliquescence aids in spore dispersal.

Defense Mechanisms

While Coprinellus micaceus is edible when young, it is not considered highly desirable due to its small size and tendency to quickly turn inky. Moreover, it looks somewhat similar to some toxic species. Always ensure proper identification and never consume any wild mushroom unless it has been positively identified by an expert.

Ecological Importance

The mica cap plays a significant role in decomposing wood, which in turn helps recycle essential nutrients back into the soil and ecosystem.

Conservation Status

Not officially evaluated, but they are considered common.
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