Scientific name: Coprinellus disseminatus (Pers.) J.E.
Derivation of name: Copr- means "dung" and ellus is
diminutive. Disseminatus means "dispersed."
Synonyms: Coprinus disseminatus (Pers.) Gray
Common name(s): Non-inky Coprinus, little helmuts.
Occurrence on wood substrate: Saprobic; on
wood debris, at the bases of stumps, in grassy
from the decaying roots and buried
remains of stumps;
spring through fall.
Dimensions: Caps 0.5-2.0 cm wide; stipes up to 4 cm
and 0.5-2 mm thick.
Cap: Bell-shaped or convex; white to cream at first,
becoming brownish-gray with a yellow-brown disc;
pleated (furrowed) from the margin almost to the
Gills: Attached to stipe or free from it; white, becoming
blackish in age but not liquefying (inky), or perhaps only
Spore print: Blackish.
Stipe: Slender, fragile, whitish, hollow.
Comments: This species used to be in the genus Coprinus
DNA studies (see Redhead, S. A., et al.
revised the taxonomy of that genus: Coprinus was retained
for a small number of species, several new genera were
created, and the members of the
were split between two families - Psathyrellaceae and
More information at MushroomExpert.com
Figure 1. This strip of grass between the street and the
sidewalk is supporting the growth
of thousands of tiny
Coprinus disseminatus fruitbodies.
Photo © Gary
Same fruiting as Figure 1. A large pin oak
(Quercus palustris) tree once grew on this site. Although
most of the stump was ground out, many dead roots and
decaying wood chips remained to support the growth of
this fungus. Photo © Gary Emberger.
Figure 3. The Basidiomycota Checklist-online describes
this species as fruiting in "vast, densely gregarious swarms."
Photo © Gary Emberger.
The caps are deeply pleated from the margin
almost to the center. Photo © Gary Emberger.
Figure 5. Caps are typically grayish toward the margin
a yellow-brown disc. Photo © Gary Emberger
Widely-spaced gills are white at first and become
darker as the black spores mature. Photo © Gary Emberger.
The caps and gills do not liquify into a black ink.
However, touching the moist caps will turn your fingers black.
Eventually, they dry and shrivel up. Photo © Gary Emberger.
Figure 8. Spore prints and shriveled caps of several
specimens on a glass slide. Photo © Gary Emberger.