It has been rather wet in our area this fall, and there are some large, white shaggy mushrooms popping up in lawns and parks. They are shaggy manes.
The shaggy mane is a common, large and shaggy “inky cap.” Inky caps are known for their “autodeliquescent” gills, which as the name implies “self digest,” or turn into a black inky mass as they release their spores.
The shaggy mane is listed as edible and even choice in many mushroom guides and they are relatively easy to identify. A former professor at the University of Minnesota referred to it and three other edible and easily identifiable mushrooms as members of the “foolproof four.”
Shaggy manes have an oval to rounded-cylindrical cap with large shaggy scales. The margins of the cap lift and become bell-shaped with age. The mushroom has no distinctive odor, and the spores are black. The gills are free from the stem, crowded, white, and turn to a pinkish color before turning black and inky. The stem or stipe has a central extractable cottony yarn-like material.
If you are curious enough to collect some of these mushrooms to eat, remember that the first rule of foraging mushrooms is “Don’t eat any mushroom you cannot positively identify. “ Your life depends on that. But if you try them, you need to know that they are known to occasionally produce some nasty gastrointestinal problems in some people that consume alcohol within a few hours of eating the mushrooms.
Some people that do not drink alcohol have even reported some bizarre reactions from eating the shaggy manes. Consider this account from a guy who fixed some shaggy manes for his girlfriend: She “developed a red flush, her gums felt like they were inflamed, she thought she was going to die, and started to shake, with rage (toward me). Within a few hours, most of the symptoms disappeared (except the rage), but there was a long-term delayed reaction: the following Valentine’s Day, she ran off with another guy!”
So guys, you might want to just stick with some pasta dish or a good steak to impress your special lady.
Natural North Dakota is supported by NDSU Central Grasslands Research Extension Center and Minot State University-Bottineau, and by the members of Prairie Public. Thanks to Sunny 101.9 in Bottineau for their recording services.
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