Coprinellus micaceus

Coprinellus micaceus (Bull.) Vilgalys, Hopple & Jacq. Johnson


Phylum: Basidiomycota

Class: Agaricomycetes

Order: Agaricales

Family: Psathyrellaceae

Genus: Coprinellus

Species: micaceus

Coprinellus micaceus belongs into family Psathyrellaceae and widely distributed in North America. They are commonly known as ‘mica cap’, ‘shiny cap’ and ‘inky caps’. They grow as clusters on or near rotting hardwood tree stumps (Figure 1). Sometimes they grow around underground tree roots giving mushrooms a ‘terrestrial’ like habitat. C. micaceus have honey brown, tawny or amber colored caps. The size of the cap varies from 2-15 cm and sometimes the cap margin may curl up. The early stages of this mushroom have fine mica-like granules on the caps and they can be easily detached from caps. The shape of the cap may vary from oval to bell shape depending on their maturity level.  The gills are either attached to stem or free from it. The gills are initially pale brown but few hours after collecting, the gills soften and melting slowly by tuning into inky black color (Figure 2). C. micaceus has a thin, smooth, white stem with 2-8 cm long and 3-6 mm thick.

The spore print of C. micaceus is black (Figure 3).  It has smooth subelliptical to multiform 7-11 x 4-7 µ spores and spores have a central pore (Figure 4). C. micaceus has elliptical to ovoid pleurocyctedia and the size may vary from 150 x 70 µ. These pleurocyctedia project from gills and it gives protection to each gill by avoiding contact between two adjacent gills and it provides enough space to develop basidia and spores.


Figure 1: The growth of C. micaceus on/near wood stumps



Figure 2: Gills turning into inky black color in C. micaceus



Figure 3: The spore print of C. micaceus



Figure 4: The spores of C. micaceus


  • Kuo, M. (2008, February). Coprinellus micaceus.Retrieved from the Com Web site:
  • Roody WC (2003). Mushrooms of West Virginia and the Central Applications. Lexington, Kentucky: University Press of Kentucky. p. 156.

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