top of page

Deliquescence: How Inky Cap Mushrooms Digest Themselves

Updated: Jun 16, 2023

Have you seen an inky cap mushroom before? Did you know they digest their own flesh?

This inky cap mushroom is most commonly named the “Shaggy Mane Inky Cap," or “Lawer’s Wig" – which I like best. It is a member of the “Coprinoid” family, of which there are numerous additional inky cap species.

Inky cap mushrooms engage in a process known as “deliquescence." Upon reaching maturity, inky caps begin digesting the ends of their caps, causing the outward curling seen here. The goal of this digestion is to better expose the mushroom’s gills – the reproductive slots from which the spores are released - so that those spores can best access the wind for optimal dispersal – a crucial aid in mushroom reproduction.

Shaggy Mane Inky Caps get their name from the black goo that is excreted during the deliquescence process. The "ink" is often used to write and create art with.

"Shaggy Mane Inky Cap"

(Coprinus comatus)

31 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page