Genus CoprinusGENUS COPRINUS
The genus Coprinus may be readily recognised from the fact that the spore-bearing plates dissolve to an inky fluid soon after the spores mature.
An amateur mushroom hunter may feel perfectly safe in collecting ink caps for his table, as all the species large enough to tempt the collector are not only edible, but are generally conceded to be of the best.
Their general appearance is such that even the most untrained observer should not mistake them for species of other groups.
The oblong or nearly cylindrical cap, which does not expand until ready to dissolve in inky drops, is too striking a characteristic to permit of any one making a mistake in identifying it as a specimen safe to eat.
These plants literally grow up in a night and perish in a day, as their period of growth is spent underground, and it is not until all the parts of the fruiting portions of the plants are fully developed that they push themselves above ground. Then they push and crowd from the ground in such numbers, where but a few hours before no evidence of them was seen, that each one is compressed from its cylindrical form to that of a manysided prism, so that there would be no chance for the expansion of those within the group if it were not that those on the outer rim so rapidly expand and dissolve away.
Specimens to be eaten should be gathered in the young stage and should be cooked promptly; for though not poisonous in the black stage, they are surely not attractive.