Tuesday, 18 September 2007

#24 Coprinellus disseminatus


Coprinellus disseminatus, or Coprinus disseminatus, is from family Coprinaceae. Typically, fungi from this group have black gills that quickly dissolve or self-digest into an inky black gooey substance (the official mycology term is "deliquesce"), but Coprinus disseminatus does not collapse and auto-digest. This is a useful feature for identification purposes.

I am not aware of any common name for this Coprinus species in Australia, but some common American names are Little Helmet, Fairy Bonnet, Non-inky Coprinus and Crumble Cap.

Tiny white or cream caps are oval when young, expanding up to 12 or 15mm wide to convex (domed) or bell-shape as they grow. With age, caps turn pale grey or beige with a brown or cream centre. Caps are finely grooved from the margin to near the centre and are very fragile, crumbling when handled.

My thumb gives a size comparison to young caps


Stipes (stems) are white, hollow, smooth, and fragile, growing to about 35mm high and only 1 or 2mm in diameter. Gills start out white, aging to light brown then dark brown or blackish-brown. Unlike other Coprinus species that auto-digest, it should be possible to obtain a spore print from Coprinellus disseminatus. Spores are black or blackish-brown.


Coprinus disseminatus are fragile, crumbling when handled



Coprinellus disseminatus grow on decaying wood and often appear on wooden garden edges or stepping blocks. They also sprout from underground decaying roots. I have also seen them growing amongst wood-chip mulch. They will appear in large troops, primarily in autumn and spring.

Coprinellus disseminatus are not restricted to Australia, but I am unsure of their distribution in Australia.

A fresh specimen with hollow stalk



Although not Australian, here is a Coprinus key that could be a useful aid in identifying Coprinus species found in the field. And here is an earlier blog entry detailing another Coprinus species, Coprinus cinereus.


Aging specimens dry out and wither, but do not collapse by auto-digestion like most other Coprinus species



My sightings of Coprinellus disseminatus

[This will be updated with more sightings]

Hunter Region Botanic Gardens - Heatherbrae - on dead wood and wood-chips - May, Sep.

A troop of Coprinellus disseminatus showing colour variation

3 comments:

Esperance Blog said...

Hi Gaye, very cute little fellows, am pretty sure I haven't seen them around the Esperance region, although it would be nice if we did. Was the fungus in the first photo growing on a fallen pine tree?

Regards
Jack

Gaye from the Hunter said...

hello Jack,

it does look like a pine, doesn't it. But I am unsure. I saw all these fungi at the Hunter Region Botanic Gardens, and they use pruned logs from the site to edge some of the planted gardens. They also use donated timber for mulching.

The Botanic Gardens is undertaking a project to catalogue onsite fungi and I am going to help them out with photos and details from fungi I have observed and identified at the Gardens over the years I have been visiting.

Cheers,
Gaye

Esperance Blog said...

>>The Botanic Gardens is undertaking a project to catalogue onsite fungi and I am going to help them out with photos and details from fungi I have observed and identified at the Gardens over the years I have been visiting.<<


That's very good Gaye, you fully deserve the recognition.

Jack