Shaggy Mane Mushroom

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Shaggy Mane Mushroom, Vancouver Island, BC
Shaggy Mane Mushroom, Vancouver Island, BC, photo by Bud Logan

The Shaggy Mane, occasionally called the Lawyers Wig, is an easy to recognize mushroom. This beautiful and kind of edible mushroom likes to grow in tight groups. The Shaggy Mane has an elongated shaggy cap, with brownish scales at the apex of the cap and white stem that is straight and very smooth. It is also called the Shaggy Ink Cap Mushroom.

Look for them in late summer and fall in grass, here in Sayward, I tend to see them growing along trails and at the edge of old logging roads. Sometimes they can be found growing singly, but I mostly see them growing tightly packed together in large groups. The Shaggy Mane is quite easy to identify and fascinating to observe but it has to be used almost immediately as it breaks down into an inky mess within a few short hours. l Shaggy mane is quite tasty if cooked quickly though. Shaggy Manes are best used as a dye, you can dye many things with these, cloth, wool and paper. Just add different mordants to achieve various colors. For example, you can cook these in an iron pot to bayberry color or add ammonia to get a greenish-gray color.

To get enough of these for the dyeing process, you can try soaking them in water for a few days to absorb the spores and then pour the water out onto your lawn, sometimes this is quite successful, other times not so much.

Shaggy Mane Mushroom, Vancouver Island, BC
Shaggy Mane Mushroom, Vancouver Island, BC, photo by Bud Logan

There much said about the effects of eating these with alcohol, seems some people react badly when consuming these with alcohol. The alcohol inky cap, Coprinus atramentarius is the one that can make you very sick if alcohol has been consumed a day or two before eating them or even consuming alcohol a day or two after eating them. To be on the safe side, I would forgo alcohol during the same period for the shaggy mane.

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