Magpie Inkcap

(Coprinopsis picacea)

Conservation Status
Magpie Inkcap
Photo by Monette Lundquist
  IUCN Red List

not listed


NNR - Unranked


not listed


Magpie Inkcap is a widespread, easily recognized, short-lived, gilled mushroom. It occurs in Europe, North America, Australia, and southern Africa. In the United States it occurs east of the Great Plains and west of the Rocky Mountains, but is mostly absent between. It is widespread but not common. It is found from May to November, usually alone, sometimes in small, well-spaced groups, in deciduous forests and woodlands. It grows on the ground under oak trees.

When it first appears the cap is cyllinder-shaped or oval, brown, and covered with whitish material of the universal veil just beginning to break up. A young cap can easily be mistaken for Shaggy Mane. As it ages it spreads out and the veil material breaks up into separate patch-like scales. At this stage it is said to resemble the plumage of the Eurasian Magpie. This is the feature that gives the mushroom its common name. The mature cap is broadly bell-shaped, glossy, very dark grayish-brown, and 1¼ to 3 (3 to 8 cm) in diameter. It is finely lined (striate) from the margins all the way to the center. The margins eventually bend outward and liquefy (deliquesce), turning to ink.

The stalk is white and is covered with small patches of white woolly hairs (floccose). It can be 2¾ to 10 (7 to 25 cm) long and 316 to (5 to 15 mm) thick, but it is usually no more than 6 (15 cm) long. The base is usually slightly enlarged (bulbous) and covered with woolly hairs. There is no partial so there is no ring on the stalk.

The gills are crowded and may be broadly attached to the stalk (adnate) or not at all attached to the stalk (free). They are white at first, turning reddish as they age. At maturity they turn black and liquify into ink that drops to the ground. This is the feature that gives the genus its common name.

The flesh is thin, fibrous, watery, and inedible. It has a unpleasant odor and taste, and causes digestive upset in some people.

The spore print is black.


Similar Species

Habitat and Hosts

Deciduous forests and woodlands




May to November


Distribution Map



4, 7, 24, 26, 29, 30, 77.




Widespread but not common

  Kingdom Fungi (fungi)  
  Subkingdom Dikarya  
  Phylum Basidiomycota (club fungi)  
  Subphylum Agaricomycotina (jelly fungi, yeasts, and mushrooms)  
  Class Agaricomycetes (mushrooms, bracket fungi, puffballs, and allies)  
  Subclass Agaricomycetidae  
  Order Agaricales (common gilled mushrooms and allies)  
  Suborder Agaricineae  
  Family Psathyrellaceae  
  Genus Coprinopsis (inkcaps)  
  Section Picaceae  

Magpie InkCap was previously classified as Coprinus picaceus in the family Agaricaceae. A molecular DNA study published in 2001 showed that most of the species in the genus Coprinus were only distantly related to the type species Coprinus comatus. All but three species were moved to the new family Psathyrellaceae and assigned new genera.




Agaricus picaceus

Coprinus picaceus


Common Names


Magpie Inkcap

Magpie Inkcap Fungus

Magpie Inky Cap

Magpie Mushroom











Universal veil

An egg-like structure that envelopes all or most of a developing gill mushroom. Remnants of the universal veil sometimes visible on a mature mushroom are patchy warts on the cap, a ring on the stalk, and a volva at the base of the stalk.





Visitor Photos

Share your photo of this fungus.

  This button not working for you?
Simply email us at
Attach one or more photos and, if you like, a caption.

Monette Lundquist


Found this in my flower garden in Becker County. Never have seen anything like it.

    Magpie Inkcap      








Visitor Videos

Share your video of this fungus.

  This button not working for you?
Simply email us at
Attach a video, a YouTube link, or a cloud storage link.


Other Videos
  Coprinopsis picacea, Coprinus picaceus, Magpie Inkcap, Šarena gnojištarka, Le Coprin pie 4k
The wonderful world of mycology

Oct 27, 2021

In one of the outings to see species with my companions Verónica, Cadiñanos and Iosi we found several species, among them this beautiful coprinus. For me the most elegant of them all, and also, on this occasion we were able to see many, which is difficult.

If you ever find it, take a picture of it, but leave it there.

Coprinopsis picacea (Bull.) Redhead, Vilgalys & Moncalvo 2001

- Cap: medium to large to be a coprinus, up to 10 cm, at first it is ovoid to become flared until it degrades (liquefies)
- The cuticle: Just when it is born, it is covered by a white veil that cracks as it grows, revealing large white scales on a brown, shiny and striated surface.
- Gills: White at birth to go to gray and black due to the color of the spores. Tight, thin, ventruded and deliquescent (that liquefy)
- Stem: Very tall, up to 20 cm, cylindrical, hollow, white, smooth, with a thickened base
- Flesh: Whitish, delicate, with a chemical smell and taste, like gas or tar
-The habitat: Saprophyte, it likes the litter of all kinds of forests, but I find it especially in beech trees.
- Season: I have always found it in Autumn
- Place: Basque Country
-Edibility: it is edible, but it has no culinary value, and it is rare, so it must be protected.

Confusions: It is difficult to confuse it with other coprinus

  Shaggy inkcap mushroom growing on forest floor time lapse. Coprinopsis picacea. Magpie inkcap
Neil Bromhall

Premiered Oct 17, 2019

Shaggy ink cap mushroom 'Coprinopsis picacea' growing time lapse.

Filmed by Neil Bromhall.

Filmed in my studio. I dressed a set to look like a woodland floor.

The inkcap liquifies as it matures. Slugs eat the spores and transport them through the forest.

Filmed over two days.

Cameras used Nikon

Music 'Enchanted Journey' by Kevin MacLeod

  Coprinopsis picacea coprinus picaceus
nikos baxes

May 4, 2019




Visitor Sightings

Report a sighting of this fungus.

  This button not working for you?
Simply email us at
Be sure to include a location.
  Monette Lundquist

Location: Becker County

Found this in my flower garden in Becker County. Never have seen anything like it.

Magpie Inkcap







Created: 10/8/2022

Last Updated:

About Us | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | © All rights reserved.