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By Roger Phillips

Published 2006

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In most of the species in this genus the crowded, parallel-sided gills quickly auto-digest (deliquesce), resulting in the dripping, black, inky fluid from which the genus gets its common name of Inkcap. The black spores ripen from the edge of the gill inwards towards the stem; the deliquescence, which takes place after the spores ripen, allows the spores on the inner parts of the gills space to fall as they in turn ripen. The young fungus may be covered by a thick, woolly veil that leaves felty scales on the cap, or by a powdery veil, which also may remain in the cap especially in dry weather. There are Coprinus that have no veil. Many have strong radial grooves on the cap. Smells are important for identifying some species. They grow on the ground, on wood and on dung.