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Shaggy Mane

Common Name: Shaggy Mane.

Scientific Name: Coprinus Comatus.

What to look for?  Shaggy cap, egg or bell shaped and thin stemmed mushroom. The Shaggy Mane is a fungus, not a plant. It has a white, shaggy, cylindrical cap that turns black. Typically arises during September and October. Gills are narrow with very crowded spacing. With age, cap, and gills become inky and liquefy. The Shaggy Mane has a very tall, straight stalk that is slightly bulbous at its base.

Where can they be found at Carillon Stonegate Pond? The Shaggy Mane may be seen growing sporadically around the clearings next to our woodlands and in our lawns during Fall.

How big are they? The stalk of the Shaggy Mane generally grows up to eight (8) inches tall and has a width of approximately one-half (0.5) of an inch. The cap of the Shaggy Mane generally grows up to six (6) inches tall and has a width of approximately two (2) of inches.

Where do they grow and thrive? The native Shaggy Mane is found in open woodland areas and clearings, along roadsides and in lawns and disturbed areas across the U. S. and Canada. These mushrooms often appear after wet spells. This mushroom exists most of the time in the soil as a network of cells or mycelium. The Shaggy Mane gets nourishment from rotting wood and other decaying materials in the soil. When ready to reproduce, the mycelium develops mushrooms, which are reproductive structures that produce spores. The spores are released to begin new mycelia elsewhere. In inky caps, the spores are dispersed when the cap decays and liquefies.

When do they bloom? The Shaggy Mane has a very short "shelf-life," typically only lasting 24 hours from emerging to liquefying.

Do birds, insects or other wildlife associate with this plant? No.

Interesting Facts About the Shaggy Mane:

  • This species is also called "lawyer's wig" for its resemblance to barristers' wigs worn in Britain.

  • The specific epithet Comatus means hairy - a reference to the shaggy scales that stand out from the cap surface.

For more information on the Shaggy Mane and sources of information used in this blog (these are several of the sources that I am using to learn as I blog), please visit Missouri Department of Conservation, First Nature, Illinois DNR, and University of Illinois Press Blog.

The Carillon at Stonegate community is very fortunate to have a variety of wetland, forest and prairie environments conducive to a variety of birds and other wildlife, insects and plants. Our community and the Kane County Forest Preserve do an exceptional job in maintaining this natural environment – both for the benefit of the birds and wildlife and for our residents to enjoy.


Take a hike and see what you can find – and identify!

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