Mushrooms have been a major feature of our yard and the vineyard for the past month or two. In one of the places Callie and I like to walk when we go out in the morning — on a leaf-covered gravel path on the edge of the vineyard — there was a major bloom last month. Here's what it looked like.
This fungus, called the coprin chevelu in French, seems to be a very common one, but I don't think I'd ever noticed it before. In English it goes by the names shaggy ink cap, lawyer's wig, and shaggy mane. Its cap can turn black and dissolve into an inky mess in just a few hours, especially after it is picked.
They say the coprin chevelu (Coprinus comatus) is an excellent edible mushroom if it is picked young and cooked within a few minutes or hours. Otherwise, the "autodigestion" process starts and the cap dissolves. I don't believe the Latin name comatus has anything to do with going comatose after eating them.