Inky cap mushrooms are popular items in the Tumblr rounds lately, and not without reason. They look like something out of a stop-motion Tim Burton fairytale. But what first strikes as fancy is a very real phenomenon; the “ink” produced by coprinoid mushrooms is in fact the liquefaction of the gills. They begin white, then turn black, sometimes oozing down as a means of distributing spores more effectively.
Rumor has it that this ominous goo also makes a neat writing ink, but I’d stick to your ballpoint.
Better yet, some inky caps are edible. Though, again, never pick and eat wild plants or fungi—like so many others, coprinoid mushrooms are notoriously hard to differentiate, and unless you’re a renowned mycologist, you could end up noshing on a fatal dose. Even those species that are edible have the potential to land you in the emergency room, owing to a funny (not so funny) phenomenon responsible for the mushroom’s alter ego: tippler’s bane.
Scarf an inky cap on a belly full of booze and you’ll run into a full stop of miserable reactions, up to and including a heart attack in rare cases. The more you’ve imbibed or plan to drink, the worse off you’ll be. Isn’t mycology fun? —MN