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Hello, this is my first post and a request for help identifying a species of mushroom with a few odd characteristics (There are a few pics at the bottom of this post), thanks in advance!
The mushrooms were growing on a single bale of hay in the middle of a gravel area. There were no other mushrooms growing in the general area (except for a few firm, red capped and thoroughly yellow stemmed mushrooms growing out of the same straw). When the mushrooms were found, it had just finished raining outside, in the dark, at about 3:00 AM. The amazing thing about these mushrooms was that they formed and poked through the straw, opened up and kept opening up and curling over, eventually decaying into a sticky black goo (inky-caps). This entire process lasted an estimated five hours. Here's the description:
Habitat: Illinois, near St. Louis, in an area filled with farmland. The mushrooms were growing on a wet bale of hay that had been sitting in the same spot for a week or so. I assume the spores were first introduced to the bale at its farm of origin, since I have found very similar mushrooms in a cow pasture growing on dung (these were mostly in the later stages and caps were mostly inky, making ID almost impossible).
Gills: The gills were dark, nearly black in color, not that crowded, leaving enough space to see the caps.
Cap: There were a few variations in cap color. Almost all caps had a rusty reddish spot at the very tip of the cap where the stem connected, but it could be easily overlooked. The caps were mostly faded from a lightish gray to a darker, deep shade of gray. The caps were slightly striated and tended to break apart near the edges. Out of the 50 mushrooms collected, 6 caps were tinged completely cinnamon/rusty red. All other characteristics were the same for those unique six.
Stem: Extremely fragile and hollow, all white, no bruising.
Measurements: (Estimates) Caps ranging from 1 cm to about 8 cm across, much variation in size. Stems ranging from 2mm thick to 12mm thick, and up to 12 cm long.
Spore Print: Black and evenly spread.
Scent: Not very strong, slight familiar mushroom scent, almost non-existant after drying.
Other: The mushrooms dried up very small, pretty thin, and very lightweight... 50 mushrooms dried to about 0.5-1.0 grams.
Well, I appreciate all help. I am guessing that these are not active, but really want to find out what they are (I've searched all of my mushroom resources and can find nothing). Thanks again and here's the pics:
Quote: yardhunter said: sticky black goo (inky-caps).
Like you said it is an inky-cap, a coprinus mushroom. They are not active but can be good edibles when picked at the right time, I myself wouldn't eat it since you shouldn't consume alcohol for a few days after consumption.