Observation 5079: Parasola leiocephala (P.D. Orton) Redhead, Vilgalys & Hopple
When: 2007-11-16
Who: hotash
No herbarium specimen

Notes: Common name: Inky Cap?

UPDATE: i for now, feel this is more closely, possibly a Parasola plicatilis?


i posted this image on flickr.com and another user helped direct me toward a possible type of mycena. then another user posted a note with the name Coprinus lagopus
upon further online research i feel this does match the Coprinus lagopus

HOWEVER i have yet to see anything other than the already ‘bloomed’ version of this fungi.
i also used the the mushroom expert.com website
the fungi of california webite

this fungi was present early in the morning and by late (sunny) afternoon it was gone :)

i also located another one of these later that weekend at a higher elevation and under madrone in the deep leaves

the first ones (pics) were found in very sandy dirt, open grassy area along the russian river.

any corrections are welcome

more detailed photos can be found

Proposed Names

-7% (4)
Recognized by sight
37% (4)
Recognized by sight: Dark gills, thin translucent cap and stipe, small size.
69% (6)
Eye3 Eyes3
Used references: .
MykoWeb says it is “the dominant species in the San Francisco Bay area” for these little guys.

Please login to propose your own names and vote on existing names.

Eye3 = Observer’s choice
Eyes3 = Current consensus


Add Comment
Coprinopsis sp.
By: Europe-coprinologist
2011-10-29 18:15:22 CDT (-0500)

Why do you think gender is Parasola? … I do not think he is ….

In species of Parasola, never or almost never retracts so the margin of the pileus revoluta after autolysis. However this character is very common in other genres, especially in Coprinopsis. It is only a visual appreciation, but I bet it is a Coprinopsis.
My other find
By: hotash
2008-03-26 20:51:10 CDT (-0500)
oh my :)
By: hotash
2008-03-26 20:25:14 CDT (-0500)

So the mushroom picker me…has no idea what this beauty is.

But to further complicate or help…I did find another of these at a higher elevation and in thick Madrone leaf duff.
I will upload a couple of new shots that may be helpful.

For all of the images I have of both finds feel free to view them at

Who is interested in a sample of this little shroom to help properly id it?
I’m game for trying to help with this but have no idea what I’m doing :)

yay! company for comatus
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2008-03-26 16:24:23 CDT (-0500)

glad to hear it’s not by its lonesome; the vast majority did get moved out of the genus.

Coprinus ss
By: Michael Wood (mykoweb)
2008-03-26 11:59:22 CDT (-0500)

We cover three species of Coprinus ss known to occur in California:
Coprinus calyptratus
Coprinus comatus
Coprinus sterquilinus
See the Genus Page

Coprinus sensu stricto
By: Nathan Wilson (nathan)
2008-03-26 11:42:27 CDT (-0500)

There are actually a number of species in addition to C. comatus still in Coprinus sensu stricto. MykoWeb has a page on one: Coprinus calyptratus (= Coprinus asterophoroides). This page also mentions C. xerophilus.

Based on the the Pacific Northwest Key Council key for Coprinus sensu lato, there are several others in Coprinus ss. (formerly Coprinus Section Coprinus):

C. arachnoideus
C. alnivorus
C. spadiceisporus
C. umbrinus
C. roseistipitatus
C. colosseus
C. palmeranus

The key presumably provides reasonable ways to differentiate between these. The text on the site also mentions Coprinus sterquilinus which is not in the key, but was one of the species included in the DNA anaylses which came out with C. comatus. I have no idea if the other species mentioned above have actually sequenced or even checked for the macroscopic features of Coprinus ss. to ensure their membership.

small fungus, big controversy
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2008-03-26 09:50:39 CDT (-0500)

I know that we can only work with the keys that we have, and no document will cover everything, but…has there been any work done in depth on CA “coprinus?” Can we assume that our mycota is identical to that of Europe and Hawaii (an assumption that has let us astray in the past)? And despite the beautiful work done by the late mycologist on his Coprinus website, where is a list of those current names? Apparently, there is now only one Coprinus species…comatus.


By: Erin Page Blanchard (CureCat)
2008-03-26 03:05:15 CDT (-0500)

Or P. auricoma…..

Just to complicate things. ;)

By: Erin Page Blanchard (CureCat)
2008-03-26 03:04:13 CDT (-0500)
without scoping the spores, it’s a tough call.
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2008-03-25 21:59:05 CDT (-0500)

our collector claims that he found it in grass, which indicates plicatilus.
if he didn’t save it (and what’re the odds, with an ephemeral shroom like that?)and doesn’t scope it, we’ll just have to endlessly conjecture…
but we certainly have the tools for future coprinus (sic) in hand/under scope IDs!

More resources
By: Michael Wood (mykoweb)
2008-03-25 18:46:02 CDT (-0500)

In addition to Darvin’s list:
Keirle, M.R., Hemmes, D.E. & Desjardin, D.E. (2004). Agaricales of the Hawaiian Islands. 8. Agaricaceae: Coprinus and Podaxis; Psathyrellaceae: Coprinopsis, Coprinellus and Parasola. Fungal Diversity 15: 33-124.
You can get the PDF at:
And don’t forget the fabulous keys, descriptions, photos and illustrations at Coprinus-Site

any book identification recommendations?
By: Darvin DeShazer (darv)
2008-03-25 12:51:43 CDT (-0500)

Matthew Keirle says “Parasola leiocephala closely resembles P. plicatilis, but is readily distinguished in that it has significantly smaller basidiospores that exhibit a more consistently central germ pore and by the fact that it is found in soil associated with woodchips in parks, not in grass.” Parasola plicatilis seems to always be in grass.

Keys or pictures in the follows references:
Cetto, Bruno. 1994. I Funghi Dal Vero Vol. 6. Arti Grafiche Saturnia, Trento, Italy. 722p.
Courtecuisse, R. and B. Duhem. 1995. Collins Field Guide: Mushrooms and Toadstools of Britain and Europe. Harper Collins Publishers, London, England. 480p.
Hanson, Lise and Henning Knudsen. 1992. Nordic Macromycetes Vol. 2: Polyporales, Boletales, Agaricales, Russulales. Nordsvamp Pub., Copenhagen, Denmark. 474p.
Imazeki, Rokuya, Yoshio Otani and Tsuguo Hongo. 1988. Fungi of Japan. Yama-Kei Publishers Co., Tokyo, Japan. 623p.
Jordan, Michael. 1995. The Encyclopedia of Fungi of Britain and Europe: Identifies 1,000 species with color photographs. David and Charles Book, UK. 384p.
Keirle, Matthew R. 2003. Monograph of the Genus Coprinus sensu lato of the Hawaiian Archipelago. Master’s Thesis, San Francisco State University, CA. 167p.
Moser, M. 1983. Keys to Agarics and Boleti. Roger Phillips Pub., Eccleston Sq., London. 535p.
Noordeloos, M. E., TH. W. Kuyper and E. C. Vellinga. 2005. Flora Agaricina Neerlandica: Critical Monographs on Families of Agarics and Boleti Occurring in the Netherlands. Volume 6: Coprinaceae and Bolbitiaceae. CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, Boca Raton, FL, USA. 227p.
Orton, P. D. and R. Watling. 1979. British Fungus Flora: Agarics and Boleti Vol.2 Coprinaceae Part 1: Coprinus. Royal Botanic Garden, Her Majesty’s Stationary Office, Edinburgh, England. 149p.

Parasola sp.
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2008-03-25 09:27:56 CDT (-0500)

As Nathan points out, we don’t have a good key for these ephemeral little guys, at least at this point in time. Re: Darvins comment, Mendocino Co. is a mite far out of the SF Bay Area circle, even if you draw it widely, as I am wont to do. Parasola plicatilis and leiocephala are only separable thru microscopic means. I’d call it Parasola sp.

New id, but no good books yet…
By: Nathan Wilson (nathan)
2008-03-25 00:35:11 CDT (-0500)

Just wanted to let you know that some new proposed names have been made for this observation.

As far as I know there aren’t any good books out yet for the US that use the new names for Coprinus sensu lato (in the broad sense). There is the paper by Redhead et. al. in Taxon discusses all of this in detail.

any book identification recommendations?
By: hotash
2007-11-21 17:50:27 CST (-0600)

i’ll do more research
i have a feeling you are right again :)
i wasn’t totally happy with the Coprinus lagopus id
i really appreciate all the help

Looks more like a Parasola
By: Nathan Wilson (nathan)
2007-11-21 16:11:17 CST (-0600)

Parasola is a relative new genus (2000) that is one of the 4 genera that Coprinus has been split up into based on molecular data. It is distinct in that it unusally lacks a ring and cap ornamentation, has more widely spaced gills than the other species and tends to be extremely ephemeral. Given the photos, I would call it Parasola plicatilis.

See Tom Volk’s discussion of Coprinus comatus for the fundamental details on the breakup of Coprinus.

Created: 2007-11-21 12:32:05 CST (-0600)
Last modified: 2011-10-29 18:15:23 CDT (-0500)
Viewed: 630 times, last viewed: 2016-10-23 17:02:48 CDT (-0500)
Show Log