I was just outside planting my new aronia berry plant, and waiting for one of my pregnant Jacob ewes to give birth when I noticed something strange in the grass under the weeping willow tree...
I've seen a lot of mushrooms popping up here and there lately, but they don't tend to catch my interest like this one. This one was different. It was quite unlike any mushroom I had ever seen before.
At first glance I noticed the cap of the mushroom had a shredded appearance. That in itself made for an interesting look, but there was more to it than that. Not only did it look shredded by nature, but it was wet. I'm not talking about rain or dew wet either. There was black liquid actually dripping from it. Liquid so black it looked like tar.
While I crouched down to watch the mushroom I was able to witness multiple droplets of pure blackness fall off and stain the ground below. I can't even begin to guess what purpose this black liquid serves. It didn't seem to be harming or helping anything around it, nor did it seem to be attracting anything to it.
I should think that if I were so small as Alice was in the classic story we all know so well, I would find it quite pleasant to sit beneath this mushroom. The view from below is really very nice.
My mushroom must have siblings because just about a foot away guess what I saw...
A little brother!
This younger guy looks like he just broke out of the ground and hasn't had a chance to open up yet, but I'll bet when he does he will be the spitting image of his big brother... tar and all. :P
After doing some research I found that my mushroom is one of a group of mushrooms referred to as "inky caps". As it turns out, the black liquid is formed as the cap deteriorates and actually facilitates in the dispersal of spores! Good to know. :)
When I went back and checked up on the mushroom today (April 22), I found nothing but the long stem lying on the ground. The cap had melted away to nothing.