Description of the dung mushroom and its application, benefits and harm
The mushroom kingdom is large and varied: in addition to the true delicacies and deadly poisonous specimens, which, admittedly, are still not so common, there is a huge category of mushrooms classified as conditionally edible. Koprinus belongs to them (colloquially - dung beetle), which will be discussed later.
The Latin name Coprinus combines a whole genus of mushrooms belonging to the Agaric family, which also includes well-known champignons and a little less, but also recognizable raincoats and "umbrellas".
Did you know? Mycologists, studying mushrooms, number from 100 thousand to (by some estimates) 1.5 million of their species.
Two parameters are traditionally used to describe any fungus - appearance and growing conditions (place, time, etc.), since it is precisely these characters in the complex that help to unmistakably recognize and identify a particular forest find.
What does it look like
In appearance Koprinusy little resemble noble mushrooms and are more like grebes.
Distinctive features of representatives of the genus are as follows:
|Hat||In shape - oval-convex (bell-shaped) or conical, very rarely - flat, almost always remains closed. The surface of many species is covered with scaly growths. The bottom layer is plate type. The inside of the cap of young mushrooms is white, but quickly blackens as it ripens|
|Leg||Cylindrical, smooth, long and thin, hollow inside, easily crumbles and breaks|
|Pulp||Fibrous and thin-bodied (not fleshy), more fibers in the leg|
Where is growing
Koprinus received his unsound folk name not because of the special smell, but due to the peculiarities of growth. This species belongs to saprotrophs, that is, organisms whose food is made up of dead organics. In nature, they play an important role in helping plant debris turn into a fertile soil layer. Coprinuses, like other coprophilic mushrooms, appear in heaps of manure or in soils saturated with organic matter - humus, compost, humus.In addition, rotting stumps of trees, as well as garbage piles in forest plantations, parks and gardens, are a favorable environment for dung beetle. Another characteristic place of growth for the species is meadows where livestock are grazed. The first specimens can be seen in mid-summer (some species even in spring), and the latter disappear before the start of frost.
Edible or not
There are no truly poisonous representatives in the Koprinus genus, as, however, there are no true delicacies among them. The morphological features of dung beetles make it possible to attribute most of them to inedible or conditionally edible. According to generally accepted terminology, this classification means that it is impossible to poison the mushroom, but its taste characteristics leave much to be desired. In relation to Koprinusami, the reason for this assessment is the small size of the mushroom and its too thin texture: it is inconvenient to cook such a product, it cannot be cooked for a long time due to complete loss of shape.
But the most important “problem” of Koprinusov is fragility, and this applies to both growing and already cut mushrooms. The fact is that approximately two days after the start of formation in Koprinus tissues, a unique program of “self-destruction” is launched, which in the scientific world is called autolysis (from the ancient Greek “αὐτός” - itself and “λύσις” - decompose). As soon as the process of autolysis begins, the dung beetle begins to look so unappetizing that it can no longer be talked about.This can be easily verified by searching for relevant photos on the Internet, and even better - videos taken in accelerated mode: starting from the hat and then over its entire area, the mushroom melts, flowing into the ground with dark ink drops, until it completely turns into a kind of tar a puddle. For this reason, dung beetle, by the way, is sometimes called an ink mushroom. The same thing happens with Koprinus if, after collecting, put it in the refrigerator at least for a day or just leave it in a basket, so dung bears must be prepared immediately upon returning from the forest.
Important! One of the most respected international mycological classifiers, the Ainsworth and Bisby Mushroom Dictionary, in its 2008 edition included 10 species in the Koprinus genus, and already in 2010 this number increased to 25.
Freezing is also not possible. Speaking about the conditional edibility of dung beetle, it should be understood that not any “crop” is suitable for eating, but only one that was collected in an ecologically clean place. Mushrooms grown on a garbage heap, regardless of their species, should not be eaten: their flesh, like a sponge, absorbs all the industrial waste that surrounded the mushroom during development - both in air and in soil.
Varieties and doubles
The species composition of the Koprinus genus is constantly being revised. Some varieties, originally assigned to dung beetles, were later separated into separate genera or even transferred to other families; discussions are still ongoing regarding other ones.Of course, there is no need to study and memorize all varieties of dung beetles, it is enough to be able to recognize only the most common ones. In addition, as with other mushrooms, in this case it is very important to know what Koprinus can be confused with, of course, paying special attention to his inedible and poisonous counterparts.
Almost the only species of dung beetles, which is unambiguously classified as edible, is Coprinus white (Coprinus comatus). The appearance of this fungus is so characteristic that it is almost impossible to confuse it with any dangerous double.
- height 5–20 cm;
- hat is egg-shaped (in young specimens - in the form of a spindle), always closed, snow-white with possible shades of grayish or beige, in the upper part smooth and darker, decorated with flaky scales in the rest of the area (because of this, the second name of the mushroom is shaggy dung) ;
- the leg is white, thin (up to 2 cm) and long (up to 30 cm);
- pleasant "edible" smell;
- very fast growth (4-5 cm per day);
- harvesting season - from late spring to mid-autumn;
- the place of growth is roadsides, gardens, vegetable gardens, fields, although it is also found in the forest.
It is worth saying that there is another species of dung beetles with a similar name - Snow-white Coprinus (Coprinus niveus). He also has a white color, but his hat is smooth and as if powdered with flour, which is easily washed off. This species is classified as inedible.
Video: dung beetle white
It is to the dung beetle (Coprinus atramentarius) that the name "ink mushroom" is most suitable.
Such features are characteristic of him:
- the diameter of the hat is 3–7 cm, the shape changes as it grows from ovoid to bell-shaped;
- the color of the hat is grayish-brown; the tip is darker;
- thin strips diverge from the top of the cap to the edges, which in adult mushrooms are transformed into cracks, after which the edges of the cap between these cracks rise up;
- the plates are numerous, wide; in young mushrooms, white, in adults, brown, and after the onset of autolysis, black;
- the height of the legs is 12–16 cm, the thickness is 1 cm, the structure is soft, watery, the color is off-white along the entire length, and in the lower part with red-brown spots;
- pleasant aroma;
- storage periods are minimal: after collection, complete autolysis occurs literally in a few hours.
Coprinus atramentarius is classified as a conditionally edible fungus.
Video: dung beetle gray
Another common species is very similar to dung beetle - Coprinus romagnesiana (Coprinopsis romagnesiana). Its main difference is a more pronounced "shaggy" (in terms of this quality, the romanesi is similar to a white dung beetle). The scales have a dark brown color with a possible shade in the direction of orange or brown. In young mushrooms, the “fringe” fits snugly on the hat, but as it ripens, it becomes more fluffy around the edges. The leg is white, with light hairiness and in some cases with a seal in the lower part.
The average size of the fungus is 6–12 cm in height, and the leg thickness is up to 1.5 cm. Another feature by which Coprinopsis romagnesiana can be distinguished from dung beetle is the almost complete absence of smell (as well as taste). The fruiting period usually occurs in spring and summer, but there are repeated periods of the appearance of these fungi in the second half of autumn. Like the dung beetle, Coprinus romanesi is conditionally edible.
Dung beetle doubles
In addition to the above, in the literature you can find a description and photographs of the following varieties of dung beetle and its counterparts:
|Russian name||Latin name||Consumer properties (according to various sources)|
|ordinary, or ash gray||coprinus cinereusc||conditionally edible|
|flickering||coprinus micaceus||conditionally edible / inedible|
|fluffy, or boggy||coprinopsis lagopus||inedible|
|tarry or magpie or mottled||coprinopsis picacea||inedible|
|willow||coprinellus truncorum||inedible / poisonous|
Despite the rather low taste characteristics of dung beetles, some lovers tend to grow them in their plots, along with vegetables and fruits. Fortunately, the artificial breeding of Koprinusov is not so difficult.
Enough for this:
- Prepare a well-fertilized organic bed in advancelocated in a shaded place - even a rotting compost pit or land left under steam enriched with fresh manure is suitable (many crops do not tolerate this fertilizer well, so it is laid in the soil a year, or even two before planting);
- to look for a suitable mycelium in the forest, field or planting, then, in the middle of autumn, dig out a fragment of it together with the underground part and carefully transfer it to a new place, digging into the ground by 4-6 cm;
- if the mycelium takes root, next summer you can harvest.
Koprinusy can be grown indoors. To do this, you can use boxes, bags or boxes filled with organic matter - manure or humus mixed with straw, leaves, foliage or vegetable leaves. Mycelium is transferred to such a substrate, covered with fertile soil, and on top - with a layer of thick cardboard to protect from light.
Important! Composition of artificially grown Koprinusov poorer than mushrooms growing in the wild. In particular, it was found that the "home" dung beetle does not contain two important amino acids - histidine (indispensable) and tyrosine (interchangeable).
Prepared containers should be watered abundantly and monitor the optimum temperature regime (the air in the room should not be warmed above + 30 ° C). The growth of mushrooms begins quite quickly after planting, after a month or less, you can start the first harvest. During the season, experienced farmers harvest such crops several times.
Oddly enough, dung beetle can be considered as a useful product.
In its fragile pulp there are a number of valuable nutrients, in particular:
- vitamins - thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), choline (B4), pantothenic acid (B5), folic acid (B9), ascorbic acid (C), tocopherol and tocotrienol (E), phylloquinone (K1), ergocalciferol (D2 ); nicotinic acid (PP);
- minerals - iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, sodium, selenium, etc .;
- amino acids - both interchangeable (9) and irreplaceable (8);
- simple and complex saccharides - glucose, fructose, polyoses;
- enzymes - maltase, tyrosinase, trypsin;
- fatty acids, including the most valuable - polyunsaturated.
Important! The most valuable substance betaine, a derivative of the amino acid glycine, was found in the pulp of dung beetle.As established by modern science, it plays an important role in eliminating toxins from the body, breaking down fats, stimulating appetite, gaining muscle mass and protecting it from destruction.
- Thanks to this composition, Koprinus has the following useful properties:
- improves digestion and metabolism;
- has a choleretic and fat burning effect;
- blocks inflammatory processes;
- lowers blood pressure and blood sugar;
- is a natural antioxidant;
- stops bleeding of any nature;
- It shows bactericidal and anticancerogenic (antitumor) qualities.
In cooking, two types of dung beetle are used - white and, to a lesser extent, gray. However, Europeans with great pleasure also eat flickering dung beetle, moreover, in the Czech Republic, France, Finland and some other countries, this mushroom is served in expensive restaurants as a delicacy. Only young specimens are suitable for eating: after the plates begin to darken, they throw away the mushroom. Ideally, the dung beetle should be collected within two days after the appearance of the hat above the ground and prepared no later than 1.5–2 hours.Specialists recommend cooking only hats, since the hollow inside the leg practically does not contain edible pulp. Due to the nature of the structure, Koprinusi do not combine with other mushrooms. Regardless of the method of preparation (as a rule, it is frying, although pickling, stewing and adding to soups are also allowed), dung beetles should be boiled for 15 minutes before draining the used water.
Did you know? White truffle is considered the most expensive mushroom in the world. There is a known case when in just one copy (though he weighed 1,200 g), the seller managed to gain 150,000 US dollars.
In this way, the product is disposed of from harmful impurities and the neutralization of possible toxins. Preparing a dung beetle in the form of a semi-finished product is possible only by drying. However, to block the process of self-destruction, mushrooms must first be boiled, then fried, and only then, already fully prepared, dried in a special device or in the oven.
Due to its unique chemical composition, Koprinus has found widespread use not only in cooking, but also in medicine. At the same time, if white dung beetle is often consumed, then gray is much more interesting for doctors.Another interesting area of medical use of gray and shimmering dung beetle is the treatment of alcoholism.
On its basis, drugs are prepared for the treatment, including complex, or prevention of pathological conditions such as:
- cardiovascular diseases, including hypertension;
- diseases of the joints and prostate gland;
- hemorrhoids (hemostatic and analgesic effect);
- weakened immunity;
- bacterial infections, in particular those caused by staphylococci and clostridia (gas gangrene);
- intestinal disorders (constipation);
- oncological diseases (cancer of the breast, prostate, stomach).
It turns out that the koprin present in these fungi and giving the name to the genus, when interacting with ethyl alcohol, causes very unpleasant symptoms in a person - from mild dizziness and nausea to hyperthermia and severe pain in the abdomen. This interesting property has long been successfully used for the “coding” of chronic alcoholics: once painful experiences experienced in the patient’s psyche are firmly associated with the use of alcohol.
Did you know? Secret service workers and some high-ranking officials used special ink made from self-decomposed dung beetles to sign critical documents for a long time.The unique composition of such inks and fungal spores viewed in them using special devices completely exclude the possibility of falsification and falsification.
It should be noted that the side effect in question, as a rule, takes place for a person without serious consequences and is mainly symptomatic. However, the combination of alcohol and coprin in the presence of diseases of the cardiovascular or respiratory systems, as well as problems with the kidneys or liver, can seriously aggravate the patient's condition, therefore, before treating alcoholism with such a folk remedy, you should definitely consult a doctor.
Video: anti-alcohol powder
Mushroom pickers should know that in the Koprinus genus there are separate species that can be poisoned. A striking example is the willow dung (Coprinellus truncorum). And although the likelihood of a fatal outcome in such cases is not high, in case of violation of the cooking technology, excessive use or other adverse circumstances (childhood or old age, the presence of some chronic diseases, etc.), health problems can arise serious. The best way to avoid this is not to eat such mushrooms.
Mushrooms from the Koprinus family can be seen as a vivid example of how relative and subjective everything is in this world. Unpresentable in appearance, growing in manure heaps, slop pits and city dumps, almost instantly turning into an ink puddle, they are not only considered a real delicacy in some European countries, but they are also targeted for cultivation, including for subsequent sale.And yet, this does not mean that dung beetles can be collected anywhere and everywhere: although Koprinusy do not contain highly toxic substances for the most part, they can be poisoned due to negative changes in the composition of air and soil, on which fungi, especially growing in the city, react sensitively.