What is this gooey growth along a driveway?
The remains of this mushroom! What would you name this mushroom? The cap looks shaggy all around, like the mane of a lion – the most common name is Shaggy Mane Mushroom. Other names include Shaggy Ink Cap and Lawyer’s Wig. As the mushroom matures, the gills and cap deliquesce (liquify into a black slime).
Notice the black goop forming at the rim of the mushroom cap – from the bottom of the gills. This liquefaction is a strategy to help spread the spores – with the cap curled up, the gills are opened and the maturing spores are free to disperse.
Look for shaggy mushrooms around lawns, woodchips, and compost piles, especially when they pop up seemingly spontaneously after rain. These mushrooms rise with such force, they can break through asphalt! Keep an eye on a certain one, make a note and/or draw a picture every day – how long until the cap completely transforms to black goo? This ooze was used for writing ink in the past, try it for yourself!