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Horsetail fungus (Coprinus comatus)

Horsetail fungus, growing in the garden
Horsetail fungus, growing in the garden

The horsetail fungus is also called shaggy ink cap, lawyer's wig, or shaggy mane. It has a rather scaly or flaky cap and usually grows in bunches or clusters, with some examples growing up to approx. 20 cm in height including the stalk. The stalk is hollow. When the fruiting body of the horsetail fungus is too mature, it melts into a black ink-like liquid.


In the literature, the horsetail fungus is usually described as a mushroom which cannot be grown in the garden.

However we took up the challenge and tried it out. The result: It is possible to grow the horsetail fungus in the garden with a simple trick.

This is how you do it: You start by preparing a substrate of horsetail fungus spawn and straw pellets in a special perforated plastic bag. In a few weeks, the mycelium grows at room temperature into the straw pellets. The substrate is then buried in the garden in good quality soil. The first fruiting bodies of horsetail fungus appear after a few weeks or months, usually in early Autumn. You can then get several harvests at a spacing of about 10 to 14 days. As usual when growing mushrooms on substrates, the first harvest is the largest one. Whether or not the mushroom appears again a year later depends on how much nutrition is still present in the substrate and in the soil.


Depending on when you first bury the substrate in the soil and also on the weather, mushrooms can appear from April to November. The main harvest usually takes place in September. It is best to bury the mature substrate between April and August. Click here for instructions on growing horsetail fungus in the garden.


Unfortunately, the horsetail fungus does not store at all well, and if you harvest it too late it melts to a black ink-like liquid. But it is still worthwhile growing it because it is easy to culture and is really a good edible mushroom.

You should eat the horsetail fungus within a few hours after harvesting. You can also eat the top ends of the stalks. In order to not miss the best harvesting time, you should do this before the cap comes off of the stalk. If you notice this starting to happen, you should harvest and eat the mushrooms as soon as possible.

If you harvest the mushrooms early enough, they can be easily dried in a dehydrator (desiccator). You then get aromatic dried mushrooms which you can use as a food supplement or spice seasoning.









Profile of the horsetail fungus

Taste and preparation:

An aromatic mushroom; you can also eat the stalks. you can have a story at all, should be harvested young and eaten within a few hours. Young mushrooms can be easily dried in a dehydrator (desiccator).

Production and marketing:

Since it cannot be stored, this mushroom is not sold fresh. It is possible to buy the mushroom powder and dried mushrooms in the marketplace.

Growing in the garden:

Easy to grow. It is necessary to start by growing it on pellets indoors.

Our products:
Grain spawn for horsetail fungus


© Nicola Krämer. Mushroom spawn and growing advice since 1999