The fourth of five installments celebrating the Week of the Fungi on STC.
You probably think that ultimately all mushrooms turn into mush. Well, yes, indeed they do, but some do it with alacrity. A group of mushrooms called Inky Caps have a way of getting rid of unwanted tissue in their cap by dissolving it. Some of these mushrooms are prized edibles, but unless you pick them when very fresh, your pot will contain only the unappetizing product of the hydrolysis of their tissues. This is a story that mushroom aficionados learn early on their path to wisdom.
Should you want to feast your eyes on a movie of this process, look out for yet another of the spectacular movies at the Cornell Mushroom Blog. There you will also find a lovely description by graduate student Jonathan Landsman of the somewhat less than lovely-sounding process of self-digestion.