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Cap: 3-6 cm high and oval when young--expanding to conical-convex, up to 10 cm across; often with a curled up and/or tattered margin when mature; lead gray, grayish, or gray-brown; fairly smooth, but usually finely scaly to slightly scruffy over the center; faintly grooved/lined. Gills: Attached to the stem or free from it; whitish, becoming black; deliquescing (turning to black "ink"); close or crowded. Stem: 8-15 cm long; 6-12 mm thick; equal; smooth or finely hairy; white; fibrous; hollow. Flesh: White to pale gray throughout; thin; soft.
Saprobic, growing in clusters on decaying wood (the wood may be buried, causing the mushrooms to appear terrestrial); often growing from senescent roots around stumps; spring, summer, and fall (sometimes in winter); frequently urban, but also found in woods; widely distributed in North America.
I made ink from these