Purple Mushrooms!

A long time ago, I fell into the “it’s a big purple mushroom, it must be a blewit” trap. Fortunately, I was with someone older and wiser who pointed out the error of my ways. At the weekend I spotted a handsome example of the same imposter and thought I would take some close-up photos to share the with you.

The first photo shows several lovely Wood Blewitts. These are a very good edible mushroom found in the later Autumn and early Winter. They must be cooked (like Kidney beans). The Wood Blewitt, is not just found in woods and woodland remnants (aka hedges). Some of my best sites for them are nice, unimproved grasslands. A spore print is a very helpful step in deducing the ID of most fungi. That of the Wood Blewitt shows pink spores. It also has a very distinctive smell, sweet, aromatic, almost perfume-like.

Wood Blewitts
Wood Blewitts

The following photos show an imposter – definitely a Cortinarius, and probably Cortinarius purpurascens. While it is not poisonous, there are other members of the same family that are, SOME ARE DEADLY, so a useful lesson. All Cortainarius species, at least when young, have a Cortina. As well as a 1970s car made by Ford, this is a veil, a web of fine threads linking the stem to the margin of the cap. On older specimens you may see some remnants of the Cortina. They also all have a brown spore print and you may see brown “dust” on some of the stem, fibres or the edge of the cap. These are illustrated in the photos.

Cortinarius - possibly purpurascens.
Cortinarius – possibly purpurascens.

 

1. Intact part of the veil visible to the left and right rear of the stem. 2. Remnant threads visible on the cap margin front left and right. 3. Brown spores ("dust") visible on the stem and some on the veil. Add these together and you have a Cortinarius species.
1. Intact part of the veil visible to the left and right rear of the stem. 2. Remnant threads visible on the cap margin front left and right. 3. Brown spores (“dust”) visible on the stem and some on the veil. Add these together and you have a Cortinarius species.

 

Good view of the Cortina (veil).
Good view of the Cortina (veil).

 

The cap.
The cap.

 

Spore print showing brown spores. Produced by cutting the stem off, putting the cap on a piece of paper with a glass over it (to stop draughts), then waiting a few hours.
Spore print showing brown spores. Produced by cutting the stem off, putting the cap on a piece of paper with a glass over it (to stop draughts), then waiting a few hours. A darker piece of paper will help show lighter coloured spores (e.g. pink)

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