Lepista nuda: THE BLEWIT! A Quick ID Guide by Fry A QUICK INTRO: Even though they are called "Blewits", they are actually purple. Even though I don't eat them often, the fact that they are purple is why I do eat them. For me, (I have NO cooking skills) they are too much trouble. I usually end up burning things and setting off the smoke detectors. But if you can prepare them right, they aren't too bad. They have a nice mild taste and excellent texture. I won't get into cooking because as I said before, I suck at cooking. But ALWAYS make sure to COOK THIS MUSHROOM THUROUGHLY BEFORE you eat it! In this guide, I'll go over the key identifying features of the blewit, show you some pictures of said features, give a few hints for finding blewits, and go over some of the more common "look-a-likes" (will have pictures of those too once I find them) and how to tell them apart. In advance, thanks for reading this guide and I hope you enjoi! Key Features: Habitat: Blewits are widespread. They can be found all over North America. The mushrooms pictured in this guide were found in the mid-west USA, in the early Autumn. It is said that they are more common on the west coast. They grow just about anywhere on leaf litter and debris. This collection was found growing around (and inside!) a fallen, hollow log filled with leaf litter in an oak forest. They grow singly, in small groups or sometimes in rings. Cap: Medium sized. Usually at least 2-3 inches across. Bald, NOT slimy or sticky. Sometimes (especially when young) the margin of the cap curls inward a bit. As said before, it is PURPLE! Although it does often fade to a tan color especially in the center of the cap. Gills: Close together, thin, somewhat shallow, and attached to the stalk. Also PURPLE! Although they can have a bit of tan in them as well. Make sure that it is NOT rusty colored spores hanging on the gills. Stem: The stem is thick. Usually at least a half inch across. SMOOTH! NOT scaly or hairy! Sometimes the way the purple of the stem is mixed in with white make it seem shaggy so look closely! NO veil or ring of any kind EVER. NO volva or cup at the base of the stem. The stem does usually bulb out at the base though. The stems are SOLID. Spore Print: Very very pale. Almost white, but you can see a slight hint of a pinkish - purple. Look-A-Likes: Beware imitators. Many are poisonous. I'll go over some of the closer and more common look-a-likes you may find and how to tell them apart. (Pictures coming soon if I happen to find any!) CORTINARIUS SPECIES: There are some purple Cortinarius species that can look ALMOST identical to the blewit and which may be very toxic. Fortunately there are ways to tell them apart. Cortinarius will sometimes have cobwebby veil remnants left over. Blewits never will. But these can be rubbed off easily. Cortinarius will also often have deeper gills than blewits. Still, if you are not 100% CERTAIN, a SPORE PRINT will tell you. While blewits have pale prints, CORTINARIUS WILL HAVE A RUSTY BROWN SPORE PRINT. Here is a picture of a Cortinarius (Blewit look-a-like) If you look closely you can see rust colored spore residue on the gill fragments, and also on the left side of the stem, by the index finger. Very tricky if you aren't aware of the tells. http://myco-tek.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=29322&d=1349887720 Here is another Cortinarius Sp. that show the cob web like veil remnants that they sometimes have. Alot of times, these are washed away though. http://myco-tek.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=29319&d=1349887605 INOCYBE LILACINA: Can look similar, especially to beginners, but this too will have a BROWN SPORE PRINT. Mycena pura may be mistaken for a blewit, but remember, blewits have solid stems while this Mycena has a hollow stem. Laccaria amethysteo : This mushroom can look ALOT like a blewit as well. It can even have a purple tinged spore print. But this Laccaria will have thicker, deeper, and less crowded gills. Also them stem will be hairy and not as thick. Think these next two pictures are Blewits? Perhaps that these two may just be faded? Ahh! But this one is much more purple! THINK AGAIN! Both are LACCARIA! Note the DEEP, WIDE SPACED, THICK gills and the HAIRY STEM! As you can see, identifying blewits can be tricky. So always remember, WHEN IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT!!! NEVER EAT A MUSHROOM UNLESS YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY 100% ON THE ID!!! If you need a bit of help with an ID, post it here! And one of Myco-tek's Expert Identifiers will help you out! A Quick Tip: You may think because blewits are purple that they will be easy to find. Well that's not exactly true. Especially with woodland blewits. They do get that tan fading and this makes them blend perfectly into the leaves. Even when they are fully purple, they somehow disappear into the leaf litter! So, keep your eyes open, get out there and hunt! And now the part you've all been waiting for, the goodies.... PICTURES!!! Here are a couple of habitat shots. Growing inside a hollow log FROM LEAF LITTER! NOT THE WOOD! A nice shot of a cap so you can see the purple as well as the tan fading A couple gill shots here. You can see how thin, shallow and crowded they are. As well as the white purple blend on the stem I mentioned earlier. A few stem shots. Note the solid stem, how it bulbs at the base and the LACK of any kind of ring or veil remnant. (You can also see gill discoloration in the first picture. Make sure it's NOT brown spores!) You might also notice that if plucked, a bit of pale purple mycelium likes to come attached to the base of the stem! And some other pictures CREDITS AND THANKS: A big thanks to Larynx for providing photos of a Cortinarius look-a-like! Well, that's it for now! I hope you liked my presentation on THE BLEWIT! and perhaps even learned something! Stay Fry'd Myco-Tek!