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Blewit Identification and Blewit Lookalikes.

Updated: Feb 7

Thinking about turning your backyard into a Blewit mushroom haven? Stumbled across a peculiar looking purple mushroom on your forest hike? Let’s shed light on a truly extraordinary fungal protagonist – the Blewit mushroom (Lepista nuda). Before you dive into the world of these delectable fungi, a word of advice: the key to success is proper identification.

Purple colored blewit mushrooms

Jerzy Opioła, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Identifying Blewit Mushrooms:

Blewits flaunt a muted purple vibe that matures into lilac elegance. As they age, their caps tend to evolve into tones of brown and white, and the purples fade to pink. This variability over time adds a layer of challenge to the identification games, but if you pay attention, you will be just fine.

Lepista nuda purple gills

gailhampshire from Cradley, Malvern, U.K, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Lepista nuda purple gills

Michel Langeveld, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Check out some of their standout features before we take a look at the lookalikes:

Bulbous base:

The stem of the Blewit is bulbous, like a foot. In fact, the Blewit is also known as “bluefoot,” likely for that reason. Usually, this foot carries a good deal of leaf litter with it when you pull it up.

Distinctive smell:

A sweet citrusy floral scent should signal you that you could have stumbled upon a Blewit.

Growing pattern:

Blewits tend to grow in groups. If you find one, you will likely find more nearby. They are rarely found growing side by side in clusters

Color variation:

Muted purple or lilac, not deep purple.

Habitat preference:

Leaf litter and pine needles are where Blewit’s like to congregate.

Spore print:

Pinkish-white – the Blewit’s signature spore print.

Lookalikes and How to Spot the Difference:

Blewits have some doppelgangers. All of the direct lookalikes are not toxic. However, the cortinarius genus as a whole is home to a few mushrooms that are toxic. Due to this risk and the general lack of flavor of the corts, its best to stay away. With a little attention, you should fairly easily be able to gain confidence in the mushroom you have.

The most obvious differences between the mushrooms is their color. Blewits are muted purple and the lookalikes are all darker purple. Also, they have more widely spaced gills, as you can see. Once you have observed these two defining features, take a look at the lists below.

Purple cortinarius mushrooms blewit lookalike

Dan Molter (shroomydan), CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Cortinarius violaceous:

o Deep purple cap and stem, rusty gills, rusty ring (cortina) around the stem, scaly cap

o Spore print: Rusty/cinnamon

o Not toxic, just not dinner material

Purple cortinarius blewit lookalike

Dan Molter, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Cortinarius Iodeoides/Iodes:

o Very slimy cap, rusty colored cobwebs around the veil.

o No distinct odor

o Spore print: Rusty brown

o Not recommended – definitely not edible

Amythest Deceiver blewit lookalike

Michel Langeveld, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

"Amythest Deceiver", Laccaris Amethystina:

o Sounds nefarious, but it isn’t. Its not toxic.

o Slender stem.

o Associated with conifers.

o Spore print: White.

Want to know how to do a spore print? It’s simple. Take the sample and put it face down on a white surface like a sheet of paper. Put a bowl on top. Wait an hour or two. The spores will have dropped off and created a print on the sheet.

Whether you’ve grown them, or whether you found them, congratulations. As you savor the fruits of the forest, remember to double-check your findings with the experts and field guides.

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