Wood Blewit - Lepista nuda

Main features

  • Fruits Autumn to Winter

  • Grows in leaf litter

  • Fruits as individual specimens or in groups, sometimes in rings

  • Smells perfumed

  • Cap lilac turning buff from the centre with age

  • Convex cap flattens with age and has an inrolled margin

  • Wavy cap margins often seen in older specimens

  • Cap can reach 5-15cm wide

  • Fairly robust, fibrous, lilac stem 5-10cm tall and and 1.5-2.5cm wide

  • Stem base downy and often swollen

  • No ring/skirt

  • Flesh is lilac turning brown with age

  • Lilac, crowded and sinuate gills 

  • Spore print is pale cream-pink

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Wood Blewit - Lepista nuda

Edible mushroom - intermediate

Other common names: Blewit, Blue Cap, Blue Hat, Blue Leg

 

Scientific name meaning: Lepista is Latin for Goblet, and Nuda is from the Latin Nudus, meaning naked or stripped of cover

Season - when will I find it? From Summer to Winter
 

Habitat - where will I find it? The Wood Blewit is found most often in leaf litter in woodland, under hedges, and on compost heaps

Description - what does it look like? 

Growth: The Wood Blewit is a saprobic mushroom living on leaf litter, under hedges or on compost heaps. It can be found individually, in small groups, and sometimes in rings 

Cap: The fleshy cap is 5-15cm wide and sarts off violet in colour. It turns tan brown from the centre as it ages or dries. It is convex, often with an umbo (bump), flattens with age and has an inrolled margin. The edge of the cap often end up wavy with age

Gills: Lilac in colour and fading to buff with age. The crowded gills are sinuate (attached to the stem at the very top of the gills but with a little notch before the attachment) 

Flesh: Lilac and browning with age

Stem: The fairly robust, fibrous stem is lilac in colour and 1.5-2.5cm wide. It can reach 5-10cm tall and is downy. There is no stem ring/skirt and the base of the stem is very downy

Smell: Perfumed/floral

Spore colour: Pale cream to pale pink

Possible lookalikes Could also be confused with purple Cortinarius species, but these have sturdier stems and rust browns spores that can often be seen on the web-like cortina remains on the stem. 

The Clouded Agaric (Clitocybe nebularis) grows in the same habitat and has a similar stature to the Wood Blewit. However, its cap is grey-brown, and it has pale cream gills that run down the stem (decurrent)

The Sordid Blewit (Lepista nuda) is very simiar and grows in the same habitat. However, this is also edible. It is more delicate with a thinner stem and thinner cap flesh

Use as a food Must be cooked and can be used exactly as a cultivated mushroom. It has a strong fragrant flavour, so works well with cream/cream substitutes. See also Hazards

Use in medicine Some anti-diabetic, anti-hyperglycemic and antimicrobial effects have been seen under laboratory conditions

If you are suffering from any ailment or need medical advice, please see your General Practitioner

Hazards Wood Blewits have been reported to cause mild gastric intolerance in some people - perform a tolerance test before eating for the first time.

This mushroom can grow on roadside grass verges where it can accumulate traffic-related toxins. It is advisable to avoid harvesting from the sides of busy roads

Importance to other species Provides food for a the larvae of a number of fly species. Worth remembering when harvesting. Younger specimens tend to have less livestock inside!

Always stay safe when foraging. You need to be 100% sure of your identification, 100% sure that your foraged item is edible, and 100% sure that you are not allergic to it (it is good practice to always try a small amount of any new food you are consuming). If in doubt, leave it out!