The Amethyst Deceiver (Laccaria amethystina), is a small brightly colored, edible mushroom, that grows in deciduous as well as coniferous forests. Because its bright amethyst coloration fades with age and weathering, it becomes difficult to identify, hence the common name ‘Deceiver’
The cap is 1–6 cm in diameter, and is initially convex, later flattening, and often with a central depression (navel). When moist it is a deep purplish lilac, which fades upon drying out. It is sometimes slightly scurfy at the center, and has pale striations at the margin.The stem is the same colour as the cap, and has whitish fibrils at the base, which become mealy at the top. It is fibrous, hollow, fairly tough when rolled in the fingers, with dimensions of 0.6 to 7 centimetres (0.24 to 2.8 in) long by 0.1 to 0.7 centimetre (0.039 to 0.28 in) thick. The flesh is without a distinctive taste or smell, and is thin, with pale lilac coloration. The gills are colored as the cap, often quite distantly-spaced, and are dusted by the white spores; their attachment to the stem is sinuate—having a concave indentation before attaching to the stem.
The spores are spherical, hyaline, and bear pointed spines (echinulate) that are long relative to the size of the spore; they typically have dimensions of 7–10 by 7–10 µm. The basidia, the spore-bearing cells, are club-shaped and hyaline, and are 30–64.5 by 8.5–14 µm .
Distribution and habitatEdit
L. amethystina is a common species in most temperate zones of Europe, Asia, Central, South, and eastern North America. It grows solitary to scattered with a variety of deciduous and coniferous trees, with which it is mycorrhizally associated, though it most commonly occurs with trees in the Fagales. It appears in late summer to early winter, and often with beech; in Central and South America, it more commonly grows in association with oak. Research has shown that L. amethystina is a so-called "ammonia fungus", an ecological classification referring to those fungi that grow abundantly on soil after the addition of ammonia, or other nitrogen-containing materia.
As with other members of the genus Laccaria, this species is edible, though generally not considered a choice edible. While not inherently toxic, in soils that are polluted with arsenic, it can bioaccumulate a high concentration of that compound.