This mushroom can range from lilac to purple-pink. Some North American specimens are duller and tend toward tan, but usually have purplish tones on the stem and gills. The gills are attached to the short, stout stem. Mature specimens have a darker color and flatter cap; younger ones are lighter with more convex caps. Wood blewits have a very distinctive odor, which has been likened by one author to that of frozen orange juice.
Wood blewits can be confused with certain purple Cortinarius species, many of which may be poisonous. Wood blewits can be easily distinguished by their odor, as well as by their spore print. Wood blewits have a light (white to pale pink) spore print; Cortinarius species produce a rusty brown spore print after several hours on white paper.
Distribution and habitatEdit
The wood blewit is found in Europe and North America and is becoming more common in Australia, where it appears to have been introduced. It is a saprotrophic species, growing on decaying leaf litter.
Wood blewits are generally regarded as edible, but they are known to cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. This is particularly likely if the mushroom is consumed raw, though allergic reactions are known even from cooked blewits. Wood blewits contain the sugar trehalose, which is edible for most people.In most mycologists' opinion, the blewits are considered excellent mushrooms, despite their coloration. Blewits can be eaten as a cream sauce or sautéed in butter, but it is important not to eat them raw, which could lead to indigestion. They can also be cooked like tripe or as omelette filling, and wood blewits also make good stewing mushrooms.
The widely used synonym Lepista nuda should no longer be used since Lepista has been synonymized with Clitocybe. The primary issue here is a debate about the correct type for the genus Clitocybe. Some, including Singer, take the type to be C. gibba. However, the majority of experts now take C. nebularis to be the type. If you take C. nebularis to be the type then Lepista becomes a deprecated synonym of Clitocybe and Clitocybe nuda is the correct name for this species.