What You Should Know
Lepista sordida is an attractive edible mushroom. When young its pileus, stipe, flesh and gills are a striking lilac to violet color. As they age the caps may take on a brown color and begin to fade. The middle pileus at the top of the page has begun to fade rapidly from the center toward the margin.
Often the color of this mushroom is deep violet, and then it could easily be confused with the Violet Webcap Cortinarius violaceus.
Lepista sordida is not easily separated from Clitocybe nuda. To make matters worse this thin-fleshed member of the Lepista genus occurs in some of the same habitats.
Other names: Sordid Blewit, Dirty Blewit.
Lepista sordida Mushroom Identification
The Sordid Blewit is a saprobic mushroom living on leaf litter or compost heaps. It can be found individually and in small groups and has been reported to grow in rings.
The thin-fleshed cap is violet, 3-8cm wide, and turns tan brown from the center as it ages or dries. It starts convex, often with an umbo (bump), and flattens with age. The edge of the cap often ends up slightly wavy and depresses in the center.
Lilac in color and fading to buff with age. The crowded gills are either emarginate or sinuate (attached to the stem at the very top of the gills but with a little notch before the attachment).
Lilac and browning with age.
The fibrous stem is lilac in color and 0.5-0.8cm wide. It can reach 5-6cm tall and is downy. There is no stem ring/skirt and the base of the stem is very downy.
Pale cream to pale pink
Lepista sordida Look-Alikes
The smell of radish and have white gills.
These have sturdier stems and rust browns spores that can often be seen on the weblike cortina remains on the stem.
Deadly poisonous Lilac Fibrecap but this has buff gills that turn clay-brown with age.
Is very similar and grows in the same habitat. However, this is also edible. It is slightly more robust with a thicker stem and thicker cap flesh.
Lepista sordida Taxonomy and Etymology
This mushroom was described in 1821 by the great Swedish mycologist Elias Magnus Fries, who gave it the binomial scientific name Agaricus sordidus.
It was not until 1949 that the currently-accepted scientific name was established, when German-born mycologist Rolf Singer redescribed this mushroom as Lepista sordida.
Synonyms of Lepista sordida include Agaricus sordidus Fr. Tricholoma sordidum (Fr.) P. Kumm., Gyrophila nuda var. lilacea Quél., Rhodopaxillus sordidus (Fr.) Maire, Lepista sordida var. sordida (Fr.) Singer, Rhodopaxillus sordidus f. obscuratus Bon, Lepista sordida var. ianthina Bon, Lepista sordida var. lilacea (Quél.) Bon, and Lepista sordida var. obscurata (Bon) Bon.
Lepista is derived from Latin and means a wine pitcher or a goblet, and when fully mature the caps of Lepista species often do become concave (sometimes referred to as being infundibuliform) like shallow chalices or goblets. Rather as it sounds, the specific epithet sordida simply means sordid (in the sense of dingy, filthy or foul).
Photo 1 - Author: Humberto Lima (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International)
Photo 2 - Author: Alan Rockefeller (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International)
Photo 3 - Author: Peter Warren (Public Domain)
Photo 4 - Author: Michel Langeveld (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International)
Photo 5 - Author: Thieme Hennis (Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International)
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