What You Should Know
Entoloma hochstetteri is a species of mushroom that is native to New Zealand. The small mushroom is a distinctive all-blue color, while the gills have a slight reddish tint from the spores. The blue coloring of the fruit body is due to three azulene pigments.
Although many members of the genus Entoloma are poisonous, the toxicity of this species is unknown. It has been investigated to see if its blue coloring might be manufactured as a food dye.
The Ngāi Tūhoe describes that the Kōkako bird (Callaeas wilsoni) got its blue wattles from it rubbing its cheek against the mushroom. Thus giving the mushroom the title of werewere-kokako.
Other names: Blue Pinkgill, Sky-Blue Mushroom, Werewere-Kokako.
Entoloma hochstetteri Mushroom Identification
The cap may be up to 4 cm (1.4 in) in diameter and conical in shape. The cap color is indigo-blue with a green tint and is fibrillose. The cap margin is striate and rolled inwards.
The gill attachment is adnexed or emarginate, gills are thin and 3–5 mm wide, essentially the same color as the cap, sometimes with a yellow tint.
The cylindrical stem is up to 5 cm (2 in) long by 0.5 cm thick, fibrillose, and stuffed.
The spores are 9.9–13.2 by 11.8–13.2 μm, tetrahedral in shape, hyaline, smooth, and thin-walled. The basidia are 35.2–44.2 by 8.8–13.2 µm, club-shaped, hyaline, and with two or four sterigmata.
January and July.
Entoloma hochstetteri Taxonomy and Etymology
The species was first described as Cortinarius hochstetteri in 1866 by the Austrian mycologist Erwin Reichardt, before being given its current binomial in 1962 by Greta Stevenson. It is named after the German-Austrian naturalist Ferdinand von Hochstetter.
In 1976 Egon Horak combined Entoloma hochstetteri and Entoloma aeruginosum from Japan with Entoloma virescens, first described from the Bonin Islands in Japan. In 1989 S. Dhancholia recorded E. hochstetteri in India. In 1990 Tsuguo Hongo from Japan examined E. hochstetteri and E. aeruginosum and concluded that they were different taxa, because of the difference in the size of the spores and the shape of the pseudocystidia. In 2008 Horak recognized E. hochstetteri as a different species from E. virescens, while noting that "it is open to speculation" whether taxa such as E. virescens are the same species.
A similar mushroom is found in Australia and mycologists differ as to whether it is E. hochstetteri, E. virescens or a separate species.
Photo 1 - Author: Bernard Spragg (Public Domain)
Photo 2 - Author: Bernard Spragg (Public Domain)
Photo 3 - Author: Bernard Spragg (Public Domain)
Photo 4 - Author: Bernard Spragg (Public Domain)