Purple-gilled Laccaria (Laccaria ochropurpurea)
the photo above look like a rose? Nope --- it's a Purple-Gilled
Laccaria mushroom (Laccaria
a close relative. Here are the identification marks to look for,
beyond the beautiful purple-brown gills.
The cap typically has an
indentation in the center, as you can see to the left. Cap color
is less distinctive, since young mushrooms have colorful caps that fade
to nearly white in older specimens (like mine.)
Gills are attached to
the stalk (as you can see below). In younger specimens, the gills
are regularly arranged, but in older specimens (like the one at the
top of this post), the gills become quite ruffled.
Speaking of the stalk,
its color can be variable, but the texture is generally the same.
Notice how the stem appears rough and fibrous. There is no veil
Spores are whitish or
pale lilac. There's no need to take a spore print, though,
because the spores are copious and are quite obvious against the purple
picture is just for prettiness --- I enjoyed the way the cap turned up
and cracked open on my oldest specimen.)
Laccaria grows on the ground under oak trees, popping up in the
Wild Mushrooms of North America: A Field-to-Kitchen Guide notes that Purple-gilled
Laccaria and the related Common Laccaria (Laccaria
mediocre side dishes but deserve rave reviews for their wonderful
contribution to soups, sauces, and gravies." I'm about 98%
confident in my identification, but don't feel hungry enough to give
them a shot, even though the same guide notes that all of the easily
confused Laccaria species are non-poisonous.
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