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Stropharia aeruginosa

[ Basidiomycetes > Agaricales > Strophariaceae > Stropharia. . . ]

by Michael Kuo

When young and fresh, Stropharia aeruginosa is stunning and unmistakable: its broadly bell-shaped cap is deep blue to deep green, and so slimy that it glistens on the forest floor. The young stem is also blue or green, and decorated with white scales. As it ages, however, this species begins to develop yellowish colors, and is eventually a nondescript brownish yellow overall. This dramatic change of appearance is reminiscent of the metamorphosis undergone by Hygrocybe psittacina, the "Parrot Mushroom."

Unlike the Parrot Mushroom, however, Stropharia aeruginosa has a partial veil that sometimes leaves white remnants on the cap margin and an ephemeral ring or ring zone on the stem. Additionally, the spore print and mature gills are purplish black--though some forms appear to develop brownish gills.


Ecology: Saprobic, growing alone or gregariously under hardwoods or conifers and sometimes in grass (but see comments below); summer and fall; widely distributed in North America.

Cap: 2-6 cm; broadly bell-shaped at first, becoming broadly convex with a central bump, or flat; very slimy; smooth; deep green to deep blue, developing yellowish areas and finally becoming brownish yellow overall; the margin sometimes hung with partial veil remnants.

Gills: Attached to the stem; whitish to pale gray at first, later purplish gray to purple-black, or brownish; close.

Stem: 3-8 cm long; to 1 cm thick; dry, or slimy when fresh; equal; with a fragile ring which typically disappears, or with a ring zone; often with white scales when young; pale above, colored like the cap below.

Flesh: Soft; white or colored like the cap.

Odor and Taste: Not distinctive.

Spore Print: Dark purple-brown to purple-black.

Microscopic Features: Spores 6-10 x 4-5 µ; smooth; elliptical. Chrysocystidia present.

REFERENCES: (Curtis, 1786) Quélet, 1872. (Fries, 1821; Saccardo, 1887; Kauffman, 1918; Stamets, 1978; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1979; Arora, 1986; Phillips, 1991/2005; Lincoff, 1992; Barron, 1999; McNeil, 2006; Miller & Miller, 2006.) Herb. Kuo 08150301, 09210602.

Psilocybe aeruginosa is a synonym.

Stropharia pseudocyanea (= Stropharia albocyanea), of the Pacific Northwest, is similar in appearance but is typically paler, and grows in grass. Its gills and spore print are brownish, rather than purplish brown.

Further Online Information:

Stropharia aeruginosa at Roger's Mushrooms


Stropharia aeruginosa

Stropharia aeruginosa

Stropharia aeruginosa

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Kuo, M. (2007, October). Stropharia aeruginosa. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: