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Laccaria amethystina

[ Basidiomycetes > Agaricales > Hydnangiaceae > Laccaria . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

This little mushroom is easily recognized: it has thick purple gills, a white spore print, and a small cap that is initially purple but soon fades to buff or brownish. It is found east of the Rocky Mountains, under hardwoods. For a similar mushroom found west of the Rockies, see Laccaria amethysteo-occidentalis. Laccaria amethystina looks a little like a small Cortinarius in the subgenus Seriocybe, but those mushrooms have a cortina covering the young gills, and rusty brown spore prints (consequently, the gills in mature specimens are also rusty brown).

Laccaria amethystea is a synonym. The name Laccaria amethystina was previously misapplied, on the West Coast, to Laccaria amethysteo-occidentalis, but that species has broadly elliptical, rather than round, spores, as well as a shaggier stem.


Ecology: Mycorrhizal with hardwoods (especially partial to oaks and beech); growing alone, scattered, or gregariously; late spring and summer; widely disributed east of the Rocky Mountains.

Cap: 0.5-3.5 cm; broadly convex to flat; often with a central depression; the margin even or inrolled, not lined, or slightly lined at maturity; finely hairy-scaly, or nearly bald; bright grayish purple, fading to buff; changing color markedly as it dries out (often resulting in "two-toned" specimens).

Gills: Attached to the stem, or rarely running down it; distant or nearly so; thick; waxy; dark purple or colored like the cap.

Stem: 1-7 cm long; 1-7 mm thick; equal or slightly swollen at the base; finely to coarsely hairy or scaly; colored like the cap; with lilac to whitish basal mycelium.

Flesh: Insubstantial; colored like the cap or paler.

Odor and Taste: Not distinctive.

Chemical Reactions: KOH on cap surface brownish.

Spore Print: White.

Microscopic Features: Spores 7-10 µ; globose; ornamented with spines 1.5-3 µ long and over 1 µ wide at their bases; inamyloid. Basidia 4-spored, rarely 2-spored. Cheilocystidia narrowly cylindric, subclavate, or somewhat irregular; 25-65+ x 4-12 µ. Pileipellis a cutis of elements 6-20 µ wide, with upright individual elements or bundles of upright elements; terminal cells subclavate to capitate.

REFERENCES: (Hudson, 1778) Cooke, 1884. (Smith, Smith & Weber, 1979; Phillips, 1991/2005; Metzler & Metzler, 1992; Bessette, Miller, Bessette & Miller, 1995; Mueller, 1997; Barron, 1999; Halling & Mueller, 2005; McNeil, 2006; Bionion et al., 2008.) Herb. Kuo 06129605, 08270207, 05120704, 05281005.

This site contains no information about the edibility or toxicity of mushrooms.


Laccaria amethystina

Laccaria amethystina

Laccaria amethystina

Laccaria amethystina

Laccaria amethystina

Laccaria amethystina

Laccaria amethystina

Laccaria amethystina

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Kuo, M. (2010, December). Laccaria amethystina. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: