The mushroom class that I taught with Mia Andler today was a success! 24 people showed up and we found all sorts of mushrooms on our short walk, including blewiitts (Lepista nuda), various milkcaps (Lactarius) and little browns (LBM’s.) But we also found today a purple Cortinarius! The first one I had ever seen. And it did look a lot like a blewitt (a delicious edible). I could tell them apart only through familiarity with texture and smell. And the bit of rusty brown on the gills where enough spores had gathered. Some sources say purple Corts are potentially DEADLY poisonous, others suggest otherwise, but no source recommends eating this mushroom. DO NOT EAT PURPLE CORTS! Blewitts have a pale spore print, either pinkish or buff, the Cort look alikes have a rusty brown print. But otherwise to the untrained eye, they look uncannily similar. Because all the purple mushrooms I’ve ever seen in person up until now have been blewitts and purple Laccarias (both good to eat), I’ve often thought purple meant good. Well, unless it’s a deadly Cort.
So with mushrooms, beware, and . . . beware. . . and beware!