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Clitocybe nuda (Lepista nuda) - A lovely lilac mushroom, care should be used to prepare it properly to enjoy it.
This mushroom may be useful for auto-immune disease, to regulate immune oversensitivity for bowel disease.
The cap of this mushroom may be lilac colored (or bluish purple) in young specimens, but tends toward tan or mauve in older specimens. Take a peek underneath, to see the purple gills and stem - though older specimens may fade to tan or mauve here too.
It has a distinctive smell. Some say "fragrant", some say "lilac", some say "orange juice concentrate". It just smells like a slightly odd mushroom until you cut it though. Then it still smells odd for a few minutes. THEN it displays the distinctive smell - and to me, it is faintly orange juicy, and faintly lilacky (is that a word?).
Blewits have a strong flavor, and work well in dishes that mellow the flavor. Cream, shallots, and chicken are recommended accompaniments. They also work best with REAL ingredients - butter, bacon fat, fresh vegetables and whole grain breads.
CAUTION: Blewits are known to cause reactions in some people. Cooking time seems to be the factor that most affects digestibility. Be sure to cook them at least 15 minutes.
It grows in foresty duff, or woody compost. It likes shade, and fruits just as winter begins to get a grip on the region. It likes hardwoods, but may also fruit under some kinds of conifers.
When we found these the first time, they were spotted because of the slight color difference between them and the surrounding fallen dried leaves. The leaves in colors of yellow, to brown, to grayish brown, and an outline of mauvish brown that seemed a bit too smooth and a little too pink for leaves. We only discovered them on the hillside because one of them was very large - about 6 inches across. The rest, growing in a cluster around it, with many of the stems fused together, were much smaller. Most were already brownish on top, and only recognizable as Blewits by the gills and stem color.
This is another mushroom that I recognized the first time I saw it, in spite of many look-alikes. The distinctive color, the shape of the cap and gills, and the complete lack of a veil, ring, or ring zone on the stem, fairly screamed Blewit to me, even though I had only read of them, and not ever seen one before.