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Amethyst Deceiver Mushrooms (Laccaria amethystina) Identification

Amethyst Deceiver/Summer/Autumn/Edible

Scientific Name

Laccaria amethystina


Family

Hydnangiaceae


Habitat

This mushroom, common in temperate areas of Europe, Asia and the Americas’ grows in deciduous as well as coniferous forests. I find them mostly with beech or oak. It appears in late summer through to early winter.


Description

This is quite a changeable mushroom and can appear different depending on weather conditions. So care must be taken when dealing with older specimens as the colour may have faded.

Identifying Features:


Cap:

Convex to flattened, sometimes even with upturned edges. Lilac/purple when young then fading to tan/brown

Laccaria-amethystina-Laccaria_amethystea.jpg: H. Krispderivative work: Ak ccm, CC BY 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons


Stem:

Tough fibrous, twisted and quite often hollow, same colour as the cap.


Gills:

lilac/purple when young fading to tan/brown with age. Widely Space with intermediate gills

 

AJC1 from UK, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons


Smell:

mild mushroom scent


Spores:

White.


Differences

It can have a really wavy cap and completely faded cap – see images below

Ecomare/Yessica Haker, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Ecomare/Yessica Haker, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons


Uses

Can be used in a vast number of recipes, however, one of our favourites is simply fried quickly and stirred through white rice to give bright flecks of purple.


In food

It has a pleasant mushroom flavour so works well in any dish. It keeps it purple colour when cooked so livens up any dish. The stems are quite tough so I only collect the caps.


Harvesting

Quite small but can be gathered in large numbers as they often appear in groups. The stems are quite tough and I personally only use the caps.


Known hazards

While not toxic itself, in soils that are polluted with arsenic, it can accumulate a high concentration of that element.


Potential lookalikes

The potentially deadly Inocybe geophylla lilacina, the lilac fibrecap, but this mushroom has off white to grey gills whereas the amethyst deceiver has the same colour gills as the cap and stem.

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