- ''This article discusses blewit mushrooms. A number of subjects share similar spellings. See Blewitt and Bluet for disambiguation.
Blewit refers to two closely-related species of edible agarics in the genus Clitocybe, the wood blewit (Clitocybe nuda) and the field blewit (Clitocybe saeva). Both species are treated by some authorities as belonging to the genus Lepista.
Both species have been treated by many authorities as belonging to the Clitocybe
segregate genus Lepista
. Recent molecular research suggests the genus Lepista
is nested within Clitocybe
Both wood blewits and field blewits are generally regarded as edible, but they are known to cause allergic
reactions in sensitive individuals. This is particularly likely if the mushroom is consumed raw, though allergic reactions are known even from cooked blewits. Wood blewits contain the sugar trehalose
, which is edible for most people.
Field blewits are often infested with fly larvae and don't store very well; they should therefore be used soon after picking.
The wood blewit
= Lepista nuda
= Tricholoma nudum
), is an edible mushroom
, found in both coniferous
woodlands. It is especially common where there is a large amount of duff
built up on the forest floor. It is a fairly distinctive mushroom which is widely eaten, though there is some caution about edibility. Nevertheless it has been cultivated in Britain
This mushroom can range from lilac to purple-pink. Some North American specimens are duller and tend toward tan, but usually have purplish tones on the stem and gills. The gills are attached to the short, stout stem. Mature specimens have a darker color and flatter cap; younger ones are lighter with more convex caps. Wood blewits have a very distinctive odor, which has been likened by one author to that of frozen orange juice.
Wood blewits can be confused with certain purple Cortinarius species, many of which may be poisonous. Wood blewits can be easily distinguished by their odor, as well as by their spore print. Wood blewits have a light (white to pale pink) spore print; Cortinarius species produce a rusty brown spore print after several hours on white paper.
Distribution and habitat
The wood blewit is found in Europe and North America and is becoming more common in Australia, where it appears to have been introduced. It is a saprotrophic
species, growing on decaying leaf litter.
The field blewit
= Lepista saeva
) is a mushroom
similar to the wood blewit
. It is commonly found growing in open plains.
The convex cap is light cream-brown with a smooth texture. The ringless stem is thin and has light purple-blue colour, hence an alternative name Blue-Leg.
Distribution and habitat
It prefers to grow in grasslands and dirt areas across Europe