Photo: © Steve Trudell
Cortinarius violaceus
( Fr.) Fr.

Pileus: 2 - 12 cm broad; convex at first, broadly conic to planar umbonate when mature, at times campanulate; margins inrolled at first, then incurved and finally straight and even, at times wavy and undulating, often with a cortina on the edges; surface dry, at times polished, evenly covered with prominent erect short scales; disc dark violet fading to greyish to deep violet towards margins, with age becoming blue black to dark violet; context thick 0.5 - 1.5 cm at junction of stipe, thick, firm, fleshy, deep violet; taste mild; odour distinctive, described as ‘cedar like’.

Lamellae: Ascending at first, then horizontal and finally notched; average to distantly spaced, ventricose especially towards the margins, edges even though dusted with brown spores; greyish violet, at times appearing brown because of the spore deposit; 1 - 3 lamellulae.

Stipe: 5 - 15 cm long X 0.5 - 2.0 cm wide at apex, 2.0 to 4.0 cm at base; equal to tapering upwards, at times with an abrupt bulbous base; surface dry, fibrillose, at times with cortina or veil banding down stipe; deep violet towards apex, fading to greyish to light violet towards base; context, solid, firm, colour same as stipe surface.

Microcharacteristics: Spore print rusty brown; spores 13 - 16 X 8 - 10 µm, broadly ellipsoid, rough with warts; hymenial cystida abundant, fusoid ventricose.

Comments: This is a majestic and distinctive species. It is easily recognized by its distinctive and deep violet colours on the cap, gills and stipe, and the distinctive scaly cap and belted stipe. While there are other Cortinarius species with the cedar like odour, none have the distinctive deep violet colours. Microscopically, this species is also distinctive because it has hymenial cystidia on both the faces and edges of the gill.

Further Reading:

Arora, D. 1986. Mushrooms Demystified. Ten Speed Press. Berkeley, Ca. pp 958.

Moser, M. 1983. Keys to Agarics and Boleti (Polyporales, Boletales, Agaricales, Russulales). Roger Phillips. London. Eng. pp. 535.