Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Wood Blew its top?

Wood Blewits [Lepista nuda] Pied Bleu. We are fortunate enough to have these mushrooms growing under our lime tree. The French guide we use gives it two chefs hats... but says that the flavour isn't agreable to all [tastes like a mushroom to me.. but I can't taste goat in a chevre cheese either]. Unless we have Blewits [L. saeva] Pied Violet... three chefs hats?

My original guide... "Collins Guide to Mushrooms and Toadstools" [Morten Lange & F.Bayard Hora, 1963] lists them under the scientific name Tricholoma... T. nudum for the Wood Blewit and T. saevum for the Blewit and list them as "edible and good".
The French Guide... "Champignons - Reconnaitre, Cueillir, Cuisiner" [Pyrenees Magazine Thematique,  Milan Presse, 2007]  also gives T. nuda and Rhodopaxillus nudus for the Pied Bleu and just Rhodopaxillus saevus for the Pied Violet.
Paul Sterry's book "Mushrooms of Britain and Europe" [New Holland, 2001] uses the Lepista naming.

The caps of ours are a pale buff colour with lilac gills that are fused to a lilac/silver striated stem. This follows the illustration in my original guide for "Blewits"... but in the other two, more recent ones is closer to the "Wood Blewits" as is the fact that the stem is quite slim. I prefer to use photographic guides for mushroom identification, provided that the pictures are good.

Roger Philips "Mushrooms and other fungi of Great Britain & Europe" [Pan Books, 1981] is very good because he uses photographs of a number of specimens, including cut sections, but it is not pocket sized so can only be used at home! [You can also visit Roger's Mushrooms [his website with a lot more photos and extra information]

A lot of Paul Sterry's pictures seem over exposed, or under exposed, for specimens I know... and this is not good for other users. However, it could be down to the production of the book.[#]
I am not set up yet to look at the spore prints... but if they were pale pink and prickly that would have confirmed the identification of Lepista [Tricholoma] sp.
The stipe [stalk] is described in Collins as solid, although all the specimens that I've found have had a hollow centre, and the other guides don't mention the structure!
The fungi here and on our allotment in Leeds most closely resemble the Pied Bleu picture in the French guide... so I regard them as Wood Blewits [The allotment, in a former quarry, was long established, open land, heavily renovated in the 50's to 'tidy up' after the 2nd WW's "Grow for Britain" use. Our Wood Blewits there probably came in on some horse manure.]

These are my pictures:

They weren't this purple... the strong sunlight seems to have added a deeper purple cast to this picture.
[I'll have a go with Photoshop and see if I can get the colour better and replace it.]
These are the real colour...
The gills look as though the are seperate from the stalk... but aren't.

But both the Blewits are edible... and good... so that's what happened to them and how I used them is here on "De la Bonne Bouffe".

This is a better view of the caps, showing a better colour [taken indoors just before slicing].

[#] I've got the English and French versions of quite a few of my favourite guides now and the difference in colour of the pictures is quite marked in some cases!!


GaynorB said...

Interestin info and really clear pics.
Now I know .....

Tim said...

New picture just up. They will be added to tonight's Oxtail sooooop!