Blue Legs for Winter – The Wood Blewit

Note: This post was inspired by overhearing a conversation at my local pub where they raved on about a local guy who knew where the ‘Blue Legs’ were at! He had bags of them for sale! I could only assume that they meant ‘Blewits’. On asking the bar maid, she knew nothing of Blewits and only that they were known locally as ‘Blue Legs’. Only later I have realised ‘Blue Legs’ are a common name given to ‘Field Blewits’ (found in fields would you believe?) much less common than our Wood Blewit in question, which has the common name of ‘Blue Cap’. This makes you think though. The relevance of scientific ‘latin’ names holds its own here. I think a lot is lost in translation in mushroom identification with common names. Even though I love them so, Latin names make sense overall (even though they tend to change themselves!)

Winter was making itself felt as it’s cold arm stretched across the land. But one lazy Sunday afternoon at the end of November, I dragged myself over to the local mushroom hangouts. Being south side of a major city you’re a little stuck for local woodland. Blaby on the other hand (South Leicester) comes up with the goods. We have a collection of mini public woodland and country byways. They’re all great because at one point or another they eventually end up at the local pub! Or is that my doing?

Anyway. For a casual stroll, I was surprised to come across quite a few lovely specimens. Three of them I’m still not sure about and still checking. But today I came across a solitary ‘Wood Blewit’ (Lepista nuda). You’ll maybe notice I have filed this post both under ‘Identity Crisis’ AND ‘Woodland Treats’ categories. All the identification characteristics were there: The colour, the presence of a wavy margin and also it being a stand alone species, living on dead organic matter (saprotrophs). When picking them you’ll notice the the woodland floor wants to come with them too! Another tell tale ID sign. As lloks can be deceiving, be aware of mistaking it for one of the ‘Webcaps’. A spore print (see how here) can help solve this issue.

See the pics below. I know they’re not of the best quality as I was bloody cold and didn’t have time to get the best results!

Wood Blewit, Blue Leg or Blue Hat

The blue (purple/violet) colours of the Wood Blewit mushroom

In fact, the first time I had taken a spore print of the Blewit, I was very unconvinced about the pale pink (or pale lilac) colour that was to be expected. It seemed to look like a very light brown!

But after some extra professional advice I was comforted in the fact that this was an understandable concern and that Webcaps have a very distinct ‘rust brown colour’ – which is good to know…

(Note: See my other ‘snow covered’ post on the Wood Blewit).