Violet Webcap

Cortinarius (Cortinarius) violaceus

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By Roger Phillips

Published 2006

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Violet Webcap Cortinarius (Cortinarius) violaceus (L.) Gray (illustrated 40% life size) Cap 3.5–15cm across, convex, margin incurved; dark violaceous to blue-black; covered in fine, downy scales. Stem 60–160×10–20mm, 20–40mm wide at swollen to bulbous base; dark blue-violaceous; covered in woolly fibrils. Flesh violaceous, more strongly so below cap cuticle and in stem; taste mild, smell slight, of cedar wood. Gills adnate; dark violet then purplish-brown. Spores 12–15×7–8.5¼, elliptical to almond-shaped, rough. Spore print rust. Habitat in deciduous woods, especially oak, birch, and beech, occasionally with conifers; autumn. Uncommon, endangered on Red Data List. Said to be edible but I advise against it, as all Cortinarius contain toxins. Note the colour is much more violet than that captured on film.