This section is a quick explanation of some of the identifying characteristics of Lepista species which fall into the taxonomic family Tricholomataceae.
As with all of these pages, they are NOT intended to be used as a key or diagnostic tool, but a guide of basic identifying characteristics so that you can make informed decisions and easy-access to other, more detailed resources.
Young specimens have an inrolled margin (cap edges) that flare out a bit with age and may become somewhat wavy. The cap is typically some shade of purple-to-tan and may sport small cracks but is otherwise smooth. The margin is often waterlogged (you can see in the image above).
Shades of lilac and lavender make young L. nuda easy to differentiate, but the colors fade with age and exposure to the elements to tans and greys.
Usually growing individually, the stipes of nearby fruitbodies may fuse. Stipes are often striate or finely fibrous in external texture. They are equal in width or bulbous towards the base.
L. nuda are saprobes (they eat decaying material) and will be found growing on the ground (not wood) individually or gregariously, sometimes attached at the base of their stipe. Look for areas of decaying leaves shaded by tall grasses in the cooler months.
Like many other saprobes, these can be cultivated, or at a minimum encouraged to grow in mushrooms beds.
These fruitbodies can be some of the last respites for bugs before it gets cold, so pick Lepista when young and prior to the cap unfurling completely, if you can.
Lepista species are probably most akin to a more moisture-dense portobello mushroom and can be cooked in similar ways. The stipe may be more tough and require more cooking time.
The most common look-a-likes are probably the Cortinarius (especially C. iodes and iodeoides) and even the pictured C. violaceus. All of these Cortinarius will drop a rust-brown colored spore-print. Several Laccaria can also look like L. nuda but can be differentiated based on their wider spaced gills. A similar species, Lepista tarda/sordida will not be violet when young and have thinner stipes.
Similar in color and habitat, often occurring at the same time of year. These will drop a rust-colored spore print and many will have wider spaced gills.
Several species of this genus are toxic.
Find out more here.
Cap and gill colors can be similar and they appear at about the same time of year.
more to come
Please remember to seek other sources for confirmation before consuming any wild mushroom