Clitocybe nuda – Wood Blewits

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Wood Blewits (Clitocybe nuda) are edible mushrooms that can be found in compost heaps, wood chips, and leaf litter after heavy rains. The mushrooms can fruit multiple times per season from fall to early winter.
Wood Blewits have suede-like caps that are purple when the mushroom is young, turning tan then white as it ages. The gills are close together and keep a purplish color with age. The stems of young specimens are thick and enlarged at the base. Clumps of debris usually come up attached to the stem when the mushrooms are removed from the ground. Wood Blewits have a fruity fragrance and light pinkish spore print.
This mushroom doesn’t agree with everyone, so only a small amount should be consumed the first time eating them. The mushrooms are mildly toxic raw, so must be thoroughly cooked before consumption. Wood Blewits have a lot of moisture, so it is best to dry sauté them first. They have a mild meaty flavor. The mushrooms also dry very well.
Wood Blewits must be differentiated from mushrooms in the Cortinarius genus. Cortinarius mushrooms will have a slimy and more purple cap. There is a veil that covers the gills when the mushroom is young. Remnants of the veil will appear on the stem as a cobweb-like substance. Cortinarius mushrooms also have a sturdier stem and a rusty brown spore print.

Written by Amy Demers, founder of the Connecticut Foraging Club. To learn more about foraging in Connecticut, check out our upcoming classes.

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