Clitocybe nuda

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Clitocybe nuda
Lepista nuda LC0372.jpg
Wood blewit (Lepista nuda)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Fungi
Division: Basidiomycota
Class: Agaricomycetes
Order: Agaricales
Family: Tricholomataceae
Genus: Clitocybe
Species: C. nuda
Binomial name
Clitocybe nuda
(Bull.) H.E.Bigelow & A.H.Sm. (1969)

Agaricus nudus Bull. (1790)
Cortinarius nudus (Bull.) Gray (1821)
Gyrophila nuda (Fr.) Quél. (1886)
Lepista nuda (Bull.) Cooke (1871)
Tricholoma nudum (Bull.) P.Kumm. (1871)
Rhodopaxillus nudus (Bull.) Maire (1913) Tricholoma personatum var. nudum (Bull.) Rick (1961)

Clitocybe nuda
View the Mycomorphbox template that generates the following list
Mycological characteristics
gills on hymenium

cap is convex

or umbonate
hymenium is emarginate
stipe is bare
spore print is pink
ecology is saprotrophic
edibility: edible

Clitocybe nuda (also recognized as Lepista nuda and Tricholoma nudum, and commonly known as the wood blewit or blue stalk mushroom), is an edible mushroom, found in both coniferous and deciduous woodlands. It is a fairly distinctive mushroom that is widely eaten, though there is some caution about edibility. Nevertheless, it has been cultivated in Britain, the Netherlands and France.[2]

Taxonomy and naming[edit]

The French mycologist Pierre Bulliard described the wood blewit in 1790 as Agaricus nudus. Paul Kummer placed it in the genus Tricholoma in 1871, the same year that Mordecai Cubitt Cooke placed it in Lepista. It was known by these names for many years. The widely used synonym Lepista nuda should no longer be used since Lepista has been synonymized with Clitocybe.[3] The primary issue here is a debate about the correct type species for the genus Clitocybe. Some, including Singer, take the type to be C. gibba. However, the majority of experts now take C. nebularis to be the type. If C. nebularis is taken to be the type, then Lepista becomes a deprecated synonym of Clitocybe, and Clitocybe nuda is the correct name for this species.


This mushroom can range from lilac to purple-pink. Some North American specimens are duller and tend toward tan, but usually have purplish tones on the stem and gills. The gills are attached to the short, stout stem. Mature specimens have a darker color and flatter cap; younger ones are lighter with more convex caps. Wood blewits have a very distinctive odor, which has been likened by one author to that of frozen orange juice.[4]

Wood blewits can be confused with certain purple species of the genus Cortinarius, including the uncommon C. camphoratus,[5] many of which may be poisonous. Cortinarius mushrooms often have the remains of a veil under their caps and a ring-like impression on their stem. Wood blewits can be easily distinguished by their odor, as well as by their spore print. Wood blewits have a light (white to pale pink) spore print; Cortinarius species produce a rusty brown spore print after several hours on white paper. Their brown spores often dust their stems and objects beneath them.[6]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The wood blewit is found in Europe and North America and is becoming more common in Australia, where it appears to have been introduced. It is a saprotrophic species, growing on decaying leaf litter. In the United Kingdom, it appears from September through to December.

Soil analysis of soil containing mycelium from a wood blewit fairy ring under Norway spruce (Picea abies) and Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) in southeast Sweden yielded fourteen halogenated low molecular weight organic compounds, three of which were brominated and the others chlorinated. It is unclear whether these were metabolites or pollutants. Brominated compounds are unknown as metabolites from terrestrial fungi.[7]


Wood blewits are generally regarded as a good edible, but they are known to cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. This is particularly likely if the mushroom is consumed raw, though allergic reactions are known even from cooked blewits. It is therefore important to cook wood blewits before eating, as consumption of raw specimens could lead to indigestion. Wood blewits contain the sugar trehalose, which is edible for most people.

Blewits can be eaten as a cream sauce or sautéed in butter. They can also be cooked like tripe or as omelette filling, and also make good stewing mushrooms.[8] They have a strong flavour, so they combine well with leeks or onions.[5]

Wood blewits can be preserved in olive oil or white vinegar after blanching.[5]

Cultivated wood blewits are said not to taste as good as wild wood blewits.[5]


  1. ^ "Clitocybe nuda (Bull.) H.E. Bigelow & A.H. Sm. 1969". MycoBank. International Mycological Association. Retrieved 2012-02-06. 
  2. ^ Carluccio A (2003). The Complete Mushroom Book. Quadrille. ISBN 0-8478-2556-6. 
  3. ^ Harmaja, H. (2003). Notes on Clitocybe s. lato (Agaricales). Ann. Bot. Fennici 40: 213-218.
  4. ^ Arora, David. (1986). Mushrooms Demystified. Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press. ISBN 0-89815-169-4
  5. ^ a b c d Jordan, Peter (2006). Field Guide to Edible Mushrooms of Britain and Europe. New Holland Publishers. pp. 76–77, 150. ISBN 1-84537-419-3. 
  6. ^ McFarland, Joe; Mueller, Gregory M (2009). Edible Wild Mushrooms of Illinois & Surrounding States: A Field-To-Kitchen Guide. University of Illinois Press. pp. 57–58. ISBN 0-252-07643-5. 
  7. ^ Hjelm, Olof (1996). "Analysis of halogenated organic compounds in coniferous forest soil from a Lepista nuda (wood blewitt) fairy ring". Chemosphere 32 (9): 1719–28. doi:10.1016/0045-6535(96)00089-6. ISSN 0045-6535. 
  8. ^ Mabey, Richard (2004). Food for Free. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-00-718303-8. 

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