Edible Mushrooms, Pacific Northwest
When Laccaria Amethyst Mushrooms grow among moss, the caps of this beautiful mushroom stand out and are very easy to find. More often they grow among dark damp leaf litter and sometimes go unnoticed until the caps begin turning pale. Old caps become almost white in dry weather and could be confused with other small pale ocher or fawn mushrooms, some of which are poisonous.
At one time the Laccaria Amethyst Mushrooms was considered merely a variety of the deceiver (Laccaria laccata), a species of the same general size and form but very variable in color. During wet weather young caps of laccaria amethystina are quite purple (as is the specimen seen here .
The broad, deep gills of this mushroom are widely spaced and interspersed with shorter gills. Long before the cap fades to buff, the gills begin losing their color. The stem is up to 10 mm in diameter and up to 10 cm tall, the stems are hairy more so on the bottom and getting less hairy as you move towards the cap. They are deep purple at first, but becoming paler as the caps fade, the stems of this woodland species are usually bent and often quite twisted. They are very tough and fibrous.
Look for the Laccaria Amethyst Mushrooms among leaf litter in all kinds of woodland but particularly plentiful under alder and maple trees. These mushrooms are also known to be able to form mycorrhizal associations with deciduous trees and some coniferous trees.
They are edible, although it takes rather a lot of them to make a good meal. The fibrous stems of these mycorrhizal mushrooms are tough and inedible and so only the caps are worth collecting. Hard to harvest enough but still, very beautiful to see.