Monday, January 25, 2010

Lucille's blewits

Last week my neighbor and friend, Lucille Miles, stopped by and handed over a bag of blewits that she'd found fruiting under the Redwood in her backyard. They were a beautiful shade of lavender, almost purple and I was practically salivating at the thought of painting them. Sadly, I didn't get the chance to paint for three days, at which time they had changed color and gone a bit brown. Still, they were quite lovely. Blewits (Clitocybe nuda) are easily found where I live. They often form beautiful fairy rings, under oak as well as redwood, around my area, and are considered edible.

According to Wild About Mushrooms, the cookbook of the Mycological Society of San Francisco, the word blewit is an old English contraction of "blue hat". There are some delicious looking recipes there, too, for those who are so inclined! I don't eat the mushrooms I find. Perhaps I'm a coward, but I'm happy just to be in their presence and to draw or paint them.

An article at Wikipedia Clitocybe nuda  can be found in Europe and North America. Apparently, they've been exported to Australia, as well.


  1. They certainly are still quite lovely -- this drawing will definitely have me keeping an eye peeled when the mushrooms start coming up around here. I'm pretty sure we don't have anything like them here, but I've never really looked for purple mushrooms -- so, maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised. Thank you for getting us into this adventure with your beautiful drawings... but, between what you said and the Wikipedia mention of "some caution about edibility" my adventure will extend only to looking (and maybe drawing).

  2. Beautiful studies, Debbie. The gills are masterful.

  3. Charlene, here's a link to something called Club Tread in Victoria that mentions Clitocybe nuda as fruiting in the area. And remember, they often aren't all that purple when you find them. When they're tan they blend in very well with the decaying leaves.

    Robyn, thank you!

  4. I had been wondering if you enjoyed eating mushrooms and intended to ask you. Now I know. We have lots of mushrooms here and the only ones I know are the ones I eat... about 5 kinds. I keep thinking I'll figure out some more. I envy you being able to find mushrooms in the middle of winter. Lovely illustration of the Clitocybes. I think I've seen them around here.