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Mushroom Foraging Tips: August 2022

These mushroom foraging tips apply to the Cape Town area and other parts of the Western Cape such as George and surrounding areas.

The delicious Wood Blewit (Clitocybe nuda) mushroom fruits during the colder Western Cape winter months. As August brings some of the coldest temperatures of winter before spring approaches, it’s the perfect time for them.

The best time to look for Wood Blewits is after large cold fronts have moved through and there has been a substantial period of very cold weather. So if it snows on the mountains around the Cape, head out a few days later and look for these lovely mushrooms!

Wood Blewits are a saprophytic species that grow on decaying leaf litter, so look out for them in hidden spaces such as under bushes and hedges in coniferous and deciduous forests.

Wood Blewit Identification:

  • Young fruits have a stocky build and violet-tinged caps and gills
  • Caps mature at 6 -15 cm in diameter with a slightly in-rolled margin
  • On maturing, the violet-tinged caps fade, turning slightly brown towards the centre
  • Gills are sinuate and crowded, with a lilac flush that turns buff and then brown as they mature
  • The scent is pleasant light floral aniseed
  • The spores are pale pinkish-buff

As with all mushrooms, make sure you identify the Wood Blewit correctly. Make absolutely certain it isn’t the poisonous purple Cortinarius species that are easily confused with Wood Blewits. The purple Cortinarius has a slimy, more purple cap and rusty brown spores versus the Wood Blewit’s pale pinkish spores and a cap that will never be slimy.

Although regarded as a good edible, there have been cases of allergic reactions to Wood Blewits, so start with small amounts if it’s your first time trying them!

Wood Blewit (Clitocybe nuda) on a rainy day
Wood Blewit (Clitocybe nuda) on a rainy day
Foraged Wood Blewits (Clitocybe nuda)
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