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Mushroom Foraging Tips – June 2023
Winter has certainly arrived in the Western Cape, with the last week of May being very wet and cold. The rains this year have been excellent, and with excellent rain comes excellent mushroom foraging!
The colder temperatures bring the possibility of finding the elusive and beautiful Wood Blewitt (Clitocybe nuda). These violet-coloured mushrooms are a cold-weather winter treasure! Temperatures have to drop to below 10C before they will appear.
Other winter species found during this time include Pine Rings (Lactarius deliciosus), Shaggy Ink Caps (Coprinus comatus), Blushers (Amanita rubescens), and boletes such as the Bay Bolete (Imleria badia), amongst others.
Be careful not to confuse the Wood Blewitt with the poisonous Cortinarius species which look similar but have rust/brown-coloured spores. Wood Blewitts are generally violet in colour, fading as they age. The gills are bright in younger specimens and the spores are a pale pinkish-buff colour. The flowery scent is another feature that helps to identify this elusive mushroom. They are a saprobic species and can be found in various habitats including gardens, grassland, and woodlands. Pro tip: look under hedges and bushes in forests and forest edges.