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Lepiota caerulescens
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Lepiota caerulescens

Eastern Bluing Lepiota

Synonyms:

Substrate: Ground

Location: Hardwood Forests

Spore Color: White

Gill Color: White

Comments: 

These small Lepiotas were found growing directly from exposed dirt on the forest floor. Not over 2" tall. They looked very similar to the group in the lookalikes section which are found on the other pages of this site. So I put them in my tackle box and continued on. It was not until I got home when I noticed a small amount of bluing at the base of the stem and on the margin of the gills. 

The bluing takes a long time to develop after they are handled. I crushed the stem on the mushroom on the far left in the second picture, and it was not until 2 or 3 minutes later that the picture was taken. The bluing still had not finished the process. The color change starts off as a yellowish color, eventually turning to the bright blue after several minutes. 

As the mushrooms are dried, all of their hidden color appears. Most of the gills and the stem dry a bright blue color. The cap dries to a bright reddish pink. Herbariums report that the blue and pink color will fade with time as they are stored.

The bluing color is likely unrelated to the production of hallucinogenic compounds, although the exact reasons are still unknown. There is a possibility this mushroom contains deadly compounds.

All around, one of the coolest mushrooms I have come across. 

Lookalikes: 

Lepiota cristata, Lepiota castaneus, and Lepiota subincarnata are very similar but do not blue when handled.

Photos:

Lepiota caerulescens

Lepiota caerulescens

The stem on the left mushroom was crushed 2-3 minutes befoer this picture was taken. The bluing had yet to fully develop.

Lepiota caerulescens

Fully dried speciemens. 

Lepiota caerulescens

After a couple more days of drying, the pink turns into a dark purple.

7/28/12 - TC Steele Historic Site - Peckerwood Trail - Brown County, IN

Lepiota caerulescens

Notice the bluing under the ring. That is where it develops first.

Lepiota caerulescens

Lepiota caerulescens

Lepiota caerulescens

Lepiota caerulescens

Dried and fresh specimens together.

9/8/12 - Avondale Neighborhood - Marion, IN

Lepiota caerulescens

Trailside in the park.

Lepiota caerulescens

These were along a creek.

9/8/12 - Matter Park - Marion, IN