Introduction to Fall Mushrooms
by Michael W. Beug Email: email@example.com
The Evergreen State College, Olympia WA
Cortinarius violaceous is a spectacular member of the Cortinarius genus. This large and diverse group of mushrooms contains over one thousand species. They are generally easy to identify to genus because of the characteristic cobwebby veil (that often disappears in age) and the rusty-brown spore print. However, they are notoriously hard to identify to species. While there are some edible Cortinarius species including Cortinarius violaceous, at least one member of the genus is potentially deadly. Since the onset of toxic symptoms may not be for days after the meal, it took a long time to associate some Cortinarius species with deaths that occurred a week or two later. Avoid nondescript brown members of the genus since the potentially deadly one Cortinarius rubellus, (formerly Cortinarius rainierensis, Cortinarius orellanoides, and Cortinarius speciossimus), is small, brown, and non-descript. So far serious poisonings by Cortinarius species have only been reported in Europe.