Species of the Month - September 2017

Amethyst Deceiver

Laccaria amethystina

Laccaria amethystea

The Amethyst Deceiver is a common woodland mushroom characterised by the purple cap, gills and stem.  The cap is normally about 2-4 cm across, with the outer part often lined due to the gills showing through the cap.  It grows with a wide variety of trees, both broadleaved and coniferous, but the most frequent is beech, as in the photo above.  The caps can be hard to spot among beech leaf litter but are more conspicuous in bare, mossy or grassy soil.

Laccaria amethystina

In dry weather the caps turn white, as in this photo by Jan Hamilton.  The stems are very tough and often twisted.

Laccaria amethystina

The stem has a covering of loose white fibres, especially when young.  This photo by Sallie Jack shows the widely-spaced gills with shorter gills between them at the cap edge.  These rather wavy and waxy gills help to distinguish the Amethyst Deceiver from other purple mushrooms.  The spores are white; this can often be seen on the gills of mature specimens, or can be detected by leaving the cap overnight on a smooth surface to give a spore print.

The main confusion species is Cortinarius violaceus but that is a much larger mushroom with a chunky bulbous stem, a rough scaly cap and brown spores.  It is very rare.  Other mushrooms with purple cap and/or stem don't generally have purple gills as well, or if they do the gills are spaced close together.

Laccaria amethystina

The cap also has a covering of white fibres when young, but these soon disappear to leave a smooth or minutely scaly surface.

Laccaria amethystina

These were growing under Spruce on Lismore, photo by Teenie Wilson.  The whole mushroom becomes brown as it gets older, eventually losing every trace of purple.  The stems are often the first part to turn brown.


Please send in your Amethyst Deceiver sightings using the form below, or email sightings@lnhg.org.uk with the details if you prefer.  If you are not sure of the identity of your mushroom, please send a photo to sightings@lnhg.org.uk, or put one on the LNHG Facebook page.

Date of sighting 
Grid reference 
Associated trees  
Name of finder 
Your name (if different) 
Email (not needed if I already know it!) 
Any other details, e.g numbers, habitat,


By filling in this form you agree that the information contained in this form may be collated and disseminated manually or electronically for environmental decision-making, education, research and other public benefit uses in accordance with the LNHG data access policy.  Your email address will not form part of the record and will not be passed on to anyone.

Carl Farmer
LNHG Biological Records Manager

Sightings so far

9 September - Found by Teenie in hazelwood near Port Ramsay, Lismore.


Note you can still send in records for past species of the month.  Here are the previous August species:

Sep 2016 - Garden Spider
Sep 2014 - Four-spotted Orb Weaver
Sep 2013 - Parrot Waxcap
Sep 2012- Tawny Grisette
Sep 2011 - Fly Agaric

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Complete list of Species of the Month

This project is supported by Scottish Natural Heritage

All photos and other content copyright Carl Farmer except where stated.  The 2nd, 3rd and 5th photos are Jan Hamilton, Sallie Jack and Teenie Wilson respectively.  Mouse over photos to see credits.