All parts of this mushroom—cap, gills and stalk—are violet to tan. Grows scattered in open areas, in mulch piles, and along paths. August–October. Cap convex to flat, margin inrolled at first, becoming wavy and upturned; violet-lilac, becoming tannish; texture smooth. Gills: broad; spacing crowded; violet-lilac, fading to tan; attachment notched. Stalk often bulbous toward base; violet-tan, fading to tannish brown; texture dry, scaly; solid. Spore print pinkish buff. Spores magnified elliptical, smooth, colorless.
Lookalikes: The silvery-violet cort (Cortinarius alboviolaceus) has a cobwebby veil when young, and its gills turn brown as it matures. Look for a dusting of rusty spores on the stalk—but there's no guarantee you'll see this. Use all features when identifying any mushroom!
Habitat and Conservation
Mushrooms are a lot like plants, but they lack chlorophyll and have to take nutrients from other materials. Mushrooms are neither plants nor animals. They are in a different kingdom — the fungi. Fungi include the familiar mushroom-forming species, plus the yeasts, molds, smuts, and rusts.
Always be cautious when eating edible mushrooms. Be absolutely sure of the ID, and only eat a small amount the first time you try it to avoid a reaction..