Revised April 9, 2005; October 11, 2007 and March 27, 2013.
Copyright 1998-2013 by John W. Allen.

Gymnopilus purpuratus (Cooke & Maas.) Sing. Photo: Fred Waldvogel.


Cap: 20-50 mm Broad, reddish-brown, with small erect scales appearing dense, especially in age, not viscid, convex, obtuse or subumbonate with a slight umbilicus in the center.

Gills: Slightly crenulate, close, rounded-adnexed. Yellow (nankeen to primrose).

Stem: 25-55 x 3-9 mm. Brazil brown (brown-red) covered by fibrils. Equal and dusted by spores in age. Context purple, often disappearing, fleshy, developing in most specimens blue spots or areas along the surface where the stems have been touched or scratched. Veil thick and black

Spores: 8-9 (11) X 4.8-5.5-(6). varicose in circumference, without plage and without a germ pore.

Sporeprint: Orange.

Habitat: Gregarious on rotted wood.

Distribution: The Austral Floral Zone, Chili, Argentina, Great Britain and Germany.

Season: Fall months

Dosage: Unknown, but considering the large size of this species, caution should be taken when attempting to consume this mushrooms.

Comment: This species was first identified in Australia by mycologist John Burton Cleland as Flammula Purpurata (derived from the Latin Purpuratus, clad in purple). Cleland described this species as being found on fallen trunks of wood. Gymnopilus purpuratus is an agaric identified from the austral floral zone and was also collected in Chile and identified by Singer in 1951, who also identified this species from Kew gardens in Surrey. This species blues easily, taste very bitter and is probably hallucinogenic. 1992 chemical analysis of collections from Germany by Dr. Jochen Gartz of the University of Leipzig and others have demonstrated high levels of psilocine and low levels of baeocystine. Dr. Gartz reported that "since 1983, this species has been observed on heaps of pig dung and woodchips in the district Rostock, Northern G. D. R. (East Germany). It seems that this species was introduced (into Germany) with grain from Argentina used for pig forage." Gartz also noted that this species stains blue when handled and was found to be exempt of other tryptamines, muscarine, and urea.

Cultivated outdoors in Leipzig, Germany. (Photo: All photos Courtesy of Jochen Gartz)

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