AppearanceThe cap is initially bell-shaped before becoming broadly convex and then flat in maturity, and attains a diameter of 2–6 cm. The cap surface is slimy and smooth, and has a lilac or purplish color.
The flesh is white, firm, and thin. The color fades in maturity, and the cap develops irregular yellowish spots, or becomes yellowish in the center.
Gills are attached to the stem and packed together closely. They are lilac to violet when young, but become rusty brown to grayish cinnamon when the spores mature. The stem measures 4–7 cm long by 0.5–1.5 cm thick, and is nearly equal in width throughout other than a somewhat bulbous base. It is solid, slimy, smooth, and has violet or purplish colors that are usually lighter than the cap; sometimes, the stem base is more or less white.
The cobweb-like, pale violet partial veil leaves a zone of thin, purple or rusty fibers on the upper stem. The mushroom has no distinctive taste or odor. Although edible, it is not recommended for consumption.
"Cortinarius iodes" produces a rusty-brown spore print. Spores are elliptical, with a finely roughened surface, measuring 8–10 by 5–6.5 μm. The basidia are four-spored, club-shaped, and measure 28–39.5 by 9.3–14 μm.
The cap cuticle comprises a distinctive layer of 3–8 μm-wide hyphae that form a layer usually 110–125 μm thick; this layer is less distinct or thinner in old or poorly preserved specimens. Clamp connections are present in hyphae throughout the fruit body.
Naming"Cortinarius iodes" is a fairly distinctive species and its combination of characteristics make it readily identifiable. Several other "Cortinarius" species have evolved a slimy coating that probably help protects the fruit bodies from predation by insects and other invertebrates.
DistributionIn North America, it is common in eastern regions, and rare in the Pacific Northwest. Its distribution extends from eastern Canada south into Central America and northern regions of South America. It also occurs in northern Asia.
Habitat"Cortinarius iodes" forms mycorrhizal associations with deciduous trees, particularly oaks. The fruit bodies of "Cortinarius iodes" sometimes grow singly, but more often scattered or in groups under hardwood trees, in humus and litterfall.
Typical habitats include bog edges, swampy areas, and hummocks. Fruiting usually occurs from July to November.
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