Volume 10 Part 1 Article 70: Nutrition and Fruitbody Formation of Lepista nuda (Bull. Ex. Fr.) Cook

Volume 10 Part 1 Article 70
Year 1979
Title: Nutrition and Fruitbody Formation of Lepista nuda (Bull. Ex. Fr.) Cook
Authors: S.H. Wright and W.A. Hayes


The common wood blewit, Lepista nuda, has a wide geographical distribution arising commonly within Northern Europe and North America. It produces medium to large fruitbodies of a striking purple to lilac colouration and is commonly gathered from natural habitats for consumption. This species and its near relative L. saeva is especially regarded as a delicacy in the Midland region of England.

Collection of fruitbodies can be undertaken in late autumn, arising usually from rich soils, accumulation of rotting leaves or other decomposing vegetable material, especially in hedgerows, mulched ground and garden compost heaps. The appearance of fruitbodies frequently coincides with the onset of the first sharp air frosts of winter.

The few reported physiological investigations with this fungus have been done with isolates from coniferous woodland (Modess, 1941; Norkrans, 1950; Lundeberg, 1970) and were considered to be mycorrhizal with certain tree species. In these studies isolates were slow growing and produced low mycelial yields in culture. The isolates of Lamb (1974) gave improved yields, but Lamb and Ricahrds (1970) and Lundeberg (1970) report being unable to synthesise mycorrhiza with their isolates in vitro.

The nutrition of Lepista nuda in submerged culture studies has received little attention but it has been selected for submerged culture propagation studies for its ability to produce high biomass yields on a range of media (Falange, 1962; Falange, Smith and Rackis, 1964) including waste sulphite liquor obtained as a bi-product in paper pulp manufacture.

Previous attempts to produce fruitbodies in culture have been reported by Costantin and Matruchot (1898) (1901), Matruchot (1914) and Costantin (1942). These authors established the ability of this fungus to colonise a range of leaf substrates including the spent bark of the Chesnut oak Quercus prinus. The cultural conditions required for fruitbody formation have not been defined and the combined works of Passelker (1969), Votypka (1971), Zadrazil et al. (1973) have made little advance on the studies of Costantin and Matruchot in the early part of this Century.

This paper broadly defines the nutritional requirements for mycelial growth, the conditions under which primordia are produced on an agar medium and the conditions under which fruitbodies were obtained.

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