Cortinarius traganus

Cortinarius traganus (Fr.) Fr., Epicrisis Systematis Mycologici: 281 (1838) [MB#164677]

Cap 40 – 90 mm wide, hemispherical when young, then convex to plane, surface dry, tomentose, often cracked and scaled with age, lilac when young, fading to lilac-grey or pallid brown, gills ochre when young, darkening to rust brown, never lilac or purple toned, stipe 45 – 140 mm long, 8 – 23 mm wide at apex, clavate with almost-bulbous base, lilac when young covered in wooly lilac veil which often forms an annular zone on the stipe, flesh a distinctive saffron to yellow-brown even in young specimens, odor fruity, pear-like odor habitat coniferous forests, montane, common in Washington and Oregon Cascades.

A deeper lilac collection in wet conditions showing the characteristic saffron or yellow-brown flesh and ochre gills at the button stage.
SDA 536: WA State. Older or dry specimens commonly show scaled and cracked appearance
on cap surface.

Although Cortinarius traganus is a common and often collected species in the Pacific Northwest, beginners have trouble differentiating it from the many other purple species. Key points to note to identify it with confidence are odor, young gill color and color of flesh. In the table below, C. traganus has a fruity odor, C. camphoratus has an odor described as goat-like or rotting potatoes which most people find highly unpleasant.

SpeciesCap GillsFlesh
Cortinarius traganusLilac-violet, dryAlways yellow to
red ochre
Mottled brown-yellow
Lavender-grey, dryLavender to
Grey to lavender
Grayish-purple to lilac, bruises purpleLavender, bruising
Lavender to purple when cut
A comparison of the coloration of three common PNW Cortinarius species

I did not sequence this one. However, reference sequences can be seen below in Garnica et. al. (2016).

Sequences grouped as C. traganus and a cryptic species. Garnica et al. (2016)

Garnica, Sigisfredo, Max Emil Schon, and Kessy Abarenkov. “Determining Threshold Values for Barcoding Fungi: Lessons from Cortinarius (Basidiomycota), a Highly Diverse and Widespread Ectomycorrhizal Genus.” FEMS Microbiology Ecology 92, no. 4 (2016).

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