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Lepista

Field characters

Pileus: convex to plane, colored
Annulus: absent
Stipe: usually colored same as cap, generally stout.
Stature: Clitocyboid, Naucorioid
Ecology: saprophyte on the ground in woods, lawns, compost piles, etc.

Micro characters

Basidiospores: small, coarsely to minutely roughened, inamyloid.
Cystidia: always absent (Singer, 1986)
Spore Print: cream to pink to purplish.
Lamellae: sinuate to decurrent
Lamellar Trama: regular
Pileipellis: various

Notes

All authors do not recognize this genus, e.g. Arora, 1986 and Bessette et al., 1997. Those that don't include it in Clitocybe. Singer, 1986 recognizes the separation from Clitocybe primarily because Lepista spores are "small and coarsely to minutely roughened", while those of Clitocybe are smooth.

There are also nomenclatural problems, and the reader is referred again to Singer, 1986.

The common species around here in the fall is L. nuda, or blewit. Field guides often mention that it is an indigo blue in color, but our populations seem to be much more drab. The illustration of L. nuda in www.mycokey.com shows extremely dull-colored caps. It also implies the spores are a "dirty brownish color." So, this species (or species-complex?) is highly variable.