Observation 46457: Lepista saeva (Fr.) P.D. Orton

We found a whole group of these big, fleshy whitish, light brownish mushrooms while looking for Yartsa gunbu (caterpillar fungus, Ophiocordyceps sinensis) on an alpine meadow in 4200m in East Tibet.

I concluded it to be a Lepista seava due to the inrolled margin, notched, crowded, white to pale grayish gills, and especially a grayish white stem with a strong purple tinge. It also had a strong aromatic “clitocybean” odor, but no frozen orange juice concentrate like the blewit, Lepista nuda.
It seems that L. saeva is synonymous with L. personata.

Some locals where familiar with this mushroom, but had no specific Tibetan name. However, I was not sure what it was out in the field and concluded back in our hotel with internet access that it is very likely L. saeva. At this point we had already left the filed blewits or blue legs with our guides Dorje family that was eager to cook it. Meanwhile Dorje’s sister prepared Agaricus campestris the traditional Tibetan way. It is roasted over fire gills up, with a bit of butter and tsampa [roasted barley flower] cooked in the fungal juices. Yummy!

I have some pictures from the Agaricus meal and the Cordyceps hunt at
www.ophiocordyceps.com or http://blog.mushroaming.com/

L.saeva/personata is listed in Chinese mushroom literature, but who knows if these European names will survive DNA studies or if the East Asian version will receive their own species name.

[admin – Sat Aug 14 02:05:23 +0000 2010]: Changed location name from ‘Rongpatsa, Ganzi county, Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan’ to ‘Rongpatsa, Ganzi county, Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan, China’



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Created: 2010-06-07 21:07:35 CDT (-0500)
Last modified: 2010-08-13 21:05:23 CDT (-0500)
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