Large, tannish lavender cap with thick, purplish gills and a stout stalk. It grows scattered or in groups in grassy areas and under hardwoods and conifers. July–November. Cap convex, becoming flat to depressed in the center; tannish lavender, becoming grayish white; texture smooth; margin curves in at first, becoming finely wavy. Gills: broad; spacing distant; purplish; gills attached. Stalk often curved; stout; tannish lavender to grayish white; texture smooth to slightly scaly. Spore print white to pale violet. Spores magnified are round, spiny, colorless.
Lookalikes: Other Laccaria species, none of which are known to be poisonous. The silvery-violet cort (Cortinarius alboviolaceus) has purplish gills that become rusty brown and a cobwebby veil.