Trial field key to the species of RUSSULA in the Pacific Northwest

A macroscopic field key to selected common species reported from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho

Prepared for the Pacific Northwest Key Council
by Benjamin Woo (Puget Sound Mycological Society) May 1989
Copyright © 1989 Pacific Northwest Key Council

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction

Key to Species

Appendix

Glossary

References

Index

 

INTRODUCTION

RUSSULA is a genus of gilled mushrooms readily separated from all other gilled mushrooms by characteristics easily discerned by the amateur. The distinction between species, however, is another matter. Recognition of species is complicated by the large number of species (many, perhaps, not yet named), the variability within species, inconsistencies in the literature, and the necessity, in many cases, for microscopic examination and chemical testing to reveal important differences.

The family RUSSULACEAE, which includes the genera RUSSULA and LACTARIUS, are distinguished from most other agarics by a structure consisting of heteromerous tissues -- tissues made up of a mixture of filamentous cells and large inflated cells called sphaerocysts. This structure makes the parts of the fruiting bodies of the RUSSULACEAE stiff and brittle. Thus, the gills of a Russula will break when stroked with a fingertip -- and the stem will snap when bent -- "like a piece of chalk". Lactarius, while not so brittle, will, when cut or bruised, exude a milky fluid, often white but also in colors of yellow, orange, red and even blue.

RUSSULA, then, is a brittle-fleshed, gilled mushroom with a central stem, without a universal veil and, except in a few tropical species, without a partial veil. The spore color varies from pure white to yellow to a deep salmon or ochre. The stipe is most commonly white, but may have a surface tint of red or purple in some species, or may stain yellowish or brownish on handling, and may turn ashy gray or black in others. The flesh is normally white, but in some species discolors to red, brown or black when injured or aged. Some Russulas, when tasted raw, are mild and pleasant, some are bitter, and many are peppery hot or acrid. The odors of the fruit body are absent, musty, mushroomy, fruity, of pickled herring or other less pleasant smells.

A number of Russula species can be recognized by a combination of macroscopic features. Many others can be keyed to a clump of lookalikes separable only by microscopic or chemical means. These limitations will probably never go away; they will represent frustration to some -- a challenge to others.

 

KEY CHARACTERISTICS

1. COLOR OF THE CAP
This characteristic typifies the maddening variability of Russula species that drives both amateur and professional mycologists to strong drink. Although constant in many species, Russulas can have a variety of colors in a single species, or can change colors from young to old, from exposure to light, from washing with rain, and from population to population, including all of the above. Where this is particularly troublesome, we will key in two or more locations. Check the descriptions carefully to cover all bases.

2. SIZE OF THE CAP
Size is also subject to great variability, but we find it useful to indicate whether a Russula is small, medium or large. This applies to the diameter of mature caps, and fall into the following ranges:

Small 2 to 6 cm
Medium 5 to 9 cm
Large 8 to 20 cm or larger

 

3. SHAPE OF THE CAP
Most Russula caps are hemispherical when young and will flatten out in age as they expand to expose their gills. In most, the margin will arch upward when fully expanded. For economy of space, we will not comment on shape unless it deviates significantly from the norm.

4. SURFACE OF THE CAP
Most Russula caps will be somewhat to copiously viscid in wet weather. If not viscid, the descriptions will so note. The character or appearance of the dry surface is worthy of careful examination. This will vary from shiny to simply smooth to matte, or even velvety, with some surfaces cracking into mudflat patterns or other distinctive designs. A distinct skin (pellicle or cuticle) may be more or less separable when peeled from the margin. The degree of peelability is expressed as a fraction of the distance from the edge to the center before the skin tears away. Finally, the margin of the cap will often develop grooves corresponding to the spacing of the gills below. Such grooved margins are called striate; ungrooved margins are called even.

5. GILLS
All Russulas have gills. Some have short gills near the edge of the cap that do not extend to the stem. The species in the Compactae Section have regularly occurring short or sub-gills. In some species, the gills will fork, sometimes near the stipe (basifurcate), sometimes near the margin, and sometimes in between. Most Russulas exhibit folds or veins between gills, a condition called "intervenose". Gill attachment is not used as a key characteristic in this paper. It is usually adnate to some degree, but varies from almost free to almost decurrent. The color of the gills will often, especially in darker-spored species, give an indication of the color of the spore print, but it can also be misleading.

6. COLOR CHANGES OF THE FLESH AND OTHER PARTS
Many Russulas will show changes in color when cut or bruised, or in age. The sequence of color change is important in separating species. In some, an initial change to orange or red occurs, followed by darkening to brown or black. In others, a direct change to brown or gray occurs, with or without eventual blackening. Yellow staining is characteristic of a few species.

7. THE TASTE OF RUSSULAS
Those who aspire to identify Russulas must endure considerable self-inflicted abuse of their taste buds. While many Russulas have a mild taste, another substantial number are ferociously acrid (hot, as in jalapeno). Some species are described as being slightly acrid, or acrid only in the young gills. A few are said to be bitter, although this is something not detected by every person. The usual test format is to break off a small piece (about 1/2" square) from the edge of the cap, including gills and cuticle, place on the tongue, and slowly nibble. Do not swallow. A few seconds will allow the tongue to come to judgement. With some species, repeated spitting is required to purge the oral cavity. We find red wine to be an effective decontaminant.

8. THE ODOR OF RUSSULAS
The detection and describing of odors is an aptitude of uneven distribution in the population. You may or may not find the descriptions of odors helpful to you. Sniffing the gill surface near the stipe is the usual technique. Russulas may have no odor, earthy or mushroomy smells, sweet or fruity smells, gassy unpleasant smells, and nauseous or vomity aromas.

9. THE STIPE (OR STEM)
Some Russulas have very short, stubby stems. Normal is a stem length equal to the cap diameter. A very few are longer. In virtually all species, the stem is round in section, brittle like chalk, hollow in age, and slightly wrinkled with longitudinal striations. Most are white or off-white, but may have a surface coloration of pink, red or purple. Many will bruise brown near the base and some will turn brown or yellow on handling.

10. RUSSULA SPORES
It is very important to make a spore print for the identification of Russula species. Although often described as white-spored, Russulas have a range of spore colors from pure white to cream, pale yellow to caution yellow, and eggyolk to sunkist orange. While the gill color can give a hint in some cases, this is not always reliable.

White xerographic paper works fine. A quarter of a letter-size sheet with a de-stemmed cap lying gill-side down on it, can be inserted into a wax paper baggie, the opening folded to exclude drafts, and will show a good print in a few hours. This will work in your basket, or in the back of your car. The print can be dried and folded to save mature spores for later study.

At the microscopic level, Russula spores are found to be ornamented with warts or bumps that turn black in iodine, revealing patterns that are helpful in separating species. The size and shape are also useful characteristics. For supplemental information, a table of spore sizes and spore ornamentation types is appended.

11. HABITAT
Most of the Russulas we find in the Pacific Northwest are associated with conifers, but some will be found in the vicinity of birches, oaks or other deciduous trees. Species described from the Eastern United States and from Europe will often be cited from deciduous or mixed forests. Tree associations are probably important, but many species seem to be rather promiscuous in their choice of partners.

 

EDIBILITY

Russulas are so abundant that the question of their edibility is always raised by beginners. The answer is usually a wry, "Well, if they taste mild, you can try eating them." The implication is that they are not particularly choice. It's the plain truth that, given the availability of almost any other edible mushrooms, Russulas come off a distant second. Most are either poor quality or unpalatable. Complaints focus on the dry quality and crumbly texture of the flesh. The author can definitely recommend R. xerampelina and R. olivacea for the pot.

On the other hand, few Russulas are known to be poisonous. Even the very hot species are apparently edible with proper preparation. One species, R. foetens, is considered slightly poisonous, and R. subnigricans, reported from Japan, and therefore can occur here, has caused several fatalities. Two species from New Guinea, as reported by Rolf Singer, are hallucinogenic.

 

SPECIES INCLUDED

This key covers approximately 60 species. A few may be gained or lost as we continue revising it. They are not necessarily the most common, but have the distinction of being names contained in collection lists of forays and exhibits conducted by mycological societies in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The composite list was pruned by removal of unpublished species, obvious synonyms, and collections not verified by repeat citations. Even so, the remaining species are open to suspicion of misidentification, since few have been subject to critical examination, and not many are available for verification.

It is hoped that publication of this key will spur the interest of other amateur mycologists to collect and study the Russulas of the Pacific Northwest. Darryl Grund, in his doctoral dissertation in 1965, described 85 species and varieties, 40 of which he considered new. It is probable that eventually more than 150 species will be distinguished.

 

"If we know of any one, who in the pride of intellect spurned all mental tasks as mere play, we would tame him by insisting on his mastering, classifying and explaining the synonyms of the genus Russula."

Transactions British Mycological Society

 

 

KEY TO SPECIES

Arrangement of Key

A.     Flesh hard and compact, cap white or dusky colors of brown or gray, with incurved edge and without separable pellicle, gills with regularly occurring sub-gills

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Section COMPACTAE

 

B.     Flesh less compact to fragile, cap white to bright colors, with cap edge straight or incurved only when young, pellicle more or less separable, gills without regularly occurring sub-gills

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Section GENUINAE

This Section, for convenience of keying, is divided into eight groups based on the color of the cap. To the extent that some species have variable cap colors that will key out in different groups, there will be multiple entries of the same species.

Group 100 - Cap white or cream.

Group 200 - Cap yellow or orange.

Group 300 - Cap red, orange-red, pinkish-red, brownish- or blackish-red.

Group 400 - Cap red-violet, violet, purple, reddish- or brownish-purple.

Group 500 - Cap bluish, blue-gray, gray.

Group 600 - Cap green, yellow-green, olive-green.

Group 700 - Cap tan, yellow-brown, brown, pink-brown, red-brown, soot-brown.

Group 800 - Cap of mixed colors.

 

 

A.     Section COMPACTAE:  Flesh hard and compact, cap white or dusky colors of brown or gray, with incurved edge and without separable pellicle, gills with regularly occurring subgills.

 

1a Flesh changing color when cut, bruised in age

1b Flesh not changing

2a Flesh, when cut or bruised, turning reddish, then darkening to brown or black

2b Flesh, when cut or bruised, turning directly to brown or black

3a Gills very thick and widely spaced

................................................................................Russula nigricans Fr.

CAP 7-15 (20) cm, whitish when young, soon sooty gray or dirty brown and finally entirely black in age, slightly viscid drying matte, often cracking into small areolae, depressed in center, not peeling, margin even; flesh hard, white, turning red when cut, then turning black. ODOR earthy. TASTE mild or sometimes slightly peppery when young. GILLS pale straw or yellow, reddish when bruised, with regular subgills, distant, thick. STEM short, thick, white turning brown from base, bruising red, then black. SPORE PRINT white. HABITAT coniferous or deciduous woods.Russula nigricans
Russula nigricans
Steve Trudell

3b Gills thinner, close to crowded

4a Cap surface dry, felty or velvety

................................................................................Russula dissimulans Shaffer

CAP 6.5-18 cm, whitish when young, soon smoky brown and eventually black, slightly viscid when young but soon dry, felty or velvety, cracked into areolae in age, depressed in center, not peeling, margin even; flesh hard, white, turning red when cut, then smoky brown to black, ODOR none. TASTE mild to slightly acrid. GILLS light yellow, blackening when injured, close to crowded, regular subgills. STEM short, white becoming brown, then black. SPORE PRINT white. HABITAT conifers or mixed woods. REMARKS The close gill spacing and felty cap surface distinguish this species from R. nigricans.Russula dissimulans
Russula dissimulans
Ben Woo

4b Cap viscid when wet, drying shiny

5a Gills crowded, cap yellow-brown, taste slightly acrid, odor earthy

................................................................................Russula densifolia (Secr.) Gillet

CAP 5-10 cm (rarely 15 cm), cream white when young, soon shiny brown, slightly viscid, drying smooth, margin even, slightly peeling; flesh firm, white turning reddish when cut, then blackening. ODOR faintly earthy. TASTE mild to somewhat acrid (always acrid in gills). GILLS narrow, somewhat crowded, regular subgills, old ivory color, bruising red, then black. SPORE PRINT white. HABITAT deciduous, mixed or conifer woods. REMARKS This species is difficult to separate from R. adusta. See notes under R. adusta.Russula densifolia
Russula densifolia
Kit Scates Barnhart

5b Gills close but not crowded, cap sepia to grayish brown, taste mild, odor of wine barrels

................................................................................Russula adusta (Pers.) Fr.

CAP 7-12 cm, white to pallid buff when young, becoming grayish brown or lead gray or blackish, viscid drying shiny, margin even, cuticle inseparable; flesh hard, brittle, whitish slowly blackening when cut, sometimes showing a slight reddening phase. ODOR indistinct or of "empty wine barrels". TASTE mild. GILLS whitish, blackening in age, crowded, regular subgills. STEM short, stout, white bruising black. SPORE PRINT white. HABITAT conifers. REMARKS There is considerable difficulty in finding a clear separation between R. adusta and R. densifolia. Supposedly R. adusta has a grayer cap as opposed to brownish for R. densifolia, a mild taste as opposed to acrid, and a less pronounced reddening of the flesh when cut or bruised.

6a (2b) Cap surface unpolished, white, all parts quickly turning black on handling

................................................................................Russula albonigra (Krombh.) Fr.

CAP 6-17 cm, pallid when young, soon becoming brownish then black, matte, margin even, unpeeling; flesh hard, white rapidly darkening when bruised or cut to brownish gray, then black. ODOR indistinct. TASTE mild. GILLS whitish, blackening when injured, close to crowded, regular subgills, forked at stem. STEM short, white unpolished surface soon black from handling. SPORE PRINT white. HABITAT mixed or deciduous woods.Russula albonigra
Russula albonigra
Ben Woo

6b Cap surface shiny, sepia to gray-brown flesh slowly darkening to brown, then black

................................................................................Russula adusta (see 5b)

 

7a (1b) Cap white with buffy stains, large (8-20 cm), taste mild to slightly acrid

................................................................................Russula brevipes Peck

CAP 8-20 cm, white to buffy white with yellow brown stains, matte, dimpled when young becoming broadly funnel shaped, margin inrolled when young, even, cuticle inseparable; flesh hard, brittle, white, TASTE mild to slightly acrid. GILLS white, becoming stained yellow brown, narrow, crowded, abundant subgills, often beaded with drops of clear liquid when fresh. STEM short, stout, white staining brown. SPORE PRINT white to pale cream. This is a widely encountered species of coniferous woods. Not clearly separated from the European R. delica. Often found in a form showing a greenish tinge in the gills near the stipe, which Shaffer associates with sharp taste, forming the basis for his variety acrior.Russula brevipes
Russula brevipes
Steve Trudell

7b Cap white with buffy stains, small to medium (4-9 cm), taste intensely acrid

................................................................................Russula cascadensis Shaffer

CAP 4-9 cm, white, soon staining cinnamon-buff where injured or in contact with debris, or pale leather-brown overall in age, unpolished, margin incurved, even, cuticle inseparable; flesh hard, white, discoloring slowly when broken. ODOR none. TASTE intensely acrid. GILLS white, discoloring in age like cap, narrow, close to crowded, many tiers of subgills. STEM short, white, unpolished, not discoloring. SPORE PRINT pale cream-yellow. HABITAT conifers.Russula cascadensis
Russula cascadensis
Ben Woo

 

B.     Section GENUINAE: Flesh hard to fragile, cap white to bright colors, with edge straight or incurved only when young, pellicle more or less separable, gills without regularly occurring subgills.

 

This Section, for convenience of keying, is divided into eight groups based on the color of the cap. To the extent that some species have variable cap colors that will key out in different groups, there will be multiple entries of the same species.

Group 100 - Cap white or cream.

Group 200 - Cap yellow or orange.

Group 300 - Cap red, orange-red, pinkish-red, brownish- or blackish-red.

Group 400 - Cap red-violet, violet, purple, reddish- or brownish-purple.

Group 500 - Cap bluish, blue-gray, gray.

Group 600 - Cap green, yellow-green, olive-green.

Group 700 - Cap tan, yellow-brown, brown, pink-brown, red-brown, soot-brown.

Group 800 - Cap of mixed colors.

 

Group 100 - CAP COLOR WHITE OR CREAM

 

101a Taste acrid

101b Taste not acrid, may be mild or bitter, or occasionally mild becoming bitter

102a Cap with thick, rubbery or gelatinous, separable cuticle

................................................................................Russula crassotunicata Singer

CAP 4-8 cm, white or cream, with a thick, translucent, rubbery cuticle that may crack in dry weather, peels over 1/2, margin even; flesh firm, elastic, white, staining brownish. ODOR faintly fungoid. TASTE bitter and acrid. GILLS white, bruising brown. STEM white, spotting brown, with a fine mealy surface texture. SPORE PRINT white. HABITAT mixed conifers.Russula crassotunicata
Russula crassotunicata
Michael Beug

102b Cap without a thick cuticle

103a Cuticle not separable, flesh elastic

................................................................................Russula farinipes Romell apud Britzelm.

CAP 4-7 cm, ivory white to tan, rather flat, margin grooved, hardly peeling; flesh hard, firm and elastic. ODOR none. TASTE very acrid. GILLS narrow, crowded, beaded with drops. STEM white, yellowing where handled. SPORE PRINT white. HABITAT deciduous trees.Russula farinipes
Russula farinipes
Michael Beug

103b Cuticle more or less easily separable, flesh fragile

104a Cap always creamy or creamy yellow, 3-10 cm, gill edges finely notched

................................................................................Russula crenulata Romell apud Britzelm.

CAP up to 9 cm, milk-white or slightly yellow, fragile, margin thin, grooved, peeling easily; flesh fragile, white. ODOR none. TASTE very acrid. GILLS white, close, edges finely saw-toothed. STEM white, cylindrical. SPORE PRINT white. HABITAT conifers and oaks.Russula crenulata
Russula crenulata
Steve Trudell

104b Cap pure white, thin and fragile, 2-5 cm

................................................................................Russula fragilis Fr. (f. nivea)

CAP 2-6 cm, very variable in color, purple, wine, violet, red or pinkish red with center almost black or brown or olive, sometimes with light spots or entirely white, usually depressed at center, viscid drying smooth, margin thin but not grooved, cuticle peeling 3/4; flesh fairly firm, white. ODOR pleasant fruity. TASTE very acrid. GILLS white, narrow, with edges finely floccose or crenulate. STEM white, later faintly yellow. SPORE PRINT white to cream. HABITAT conifer forests in moss or on decayed wood. REMARKS A number of small, acrid, white spored collections in the Pacific Northwest will find a home in this species concept. Mycologists distinguish a number of forms or varieties within the broad range of color types. R. fragilis forma nivea Cooke is pure white, and is considered by Pilat to be a synonym for R. anomala Peck. It will probably be a long time before nomenclatural stability is achieved in this species cluster.Russula fragilis
Russula fragilis
Michael Beug

105a (101b) Cap dry, cuticle inseparable, margin incurved and even, pallid to pale yellow

................................................................................Russula cremoricolor Earle

CAP 6-10 cm, deep cream, darker on disk, firmly fleshed, round to convex, margin incurved, even, not peeling; flesh white. ODOR none. TASTE peppery. GILLS pale cream, with regular subgills, somewhat crowded. STEM short, white. SPORE PRINT white. HABITAT open woods. REMARKS This species, previously found in California and Connecticut, was reported by Grund, whose collection does not match well the above description. We include this species in hopes that our readers will be able to verify its occurrence in the NW.

105b Cap viscid, cuticle separable

106a Taste mild, then bitterish, 5-7 cm, dingy white tinged with yellow or orange, margin even

................................................................................Russula basifurcata Peck

CAP 5-7.5 cm, dingy white often tinged with yellow or reddish-yellow, becoming somewhat depressed in center, slightly viscid when moist, margin even, peeling at margin only; flesh white. TASTE mild, then bitterish. GILLS white becoming yellowish, close, few subgills, many forks at stem. STEM white, short, stout. SPORE PRINT pale yellow. HABITAT dry woods and brushy places.

106b Taste mild to slightly acrid, 2-3 cm, pallid to pale gray margin, brownish center, margin striate

................................................................................Russula blackfordae Peck

CAP about 2.5 cm, whitish or pale gray on margin and brown in center, viscid when wet, margin striate, peeling; flesh white. TASTE mild. GILLS pale yellow, equal, narrow, close, no forks. STEM white. SPORE PRINT pale yellow.

 

Group 200 - CAP COLOR YELLOW TO ORANGE

 

201a Taste acrid

201b Taste mild

202a Spore print yellow buff, cap yellow or peach in center, rose pink at margin

................................................................................Russula veternosa Fr.

CAP 3-10 cm, rose pink or coral margin with yellow center, sometimes faded apricot or cream, unpolished when dry, margin even, peeling 1/2; flesh white. ODOR of honey or gingerbread. TASTE hot. GILLS yellow, thin, forking. STEM white, soft. SPORE PRINT orange ochre. HABITAT beeches. REMARKS Our collections from open conifer woods are generally without distinctive odor.

202b Spore print white to cream, cap not as above

203a Context tough and elastic, cuticle not separable, cap pallid to yellow to honey-tan

................................................................................Russula farinipes Romell apud Britz

CAP 4-7 cm, ivory white to tan, rather flat, margin grooved, hardly peeling; flesh hard, firm and elastic. ODOR none. TASTE very acrid. GILLS narrow, crowded, beaded with drops. STEM white, yellowing where handled. SPORE PRINT white. HABITAT deciduous trees.Russula farinipes
Russula farinipes
Michael Beug

203b Context brittle or fragile, cuticle separable

204a Cap pale yellow mixed or splotched with orange-red

................................................................................Russula bicolor Burl.

CAP up to 8 cm, coppery red intermixed with pale yellow or ochre, viscid when wet, margin striate in age, peeling at margin; flesh white, somewhat fragile. TASTE acrid. GILLS white, medium close, no subgills. STEM white. SPORE PRINT white. HABITAT mixed woods.Russula bicolor
Russula bicolor
Michael Beug

204b Cap pallid to cream yellow, gill edges finely notched

................................................................................Russula crenulata Burl.

CAP up to 9 cm, milk-white or slightly yellow, fragile, margin thin, grooved, peeling easily; flesh fragile, white, ODOR none. TASTE very acrid. GILLS white, close, edges finely saw-toothed. STEM white, cylindrical. SPORE PRINT white. HABITAT conifers and oaks.Russula crenulata
Russula crenulata
Steve Trudell

205a (201b) Flesh and other parts becoming gray on bruising or in age

205b Flesh and other parts not graying

206a Cap coppery orange fading to yellow only in age

................................................................................Russula decolorans Fr.

CAP 4-10 cm, coppery orange red, subglobose when young, margin even, peeling 1/2; flesh firm, white, reddish when cut, then soon gray to grayish black. ODOR none. TASTE mild. GILLS creamy white becoming yellow, blackening on edges when bruised, gray in age. STEM white, graying in age. SPORE PRINT deep cream to yellow. HABITAT conifer woods.Russula decolorans
Russula decolorans
Kit Scates Barnhart

206b Cap chrome yellow

................................................................................Russula claroflava Grove

CAP 6-10 cm, chrome yellow to pale lemon yellow, fleshy, rounded, viscid drying shining, margin even becoming sl grooved in age, peeling 1/2-2/3; flesh firm, white becoming gray to black on bruising or in age, ODOR none. TASTE mild or slightly acrid when young. GILLS white, then yellow, eventually gray. STEM white then graying. SPORE PRINT yellow. HABITAT under birch.

207a Fruit body small and fragile, gills orange

................................................................................Russula lutea (Huds.) Fr.

CAP 2-7 cm, entirely yellow but also sometimes apricot, peach, flesh or coral in part or entirely, also even white, viscid when wet, peeling 3/4 or more, margin even; flesh soft, fragile, white. ODOR nil to fruity. TASTE mild. GILLS orange, strongly interveined. STEM white, fragile. SPORE PRINT strongly yellow orange. HABITAT deciduous trees.Russula lutea
Russula lutea
Michael Beug

207b (205b) Fruit body medium, gills yellow

................................................................................Russula flaviceps Peck or Russula gilva Zvara

R. flaviceps Peck

CAP 5-10 cm, pale yellow, margin striate in age, cuticle separable; flesh white. ODOR none. TASTE mild to slightly acrid. GILLS yellow, close, narrow. STEM white. SPORE PRINT yellow. HABITAT woods.

R. gilva Zvara

CAP 5.5-8 cm, vivid yellow with darker center, convex depressed, margin deeply grooved; flesh white. TASTE and ODOR none. GILLS rather narrow, yellowish. STEM rather tall, white, firm. SPORE PRINT yellow ochre. HABITAT beech woods, apparently rare.

REMARKS The inclusion of this species for the Pacific NW is based on a collection of one specimen by Grund, which was described with a larger spore size than the European type (9-10 x 7.5-9 um) vs. (7-7.5 x 6.5 um).

 

Group 300 - CAP COLOR RED, ORANGE-RED, PINKISH RED, BROWNISH OR BLACKISH RED

 

301a Taste mild or slightly acrid

301b Taste unmistakably hot

302a Spore print white to cream

302b Spore print yellow to deep ochre

303a Stipe and flesh staining rusty brown

................................................................................Russula viscida Kudrna

CAP 5-12 cm, wine-red to dark reddish-brown, ochre spots near center, red rim, viscid drying smooth, margin inrolled, even or obscurely grooved, peeling at edge only; flesh hard, white turning rusty brown in age. ODOR indistinct. TASTE mild, peppery in gills. GILLS off-white, very narrow, crowded, thick, some subgills. STEM robust, almost clavate, solid and hard, pale when young but soon rusty or leathery brown. SPORE PRINT pale cream. HABITAT old spruce or fir woods.

303b Stipe and flesh not changing

304a Cap medium (6-10 cm), wine red to peach pink, cuticle seceding from even margin

................................................................................Russula vesca Fr.

CAP 6-10 cm, pastel tints in variable colors of dark to pale vinaceous buff, sometimes olivaceous, greenish or whitish, subglobose when young, smooth, peeling 1/2, cuticle tending to retract from margin; flesh white discoloring slightly rust or honey. ODOR nil to faintly fishy in age. TASTE mild, pleasantly nutty. GILLS white to cream, narrow, crowded, forked at stem. STEM white or flesh tinted, rusty stained at base. SPORE PRINT white. HABITAT deciduous woods.

304b Cap small (5-6.5 cm), flesh pink color, margin striate

................................................................................Russula praetenuis Murrill

CAP 2-3 cm, thin, uniformly flesh pink, viscid when wet, margin even, cuticle peeling easily; flesh white. ODOR none. TASTE mild. GILLS white, subdistant, broad, many forked at base. STEM white with faint pink tinge, fairly slender. SPORE PRINT white. HABITAT deciduous woods. REMARKS A small, delicate species first described from Florida. Apparently rare.

305a (302b) Spore print dark cream to yellow, cap umbonate with red disk and olive brown edge

................................................................................Russula sphagnophila Kauffman

CAP up to 4.5 cm, purplish red or rosy red at center surrounded by olive brown shading to pale olive margin, fragile, umbonate, viscid drying smooth, margin slightly striate; flesh red next to surface, otherwise white. ODOR none. TASTE mild. GILLS white, then pale yellow, few forking, narrow, close. STEM rose colored, very fragile. SPORE PRINT cream. HABITAT on sphagnum in swamp. REMARKS The above description paraphrases Kauffman's. European mycologists accept this species in a larger, more robust version, with less emphasis on the light olive brown margin, a darker spore print, and larger spore size. We have not been able to confirm its presence in this area.

305b Spore print eggyolk to orange, cap not as above

306a Cap small (less than 5 cm), stipe white

................................................................................Russula chamaeleontina Fr.

CAP 2-6 cm, pale to deep yellow, orange to brick red, or a mixture of yellow with red, or lilac to purple, fragile, margin striate, cuticle separable 1/2 or more; flesh soft, white. ODOR fruity. TASTE mild. GILLS pallid becoming orange-yellow. STEM slender, white, rarely with pink tinge. SPORE PRINT yellow-orange. HABITAT various woods. REMARKS This is a species variously interpreted by European mycologists. Melzer's is the above description without purplish forms.

306b Cap larger, stipe usually colored

307a Stipe and flesh staining rusty brown, odor fishy or like crab shells

................................................................................Russula xerampelina (Schaeffer) Fr.

CAP 5-12 (18) cm, bright red, brownish red, maroon, deep purple, also in forms with brown caps and black centers, greenish yellow or completely honey tan, viscid when wet, drying velvety matte, margin long inrolled, even, peeling to 1/2; flesh pale buff turning rusty brown on bruising or exposure to air. ODOR none when young and fresh, becoming distinctly fishy or like crabshells in older specimens or after mushrooms have been collected and stored for a short time. TASTE mild. GILLS creamy yellow, bruising brown, broad, crowded, very brittle. STEM white or pale buff, often pink tinged, becoming brown where handled. SPORE PRINT pale yellow. HABITAT coniferous or mixed woods. REMARKS Varieties of R. xerampelina with differing cap color have been given the following varietal designations. Russula xerampelina
Russula xerampelina
Steve Trudell
Bright red var. rubra
Purple or maroon with pink stipe var. xerampelina
Purple center with green margin var. olivaceovinacea
Greenish yellow or buff or honey tan var. isabellinaceps
Dark brown with blackish center var. elaeodes

 

These varieties are united by a browning reaction to handling, the odor of crab and the flesh turning green on contact with iron salts.

307b Stipe and flesh not changing, odor faintly pleasant, cap surface finely wrinkled with a circumferential pattern

................................................................................Russula olivacea (Schaeffer) Fr.

CAP 10-20 cm, olive green or wine purple, usually olivaceous when young or where protected from light, heavy and fleshy, velvety surface finely furrowed or cracked in a distinctive circumferential pattern near the rim, margin not striate, cuticle separable at the margin only; flesh dingy tan, not changing. ODOR faintly fruity. TASTE mild, nutty. GILLS deep yellow, crowded, flexible. STEM stout, yellow tan with purplish tinge, rusty at base. SPORE PRINT egg yellow. HABITAT conifers.Russula olivacea
Russula olivacea
Ben Woo

308a (301b) Spore print pure white

308b Spore print cream to ochre

309a Cap orange-red to carmine red

................................................................................Russula emetica Fr. ex S.F. Gray or R. fragilis Fr.

R. emetica Fr. ex S.F. Gray

CAP 6-9 cm, scarlet pink, light blood red, sometimes paling to white, viscid, shining when dry, margin grooved, easily peeling; flesh white, pink under cuticle. ODOR slightly fruity. TASTE very hot. GILLS creamy. STEM white tending to yellow. SPORE PRINT white. HABITAT mossy, swampy woods. REMARKS This species tends to be rare in our area. More commonly encountered is R. bicolor, which seems closely related, growing in rotted conifer logs. Our deep red Russulas with reddish stipes have deep yellow spores and are usually referred to R. rosacea.Russula emetica
Russula emetica
Kit Scates Barnhart

R. fragilis Fr.

CAP 2-6 cm, very variable in color, purple, wine, violet, red or pinkish red with center almost black or brown or olive, sometimes with light spots or entirely white, usually depressed at center, viscid drying smooth, margin thin but not grooved, cuticle peeling 3/4; flesh fairly firm, white. ODOR pleasant fruity. TASTE very acrid. GILLS white, narrow, with edges finely floccose or crenulate. STEM white, later faintly yellow. SPORE PRINT white to cream. HABITAT conifer forests in moss or on decayed wood. REMARKS A number of small, acrid, white spored collections in the Pacific Northwest will find a home in this species concept. Mycologists distinguish a number of distinct forms or varieties within the broad range of color types. The amateur will be well advised to keep an open mind with respect to our local Russula flora.

309b Cap orange-red splotched with yellow or cream, sometimes entirely pallid

................................................................................Russula bicolor Burl.

CAP up to 8 cm, coppery red intermixed with pale yellow or ochre, viscid when wet, margin striate in age, peeling at margin; flesh white, somewhat fragile. TASTE acrid. GILLS white, medium close, no subgills. STEM white. SPORE PRINT white. HABITAT mixed woods.Russula bicolor
Russula bicolor
Michael Beug

310a (308b) Spore print deep ochre, cap with buff or peach center and rose pink margin

................................................................................Russula veternosa Fr.

CAP 3-10 cm, rose pink or coral margin with yellow center, sometimes faded apricot or cream, unpolished when dry, margin even, peeling 1/2; flesh white. ODOR of honey or gingerbread. TASTE hot. GILLS yellow, thin, forking. STEM white, soft. SPORE PRINT orange ochre. HABITAT beeches. REMARKS Our collections from open conifer woods are generally without distinctive odor.

310b Spore print cream or yellow, cap not as above

311a Cap purplish red, stipe white, odor of geraniums

................................................................................Russula pelargonia Niolle

CAP 2-4 cm, purplish red, grayish rose, grayish lilac, viscid drying shiny smooth, margin grooved, peeling to 1/2; flesh white. ODOR of crushed geraniums. TASTE acrid. GILLS pale buff. STEM white, washed with pink. SPORE PRINT cream. HABITAT Doug fir and hemlock woods. REMARKS Our collections are larger than the above description, ranging from 4 to 8 cm. The odor of geraniums is very distinctive.Russula pelargonia
Russula pelargonia
Michael Beug

311b Cap crimson, stipe red, no odor

................................................................................Russula rosacea (Pers. ex Secr.) S.F. Gray

CAP 3-10 cm, bright red, darker when young, fading in age or weathering to pink, viscid drying sub-shining or dull, margin nearly smooth, peeling at margin only; flesh firm, white. ODOR none. TASTE quickly acrid. GILLS cream to yellow, moderately close, subgills often. STEM usually washed with pink or completely red. SPORE PRINT deep cream. HABITAT conifer woods, fairly common. REMARKS Several entities may share this description. Some collections have a distinct fruity odor or a geranium smell. R. americana Singer, collected on the Olympic Peninsula, is identical except for larger spores. Another name, considered a synonym, is R. sanguinea (Bull) Fr.Russula rosacea
Russula rosacea
Michael Beug

 

Group 400 - CAP COLOR RED-VIOLET, VIOLET, PURPLE, REDDISH-PURPLE, BROWNISH-PURPLE

 

401a Taste acrid

401b Taste mild or only slightly acrid

402a Spore print white

402b Spore print cream or darker

403a Cap small (2-6cm), flesh fragile

................................................................................Russula fragilis Fr.

CAP 2-6 cm, very variable in color, purple, wine, violet, red or pinkish red with center almost black or brown or olive, sometimes with light spots or entirely white, usually depressed at center, viscid drying smooth, margin thin but not grooved, cuticle peeling 3/4; flesh fairly firm, white. ODOR pleasant fruity. TASTE very acrid. GILLS white, narrow, with edges finely floccose or crenulate. STEM white, later faintly yellow. SPORE PRINT white to cream. HABITAT conifer forests in moss or on decayed wood. REMARKS A number of small, acrid, white spored collections in the Pacific Northwest will find a home in this species concept. Mycologists distinguish a number of distinct forms or varieties within the broad range of color types. The amateur will be well advised to keep an open mind with respect to our local Russula flora.Russula fragilis
Russula fragilis
Michael Beug

403b Cap medium (5-10 cm), flesh firm

................................................................................Russula atropurpurea (Krombh.) Britzelm.

CAP 5-10 cm, dark purple, reddish purple, wine, often with irregular yellow or tan pallid areas, peels 1/3, margin even until old; flesh white, fairly firm. ODOR none (European descriptions: odor of apples). TASTE slightly to moderately acrid. GILLS pale cream, forked at stem. STEM white, rarely pink tinted, grayish when old. SPORE PRINT white. HABITAT deciduous or conifer forests. REMARKS This name has been cited on several Northwest collecting lists, and still requires confirmation. Shaffer has authored R. krombholzii for American collections fitting this description, incorporating R. atropurpurea (Kromb.) Britz. and R. vinacea Burl. Peck's R. atropurpurea has been referred to R. xerampelina Fr.

404a (402b) Without special odor

................................................................................Russula placita Burl.

CAP up to 10.5 cm, fleshy, medium violet at center, grayish purple at edge, viscid drying pruinose, margin grooved, cuticle peeling; flesh white, soft. ODOR none. TASTE acrid. GILLS white becoming pale ecru. STEM white. SPORE PRINT light yellow. HABITAT Douglas-fir, sometimes pine. REMARKS The type locality for this species is Seattle, and Burlingham notes that is abundant in this area in October. Stuntz erroneously described it as mild tasting in his revision of McKenny (1971), and the error has been copied by other authors.Russula placita
Russula placita
Ben Woo

404b Odor fruity or otherwise distinctive

405a Cap small, violaceous with greenish tones, odor of menthol and geranium

................................................................................Russula violacea Quél. ss Romagn.

CAP 4-5 cm, greenish, sometimes with violaceous tones, thin and fragile, peeling to 1/2; flesh white, unchanging. ODOR of menthol and geranium. TASTE very hot. GILLS cream, forked near stipe. STEM white, often yellowing or browning. SPORE PRINT cream to yellow. HABITAT moist deciduous woods, uncommon.

405b Cap medium, without above combination

406a Cap reddish purple, stem white or washed with pink, distinct odor of geraniums

................................................................................Russula pelargonia Niolle

CAP 2-4 cm, purplish red, grayish rose, grayish lilac, viscid drying shiny smooth, margin grooved, peeling to 1/2; flesh white. ODOR of crushed geraniums. TASTE acrid. GILLS pale buff. STEM white, washed with pink. SPORE PRINT cream. HABITAT Douglas-fir and hemlock woods. REMARKS Our collections are larger than the above description, ranging from 4 to 8 cm. The odor of geraniums is very distinctive.Russula pelargonia
Russula pelargonia
Michael Beug

406b Cap reddish purple to brownish purple, stem strongly red or purple, but sometimes paler, odor fruity

................................................................................Russula queletii Fr.

CAP 4-10 cm, purplish red, wine purple, brownish violet, usually fairly dark, drying pruinose, fleshy, peeling 1/2 to 2/3, striate only in age; flesh white. ODOR pleasant. TASTE very hot. GILLS cream, subdecurrent, close. STEM strong red or purplish. SPORE PRINT cream to light yellow: HABITAT conifers. REMARKS Sharing this general description are: R. sardonia Fr., with greenish or yellowish tints in cap, lighter colored stem and darker spores. R. drimeia Cke., dark violaceous purple, drying smooth to shiny, with purple stem, and R. torulosa Bres., smaller and with less acrid taste. Although none of the above European species have appeared on foray lists for the Northwest, we have included the descriptions to comfort the many who will find purple capped, red or purple-stemmed, hot-tasting Russulas with creamy spores. Grund lists R. torulosa.

407a (401b) Spores white

407b Spores cream or darker

408a Cap small, surface granular pruinose

................................................................................Russula azurea Bresad.

CAP 3-7 cm, lilac, brownish violet or grayish violet with darker brownish or blackish center, granular pruinose surface, margin even to slightly striate, peeling easily; flesh white. ODOR none. TASTE mild. GILLS white, broad. STEM white, pruinose. SPORE PRINT white. HABITAT conifers or pine woods.

408b Cap medium to large, surface "greasy" with anastomosing veins

................................................................................Russula cyanoxantha (Schaeff. ex Schw.) Fr.

CAP 5-15 cm, dull lilac, purple, wine, olive, greenish or brownish, usually mixed colors, greasy when moist, radially anastomosing veins, margin long even, peeling 1/2; flesh firm, white. TASTE mild. GILLS white to cream, narrow, flexible, forked. STEM white, sometimes flushed with purple. SPORE PRINT white: HABITAT deciduous woods.

409a (407b) Spores cream to light yellow

409b Spores dark yellow to ochre orange

410a Cap size small, usually less than 7 cm

410b Cap size larger than above

411a Stipe rose or pink

411b Stipe white

412a Cap color various shades of rosy wine with tan and green tints, drying pruinose

................................................................................Russula lilacea Quélet

CAP 3-7 cm, pale or rosy vinaceous, grayish rose, or livid vinaceous to tan, or even yellowish green, center either paler or darker, very fragile, viscid drying pruinose or scurfy, 3/4 peeling, margin striate; flesh soft, very thin, white. TASTE mild. GILLS very pale cream, fairly distant, broad. STEM white, sometimes rose tinted, fragile. SPORE PRINT white to pale cream. HABITAT deciduous woods, especially beech. REMARKS Reported as rare by European authors. Grund found it common in conifer woods at low elevations around Puget Sound.Russula lilacea
Russula lilacea
Ben Woo

412b Cap color purplish red at center with olive margin, drying smooth, umbonate

................................................................................Russula sphagnophila Kauffman

CAP up to 4.5 cm, purplish red or rosy red at center surrounded by olive brown shading to pale olive margin, fragile, umbonate, viscid drying smooth, margin slightly striate; flesh red next to surface, otherwise white. ODOR none. TASTE mild. GILLS white, then pale yellow, few forking, narrow, close. STEM rose colored, very fragile. SPORE PRINT cream. HABITAT on sphagnum in swamp. REMARKS The above description paraphrases Kauffman's. European mycologists accept this species in a larger, more robust version, with less emphasis on the light olive brown margin, a darker spore print, and larger spore size. We have not been able to confirm its presence in this area.

413a (411b) Stipe white, bruising or turning yellow in age

................................................................................Russula puellaris Fr. or R. brunneoviolacea Crawshay

R. puellaris Fr.

CAP 3-5 cm, fragile, dark purple center shading to purplish pink or flesh pink at edge, margin striate, peeling 1/2; flesh white turning waxy yellow in age. ODOR not distinctive. TASTE mild. GILLS creamy white becoming yellowish. STEM white aging yellowish, rather slender. SPORE PRINT cream yellow to yellow-buff. HABITAT rare in boggy woods of alder and birch, common under conifers.

R. brunneoviolacea Crawsh.

CAP 3-7 cm, livid violet, livid purple or dark purple red, sometimes browner or paler in center, or with yellowish patches, margin striate in age, cuticle separable; flesh white, brittle. ODOR none. TASTE mild. GILLS cream. STEM white, often long, staining pale-yellow where rubbed. SPORE PRINT yellow. HABITAT oaks.

413b Stipe not changing to yellow

414a Cap color violet to purple, pruinose, with even margin

................................................................................Russula murrillii Burl.

CAP up to 5 cm, violaceous or darker in the center, or entirely darker, viscid drying floccose-pruinose, margin even; flesh white, thin. TASTE not noted. GILLS pale yellow becoming deeper yellow in age, subdistant, broad. STEM chalk white, unchanging in drying. SPORE PRINT pale yellow. HABITAT fir forests with scattered oak, birch, willow & maple. REMARKS The type was collected at Corvallis, Oregon, by Wm A. Murrill, Nov. 6, 1911.Russula murrillii
Russula murrillii
Kit Scates Barnhart

414b Cap color reddish purple or purple mixed with green or brown, with striate margin

................................................................................Russula abietina Peck

CAP 3-6 cm, reddish purple, greenish purple, or olive green with brown, blackish or greenish center, margin striate, cuticle separable; flesh white. TASTE mild. GILLS white to yellow, subdistant. STEM white. SPORE PRINT yellow. HABITAT balsam fir. Singer is doubtful of the autonomy of this species, suggesting confusion with R. blackfordae, R. sphagnophila Kauffm., R. turci Bres. or R. nauseosa Fr.

415a (410b) Flesh and all parts, when cut or bruised, changing to reddish orange, then slowly gray or black

................................................................................Russula occidentalis Singer

CAP 6-13 cm, usually purplish with yellow-green center, but also with extremely variable colors, some times completely purplish, or olive-green with brownish lavender margin, or yellowish-brown shading to rosy purple margin, some times with bluish green shades at center and bluish purple at rim, margin usually even or very slightly striate, surface drying dull or with slight sheen, cuticle separable; flesh white, fairly firm, turning slowly reddish when cut, eventually grayish to gray black. ODOR none to faintly fruity. TASTE mild. GILLS pale yellow, subcrowded, blackening at margin in age. STEM white, often ashy in age, bruising first reddish, then gray. SPORE PRINT cream. HABITAT Douglas-fir and Western hemlock. REMARKS This is a very common species of the Washington Cascades, where its variability is a major source of confusion. It can be immediately distinguished by applying a drop of PDAB (paradimethylaminobenzaldehyde) to its stipe, producing an instant color change to vivid magenta, a reaction which has not been found in other Russula species.Russula occidentalis
Russula occidentalis
Steve Trudell

415b Flesh not changing

416a Cap medium size, color grayish lilac to purplish gray with olive tones

................................................................................Russula grisea (Secr.) Fr.

CAP 5-11 cm, greenish olivaceous to purplish or pale gray, or grayish sepia to lilac, viscid becoming pruinose when dry, cuticle peeling to 1/2, margin grooved in age; flesh white. ODOR not distinctive. TASTE mild or slightly hot. GILLS yellow cream. STEM white, sometimes tinted rose or lilac. SPORE PRINT cream flesh. HABITAT beeches. REMARKS This species was collected by Grund in the White River drainage near Mt. Rainier.

416b Cap large, very dark purple

................................................................................Russula maxima Burl.

CAP up to 22 cm, dark purple, almost black on disk, viscid drying smooth, cuticle partly separable, margin even; flesh white. ODOR none. TASTE mild. GILLS white becoming pale yellow, close, broad. STEM rose colored, stout, solid. SPORE PRINT cream. HABITAT conifers and deciduous trees. REMARKS Type locality for this Burlingham HangOdd was Tacoma, from a collection by Wm A. Murrill in 1911. It has been reported since only by Grund.

417a (409b) Cap usually smaller than 7cm

417b Cap size usually larger

418a Cap thin, fragile, margin striate, odor fruity

................................................................................Russula chamaeleontina Fr.

CAP 2-6 cm, pale to deep yellow, orange to brick red, or a mixture of yellow with red, or lilac to purple, fragile, margin striate, cuticle separable 1/2 or more; flesh soft, white. ODOR fruity. TASTE mild. GILLS pallid becoming orange-yellow. STEM slender, white, rarely with pink tinge. SPORE PRINT yellow-orange. HABITAT various woods. REMARKS This is a species variously interpreted by European mycologists. Melzer's is the above description without purplish forms.

418b Cap fleshy, margin even, odor none

................................................................................Russula cessans Pearson

CAP 3-7 cm, dark purplish red, livid purple, wine color or brick, center often darker, fleshy, viscid drying matte, margin even, peeling 1/2; flesh white, unchanging. ODOR none. TASTE mild. GILLS white, then cream and finally ochraceous, somewhat broad. STEM white, firm, short. SPORE PRINT ochre. HABITAT pine woods.

419a (417b) Cap medium size, stem white, odor of iodoform at base of stem

................................................................................Russula turci Bresad.

CAP up to 9 cm, reddish violet, lilac-purple, darker in center, fading in age, sometimes becoming yellowish, fleshy, viscid drying matte or slightly areolate in age, margin even becoming striate in age, peeling 1/3; flesh white. ODOR none. TASTE mild. GILLS white, soon deep yellow, somewhat crowded. STEM white, short. SPORE PRINT deep eggyolk yellow. HABITAT conifers. REMARKS Although this species does not appear in the lists compiled for PNW mycological exhibits or forays, its presence was determined by Gertrude Burlingham from Wm Murrill's collections made in Seattle and Corvallis. Rayner notes that the stipe base has an odor of iodoform, and we have used this as a key characteristic.

419b Cap usually large, stem colored pink, red or purple, without iodoform odor

420a Stem turning rusty brown where handled, odor of crabshells

................................................................................Russula xerampelina (Schaeffer) Fr.

CAP 5-12 (18) cm, bright red, brownish red, maroon, deep purple, also in forms with brown caps and black centers, greenish yellow or completely honey tan, viscid when wet, drying velvety matte, margin long inrolled, even, peeling to 1/2; flesh pale buff turning rusty brown on bruising or exposure to air. ODOR none when young and fresh, becoming distinctly fishy or like crabshells in older specimens or after mushrooms have been collected and stored for a short time. TASTE mild. GILLS creamy yellow, bruising brown, broad, crowded, very brittle. Stem white or pale buff, often pink tinged, becoming brown where handled. SPORE PRINT pale yellow. HABITAT coniferous or mixed woods. REMARKS Varieties of R. xerampelina with differing cap color have been given the following varietal designations. Russula xerampelina
Russula xerampelina
Steve Trudell
Bright red var. rubra
Purple or maroon with pink stipe var. xerampelina
Purple center with green margin var. olivaceovinacea
Greenish yellow or buff or honey tan var. isabellinaceps
Dark brown with blackish center var. elaeodes

 

The browning reaction to handling, odor of crab, and the flesh turning green when contacted with iron salts unites all of the varieties.

420b Stem not turning color where handled, odor none or fruity

................................................................................Russula olivacea (Schaeff.) Fr.

CAP 10-20 cm, olive green or wine purple, usually olivaceous when young or where protected from light, heavy and fleshy, velvety surface finely furrowed or cracked in a distinctive circumferential pattern near the rim, margin not striate, cuticle separable at the margin only; flesh dingy tan, not changing. ODOR faintly fruity. TASTE mild, nutty. GILLS deep yellow, crowded, flexible. STEM stout, yellow tan with purplish tinge, rusty at base. SPORE PRINT egg yellow. HABITAT conifers.Russula olivacea
Russula olivacea
Ben Woo

 

Group 500 - CAP COLOR BLUISH, BLUE GRAY, OR GRAY

 

Species fitting into this group generally exhibit a range of colors in the gray, blue-gray and purple-gray shades. We have included two species, which may be represented in the Pacific Northwest, of which R. azurea has been widely cited, and R. parazurea has apparently been collected in Bellingham

501a Spore print white

................................................................................Russula azurea Bresad.

CAP 3-7 cm, lilac, brownish-violet or grayish-violet with darker brownish or blackish center, granular pruinose surface, margin even to slightly striate, peeling easily; flesh white. ODOR none. TASTE mild. GILLS white, broad. STEM white, pruinose. SPORE PRINT white. HABITAT dry conifer forests or pine woods. (Pilát)

CAP 3-8 cm, bluish, grayish-blue, grayish or dull lilac, often whitish in center, more or less pruinose to floccose, 3/4 peeling, margin smooth or slightly sulcate. TASTE mild. GILLS white, sub-decurrent, forked at stem. STEM pruinose to floccose. SPORE PRINT white. HABITAT conifers, especially spruce. (Rayner)

501b Spore print creamy yellow

................................................................................Russula parazurea Schaeffer

CAP 4.5-6 cm, greenish-gray to near pigeon-blue, center fading to pallid gray, with a delicate surface bloom, edge almost smooth, cuticle separable; flesh thin. TASTE mild. GILLS milky white, forks at stem. STEM white, short. SPORE PRINT cream-yellow. HABITAT frondose woods. (J. E. Lange)

CAP 3-8 cm, grayish tones of olive, violet, sepia or wine, sometimes browner, drying matte or pruinose, margin almost even, peeling 1/2+; flesh firm, white. TASTE mild or very slightly hot. GILLS pale buff, often forked. STEM not remarkable. SPORE PRINT deep cream to yellow. HABITAT deciduous trees. (Rayner)

REMARKS As you can see, not all authors agree on the presence of blue coloration in these species which are often cited as bluish. On the other hand, R. occidentalis is often found, especially in young specimens, with a definite blue cast.

 

Group 600 - CAP COLOR GREEN, YELLOW-GREEN, OR OLIVE-GREEN

 

601a Taste acrid

................................................................................Russula urens Romell

CAP 3-8 cm, yellow-green or green, sometimes with purple tone at margin, drying matte, margin even; flesh white. ODOR none. TASTE acrid. GILLS pallid, then yellow. STEM white. SPORE PRINT deep yellow. HABITAT deciduous trees. REMARKS Grund reports this species as common in conifer forests.

601b Taste mild

602a Spore print white

602b Spore print cream or darker

603a Cap medium (5-10 cm), various shades of green, white stipe, rusty where wounded

................................................................................Russula heterophylla Fr.

CAP 5-10 cm, various shades of green, brownish-green, yellowish-green, sometimes olive or greenish-yellow, rusty spots where wounded, viscid drying matte to finely tomentose, peeling with difficulty, margin even until very old; flesh firm, white, becoming rusty. ODOR none. TASTE mild. GILLS white, then yellowish, narrow and crowded, rusty spotted, forked near stipe. STEM short, white rusty at base. SPORE PRINT pure white. HABITAT deciduous woods but also in conifers, in clearings or at roadsides. REMARKS R. aeruginea is similar but has striate margin and cream colored spores. Some forms of R. cyanoxantha are also green but may be distinguished by their flexible gills.

603b Cap larger (8-15 cm), various shades of green, white stipe washed with pink

................................................................................Russula smithii Singer

CAP 8-15 cm, grayish olive green, or yellow green with dark grayish brown center, viscid drying pruinose, margin even, peeling with difficulty; flesh white, firm to hard. ODOR not distinctive. TASTE mild. GILLS cream, becoming yellowish green, close, forking. STEM short, white with rose pink wash. SPORE PRINT white. HABITAT Douglas-fir, Olympics. REMARKS This species appears to be close to R. heterophylla Fr. except for the pink stem.

604a (602b) Spore print cream to light yellow

604b Spore print dark yellow to orange ochre

605a Flesh, when cut or bruised, changing to reddish orange, then slowly gray or black

................................................................................Russula occidentalis Singer

CAP 6-13 cm, usually purplish with yellow-green center, but also with extremely variable colors, some times completely purplish, or olive-green with brownish lavender margin, or yellowish-brown shading to rosy purple margin, some times with bluish green shades at center and bluish purple at rim, margin usually even or very slightly striate, surface drying dull or with slight sheen, cuticle separable; flesh white, fairly firm, turning slowly reddish when cut, eventually grayish to gray black. ODOR none to faintly fruity. TASTE mild. GILLS pale yellow, subcrowded, blackening at margin in age. STEM white, often ashy in age, bruising first reddish, then gray. SPORE PRINT cream. HABITAT Douglas-fir and Western hemlock. REMARKS See comments under Key lead 415b.Russula occidentalis
Russula occidentalis
Steve Trudell

605b Flesh not changing color

606a Cap small (2.5-6 cm), gray green, drying pruinose, margin even

................................................................................Russula modesta Peck

CAP 3-6 cm, greenish gray, paler on margin, viscid drying matte or pruinose, margin even to slightly grooved; flesh white. TASTE mild. GILLS white becoming yellowish, close, narrow, many forked at stipe. STEM short, white, smooth. SPORE PRINT pale yellow. HABITAT woods.

606b Cap medium (3-10 cm), grass green, drying shiny, margin striate

................................................................................Russula aeruginea Lindbl.

CAP 3-10 cm, one color olive to grass green, more rarely olive brown or yellow green, center often depressed, viscid, drying shining smooth, margin striate, cuticle peeling; flesh firm, white. TASTE mild or slightly acrid when young. GILLS white, yellowing in age, crowded, forked at stem. STEM white, sometimes with reddish spots at base. SPORE PRINT deep cream. HABITAT conifers or deciduous woods.Russula aeruginea
Russula aeruginea
Ben Woo

607a (604b) Cap small to medium (3-8 cm), green with purple, drying smooth, margin striate

................................................................................Russula abietina Peck

CAP 3-6 cm, reddish purple, greenish purple, or olive green with brown, blackish or greenish center, margin striate, cuticle separable; flesh white. TASTE mild. GILLS white to yellow, subdistant. STEM white. SPORE PRINT yellow. HABITAT balsam fir. REMARKS Singer is doubtful of the autonomy of this species, suggesting confusion with R. sphagnophila Kauffm., R. turci Bres. or R. nauseosa Fr.

607b Cap large (10-20 cm) olive green when young, turning wine red, matte surface, margin even, stem rose

................................................................................Russula olivacea (Schaeff.) Fr.

CAP 10-20 cm, olive green or wine purple, usually olivaceous when young or where protected from light, heavy and fleshy, velvety surface finely furrowed or cracked in a distinctive circumferential pattern near the rim, margin not striate, cuticle separable at the margin only; flesh dingy tan, not changing. ODOR faintly fruity. TASTE mild, nutty. GILLS deep yellow, crowded, flexible. STEM stout, yellow tan with purplish tinge, rusty at base. SPORE PRINT egg yellow. HABITAT conifers.Russula olivacea
Russula olivacea
Ben Woo

 

Group 700 - CAP TAN, YELLOW-BROWN, BROWN, PINK-BROWN, RED-BROWN, SOOT-BROWN

 

701a Taste acrid

701b Taste mild or only slightly acrid

702a Odor strong, distinctive

702b Odor absent to indistinct

703a Odor sweet, unpleasant, nauseating, reminiscent of vomit

................................................................................Russula foetens Fr.

CAP 5-15 cm, dirty yellow brown, darker at center, radially veined, viscid, cuticle separable to 1/2 when dry, margin striate, pressed to stem when young; flesh firm, whitish to dirty yellow. ODOR strongly unpleasant oily, sweet and repulsive. TASTE sharp acrid. GILLS dingy white to cream, beaded with drops, becoming spotted reddish brown, narrow, distant. STEM whitish, brownish toward base. SPORE PRINT pale cream. HABITAT all kinds of woods. REMARKS The closely related R. laurocerasi, paler in color and somewhat less repulsive in odor, is apparently more common in our conifer forests.

703b Odor without vomity content

704a Odor sweet, pleasant, like bitter almond

................................................................................Russula laurocerasi Melzer

REMARKS Not clearly distinguished in appearance from R. foetens, except that odor is sweeter almond scent, less nauseating, and the spores are ornamented with startlingly large amyloid ridges. Romagnesi separates also R. subfoetens, R. fragrans, R. fragrantissima, and R. illota from this difficult complex.Russula laurocerasi
Russula laurocerasi
Andrew Parker

704b Odor spermatic, strong, reminiscent of coal gas

................................................................................Russula pectinata (Bull.) Fr.

CAP 4-7 cm, dull yellow brown or grayish brown, viscid when wet, margin widely grooved, sometimes halfway to center, not readily peeling; flesh colored like cap under surface, dingy white elsewhere. ODOR unpleasant like coal gas. TASTE hot. GILLS white, sometimes with rusty spots, close. STEM white. SPORE PRINT white to pale cream. HABITAT road edges, open woods, park areas.

705a (702b) Cap tan, flesh firm and elastic, margin grooved

................................................................................Russula farinipes Romell apud Britz.

CAP 4-7 cm, ivory white to tan, rather flat, margin grooved, hardly peeling; flesh hard, firm and elastic. ODOR none. TASTE very acrid. GILLS narrow, crowded, headed with drops. STEM white, yellowing where handled. SPORE PRINT white. HABITAT deciduous trees.Russula farinipes
Russula farinipes
Michael Beug

705b Cap dark gray brown, fragile, margin even

................................................................................Russula consobrina Fr.

CAP 5-10 cm, shades of dark gray brown or olive brown, fleshy, surface radially veined, margin smooth, thin, cuticle peeling 3/4; flesh fragile, white bruising reddish. ODOR faint. TASTE very hot. GILLS white, then grayish, rather crowded, with many forks and subgills. STEM white becoming gray, often bruising reddish. SPORE PRINT cream. HABITAT conifers. REMARKS A similar species with striate margin and subdistant gills is R. sororia, grows under oaks, and not yet reported from the Northwest.

706a (701b) Spore print white to cream

706b Spore print yellow or darker

707a Cap medium, yellow brown, margin strongly striate

................................................................................Russula pectinatoides Peck

CAP 3-7.5 cm, dingy straw, yellow brown, or smoky brown, viscid when wet, margin widely grooved, peeling to 1/2; flesh grayish under cuticle. ODOR pleasant, fruity. TASTE mild. GILLS pallid white, adnate, some forked at stem. STEM white. SPORE PRINT cream to pale yellow. HABITAT open areas in woods.

707b Cap medium, pinky brown, margin even, with retracting cuticle

................................................................................Russula vesca Fr.

CAP 6-10 cm, pastel tints in variable colors of dark to pale vinaceous buff, sometimes olivaceous, greenish or whitish, subglobose when young, smooth, peeling 1/2, cuticle tending to retract from margin; flesh white discoloring slightly rust or honey. ODOR nil to faintly fishy in age. TASTE mild, pleasantly nutty. GILLS white to cream, narrow, crowded, forked at stem. STEM white or flesh tinted, rusty stained at base. SPORE PRINT white. HABITAT deciduous woods.

708a (706b) Cap size small (up to 5.5 cm)

708b Cap size medium to large

709a Cap color brown at center, whitish or grayish margin, taste mild

................................................................................Russula blackfordae Peck

CAP about 2.5 cm, whitish or pale gray on margin and brown in center, viscid when wet, margin striate, peeling; flesh white. TASTE mild. GILLS pale yellow, equal, narrow, close, no forks. STEM white. SPORE PRINT pale yellow.

709b Cap color brown at center, yellow margin, taste somewhat acrid

................................................................................Russula disparilis Burl.

CAP up to 5.5 cm, yellow on rim and brown in center, viscid drying pruinose, margin inrolled until mature, grooved, peeling; flesh white. ODOR not distinctive. TASTE somewhat acrid. GILLS white, then creamy. STEM white. SPORE PRINT cream. HABITAT deciduous woods. REMARKS Reported only by Grund, apparently not common in our area.

710a (708b) Stipe and flesh turning brown when handled or in age

710b Stipe and flesh not browning from handling

................................................................................Russula mustelina Fr.

CAP 5-10 (15) cm, yellow brown to rusty brown, slightly viscid, then smooth to matte, margin even, peeling up to 1/2; flesh thick and hard, white. ODOR none. TASTE mild. GILLS cream, close, forking at stipe. STEM short, stout, pruinose, spotting brown or becoming entirely brown from aging. SPORE PRINT cream to yellow. HABITAT alpine, under conifers. REMARKS The occurrence of this species in the PNW is not clearly established. Grund's report deviates significantly from the European descriptions.

711a Odor not distinctive

................................................................................Russula viscida Kudrna

CAP 5-12 cm, wine-red to dark reddish brown, ochre spots near center, red rim, viscid drying smooth, margin inrolled, even or obscurely grooved, peeling at edge only; flesh hard, white turning rusty brown in age. ODOR indistinct. TASTE mild peppery in gills. GILLS off-white, very narrow, crowded, thick, some subgills. STEM robust, almost clavate, solid and hard, pale when young but soon rusty or leathery brown. SPORE PRINT pale cream. HABITAT old spruce or fir woods.

711b Odor of crabshells

................................................................................Russula xerampelina (Schaeff.) Fr.

CAP 5-12 (18) cm, bright red, brownish red, maroon, deep purple, also in forms with brown caps and black centers, greenish yellow or completely honey tan, viscid when wet, drying velvety matte, margin long inrolled, even, peeling to 1/2; flesh pale buff turning rusty brown on bruising or exposure to air. ODOR none when young and fresh, becoming distinctly fishy or like crabshells in older specimens or after mushrooms have been collected and stored for a short time. TASTE mild. GILLS creamy yellow, bruising brown, broad, crowded, very brittle. Stem white or pale buff, often pink tinged, becoming brown where handled. SPORE PRINT pale yellow. HABITAT coniferous or mixed woods. REMARKS Varieties of R. xerampelina with differing cap color have been given the following varietal designations. Russula xerampelina
Russula xerampelina
Steve Trudell
Bright red var. rubra
Purple or maroon with pink stipe var. xerampelina
Purple center with green margin var. olivaceovinacea
Greenish yellow or buff or honey tan var. isabellinaceps
Dark brown with blackish center var. elaeodes

 

The browning reaction to handling, odor of crab, and the flesh turning green when contacted with iron salts unites all of the varieties.

 

Group 800 - CAP COLORS MIXED

 

This group comprises Russula cap colors that are very difficult to define, but generally applies to individual caps on which various combinations of pink, purples, brown, tan, and green appear. It is not intended to cover the normal color variations caused by age, the darker or lighter shades of the same color on a cap surface, or the different color varieties of species. We treat nine species in the portion of the key, and could probably bring in double that number without argument, but at the risk of causing more confusion than enlightenment. As we have said before, all parts of this key are subject to revision as necessary to improve it.

801a Cap small (up to 7 cm)

801b Cap medium to large

802a Taste mild

802b Taste acrid

803a Spore print white to cream

................................................................................Russula lilacea Quélet

CAP 3-7 cm, pale or rosy vinaceous, grayish rose, or livid vinaceous to tan, or even yellowish green, center either paler or darker, very fragile, viscid drying pruinose or scurfy, 3/4 peeling, margin striate; flesh soft, very thin, white. TASTE mild. GILLS very pale cream, fairly distant, broad. STEM white, sometimes rose tinted, fragile. SPORE PRINT white to pale cream. HABITAT deciduous woods, especially beech. REMARKS Reported as rare by European authors. Grund found it common in conifer woods at low elevations around Puget Sound.Russula lilacea
Russula lilacea
Ben Woo

803b Spore print yellow to ochre

804a Stem and flesh discoloring yellow, gills somewhat acrid

................................................................................Russula versicolor J. Schaeff.

CAP 3-6 cm, overlying colors of brown, purple, red, violet, yellow, usually with a tinge of green in the center, surface greasy, peeling, margin striate; flesh white, wounding yellow. ODOR indistinct. TASTE mild, gills somewhat acrid. GILLS somewhat crowded, cream becoming pale yellow. STEM white, discoloring yellow. SPORE PRINT light yellow ochre. HABITAT birches.

804b Stem and flesh not discoloring, all parts tasting mild

................................................................................Russula abietina Peck

CAP 3-6 cm, reddish purple, greenish purple, or olive green with brown, blackish or greenish center, margin striate, cuticle separable; flesh white. TASTE mild. GILLS white to yellow, subdistant. STEM white. SPORE PRINT yellow. HABITAT balsam fir. REMARKS Singer is doubtful of the autonomy of this species, suggesting confusion with R. sphagnophila Kauffm, R. turci Bres or R. nauseosa Fr.

805a (802b) Odor none, stem white, rarely pink, not discoloring

................................................................................Russula gracilis Burl.

CAP up to 6 cm, pale lilac-rose to salmon-lilac, much darker in center, sometimes gray-green or stone color between center and margin, fading in age, viscid drying smooth, peeling, striate margin; flesh white. ODOR none. TASTE acrid. GILLS white, then cream, close, rather broad, pruinose. STEM white, rarely pink. SPORE PRINT yellowish buff. HABITAT mixed woods.

805b Odor fruity or distinctive, stem white, discoloring to yellow or brown

806a Spore print white to pale cream

................................................................................Russula fragilis Fr.

CAP 2-6 cm, very variable in color, purple, wine, violet, red or pinkish red with center almost black or brown or olive, sometimes with light spots or entirely white, usually depressed at center, viscid drying smooth, margin thin but not grooved, cuticle peeling 3/4; flesh fairly firm, white. ODOR pleasant fruity. TASTE very acrid. GILLS white, narrow, with edges finely floccose or crenulate. STEM white, later faintly yellow. SPORE PRINT white to cream. HABITAT conifer forests in moss or on decayed wood.Russula fragilis
Russula fragilis
Michael Beug

806b Spore print yellow

................................................................................Russula violacea Quélet ss Romagn.

CAP 4-5 cm, greenish, sometimes with violaceous, thin and fragile, peeling to 1/2; flesh white, unchanging. ODOR of menthol and geranium. TASTE very hot. GILLS cream, forked near stipe. STEM white, often yellowing or browning. SPORE PRINT cream to yellow. HABITAT moist deciduous woods, uncommon.

807a (801b) Spore print white

................................................................................Russula cyanoxantha (Schaeff. ex Schw.) Fr.

CAP 5-15 cm, dull lilac, purple, wine, olive, greenish or brownish, usually mixed colors, greasy when moist, radially anastomosing veins, margin long even, peeling 1/2; flesh firm, white. TASTE mild. GILLS white to cream, narrow, flexible, forked. STEM white, sometimes flushed with purple. SPORE PRINT white: HABITAT deciduous woods.

807b Spore print cream or darker

808a Flesh and all parts, when injured or in age, changing to reddish orange, then slowly gray to black

................................................................................Russula occidentalis Singer

CAP 6-13 cm, usually purplish with yellow-green center, but also with extremely variable colors, some times completely purplish, or olive-green with brownish lavender margin, or yellowish-brown shading to rosy purple margin, some times with bluish green shades at center and bluish purple at rim, margin usually even or very slightly striate, surface drying dull or with slight sheen, cuticle separable; flesh white, fairly firm, turning slowly reddish when cut, eventually grayish to gray black. ODOR none to faintly fruity. TASTE mild. GILLS pale yellow, subcrowded, blackening at margin in age. STEM white, often ashy in age, bruising first reddish, then gray. SPORE PRINT cream. HABITAT Douglas-fir and Western hemlock REMARKS See comments under Key lead 415b.Russula occidentalis
Russula occidentalis
Steve Trudell

808b Flesh not changing

................................................................................Russula olivacea (Schaeff.) Fr.

CAP 10-20 cm, olive green or wine purple, usually olivaceous when young or where protected from light, heavy and fleshy, velvety surface finely furrowed or cracked in a distinctive circumferential pattern near the rim, margin not striate, cuticle separable at the margin only; flesh dingy tan, not changing. ODOR faintly fruity. TASTE mild, nutty. GILLS deep yellow, crowded, flexible. STEM stout, yellow tan with purplish tinge, rusty at base. SPORE PRINT egg yellow. HABITAT conifers.Russula olivacea
Russula olivacea
Ben Woo

 

 

APPENDIX

 

MICROSCOPIC CHARACTERISTICS

Those features of the species of Russula that become visible only by viewing through a microscope are helpful for delineating the species, but are not, by themselves, definitive. While a very small number of species have microscopic details that are so striking as to provide instant identification, most of what is seen through the scope simply adds to the information needed to compare the specimen in hand to the literature. Since few of the early mycologists provided the full range of information that is considered essential today, many problems remain.

The important microscopic feature in Russulas are (1) the size of the spores and the nature of the surface ornamentation, (2) the occurrence and shape of the hymenophoral sterile cells (cystidia), and (3) the types and kinds of cell terminations in the cap surface. We have appended a tabulation of the spore sizes and spore ornamentation types for the species covered in this key.

 

SPORE SIZE, SHAPE AND COLOR

As with other features of Russulas, spore characteristics are somewhat variable for each species. Our tabulation of sizes, colors and ornamentation all embrace a range.

The size is given in microns (micrometers, abbreviated um), which is a millimeter divided into 1000 parts. Small Russula spores are in the range of 5-7 um, large ones up to 13-14 um. Ten-micron spores will take 2500 laid end-to-end to make up one inch.

Most Russula spores are sub-globose or fat-elliptical in shape. In back or belly view, they are symmetrical, but in side view, somewhat lop-sided. The apiculus, by which the growing spore is attached to the basidium, points off to one side, approximately 35 to 45 degrees from the principal axis.

Color of the spore print runs from pure white to deep yellow-orange. The color range has been divided into 5 shades by Romell, Singer and Maire, 8 shades by Crawshay and Pearson, and 14 by Romagnesi. Our tabulation follows the letter codes used by Crawshay, where A is pure white and H is a deep ochre-orange.

 

SPORE ORNAMENTATION

Very fortunately for Russula students, it was discovered early on that the spores are not only bumpy, but that the bumps, and not the rest of the spore, turned black in an iodine solution, displaying a pattern that varied from one group of species to another. The hope that each species has a unique bump-pattern was not realized, but nonetheless the ornamentation has become a valuable piece of additional information.

The standard iodine solution is one called Melzer's, the formula for which is given in most Russula monographs. The spore needs to be viewed under an oil-immersion objective lens, and the ornamentation pattern must be drawn by hand, since the depth of focus is so shallow that a photograph can't reproduce the full depth of the top half of the spore surface. Most of the spore ornamentation drawings in the literature are very crude, and are not a good representation of what you will see in your microscope. The best drawings are those shown in Romagnesi's Russulas of Europe and North Africa.

The ornamentation pattern, which includes warts (bumps) and lines, seems to fall into types, which tempts the establishment of a coding system. Singer's 1932 monograph described 10 types, designated by Roman numerals and referring to drawings by Crawshay, Moreau and others. Pearson, in 1950, used drawings from Crawshay's plates to illustrate his type P1 to P11. Rayner, 1968-70, illustrated 15 types of ornamentation with excellent drawings, but did not use them in a coding system. Dave Patterson's Key to the Eastern U.S. Russulas suggests a matrix which I have adopted, using a combination of wart size and mesh pattern to designate a type. These are illustrated below.

Russula spores

 

 

GLOSSARY

acrid - taste burning or peppery

adnate - referring to gills, attached to the stem without a notch, and usually implies broad attachment, the lower edge of the gill being attached at the line at which a straight gill edge would intersect the stem

agaric - mushroom with gills

amyloid - staining bluish to gray to black in Melzer's reagent

anastomosing - forming a network, connecting by cross-veins

apiculus - nipple-like projection; nipple-like projection on basidiospore which corresponds to the area that was attached to the sterigma of the basidium, same as hilar appendage and not to be confused with apical pore (germ pore)

apud - indicates a name published by one author in the work of another

areolae - the plaques or blocks that occur in an areolate pattern

areolate - surface cracked into plaques or blocks, like the cracking that occurs when mud dries in the sun

basidium - cell on which spores form in basidiomycetes (most gilled mushrooms as well as chanterelles, tooth fungi, boletes, polypores, puffballs, birdís nests, jelly fungi etc.)

bloom - minutely velvety or powdery surface

brittle - breaking easily, rigid and breaking without the pieces bending first

broad - when used of gills, refers to the height (depth) of the gill, which may be narrow, moderately broad or broad

buff - a pale yellow toned with gray-brown, i.e. a dingy yellowish brown or very pale tan

clavate - like a caveman's club; when used of stems, implies base is thicker and stem tapers upward, same as club-shaped

close - of gill spacing, nearly touching but with visible space between, intermediate between crowded and distant, the order being crowded, (subcrowded), (subclose), close, subdistant, distant

complex - a cluster of taxonomically related similar species typified by a particular species, as in Conocybe tenera complex

convex - regularly rounded, domed, like an inverted bowl

Crawshay - mycologist who designated color types for Russula spores, ranging from white (A) to deep ochre-orange (H)

crenulate - finely scalloped

crimson - rich deep red inclining to purple

crowded - of gill spacing, very close, touching or with almost no space between, the order being crowded, (subcrowded), (subclose), close, subdistant, distant

cuticle - the cap skin or surface layer of cells; same as pellis

deciduous - referring to trees that seasonally shed their leaves

decurrent - refers to gills or pores that run down the stem, in the case of gills, the attachment at stem is wider than average height of gill

depressed - of cap, having the middle lower than the edge

dingy - color appearing grimy or dirty

disk - center of the cap

distant - of gill spacing, meaning the gills are spaced far apart, the order being crowded, (subcrowded), (subclose), close, subdistant, distant

dry - surface not sticky or slimy, feeling as if there is no moisture on surface

dusky - somewhat dark, implies absence of light and color

ecru - light brown or the color of unbleached linen

elastic - springing back to its original shape

equal - of a stem, the same diameter throughout its length, cylindric; of gill, broad (high) to same extent throughout length or alike in length

even - of cap margin, means not wavy or lobed or grooved

ex - from, first published validly by second author

filamentous - composed of hyphae (threadlike cells)

flat - of cap, the margin being on the same level as the center

flesh - the tissue of cap or stem, not including the surface

fleshy - soft as opposed to tough; having significant substance

floccose - with easily removed cottony or woolly tufts; woolly or cottony; dry and loosely arranged; having the appearance of cotton flannel; with a soft cottony texture

foray - a field trip

forked - of gills, dividing into two or more branches as they go away from stem

forking - of gills, dividing into two or more branches as they go away from stem

form - a consistent appearing variation of a species, with less variation than a variety, often not sufficiently hereditary as to characterize homogeneous populations

forma - see form

free - refers to gills that are not attached to stem

frondose - of a forest or the wood of deciduous trees

gelatinous - jelly-like in consistency or appearance

greasy - slippery or oily but not viscid (sticky) or slimy

hot - peppery, same as acrid

hymenophoral - pertaining to the spore-bearing surface

incurved - of cap margin, curved inwards toward stem, but less than inrolled

inrolled - of cap margin, rolled inwards so that the edge of the margin is actually points toward gills

interveined - of gills, connected by "veins" (ridges) that run between gills, same as intervenose

iodoform - a compound of iodine with antiseptic properties

lilac - the color of flowers of the lilac shrub, a pale purple or mauve

livid - a dark blue-gray color

macroscopic - visible to the naked eye, without a microscope

magenta - brilliant mauvish crimson

margin - the part of the cap or gills near the edge

maroon - brownish crimson

mealy - granular in appearance

mild - not with distinctly marked quality

mixed - referring to forests containing both conifer and deciduous trees

monograph - a publication which details the a subject in depth, for instance describing all the species of a particular group of fungi in a given area

narrow - of gills, the opposite of broad, refers to the height of the gill, which may be narrow, moderately broad or broad

nomenclatural - pertaining to names, especially in science

ochraceous - ochre-yellowish, yellow-orange with a brownish tinge

ochre - between warm buff and yellow to brownish orange

oil-immersion - a high power objective lens for a microscope which requires a layer of oil between the objective and the slide

olivaceous - olive gray-brown; with an olive shade

ornamentation - any projections outside the structural surface such as warts, ridges, or spines

pallid - very pale in color, almost a dull whitish

PDAB - a solution of p-diaminobenzaldehyde in 70% ethanol

partial veil - a layer which joins the stem to the cap edge at first, and often breaks to leave a ring on stem and remnants hanging from the cap margin

pellicle - an upper surface layer on cap surface that can undergo gelatinization, making the cap viscid (sticky) to the touch; often it can be peeled away from the cap, may be thought of as covering cuticle; same as cuticle as used here, or as thinner and more definite

peppery - with acrid taste, giving the tongue a burning sensation

pigeon-blue - a blue gray

pruinose - looking finely powdered or finely granular

regular - of subgills, occurring in a pattern that repeats itself around the underside of the cap

scurfy - surface covered with branlike particles resembling scales, same as furfuraceous

seceding - of cap cuticle, separating from the margin; of gills, refers to gills that have separated in their attachment to the stem and have the appearance of being free

separable - of cap cuticle, possible to peel back from flesh of cap

sepia - a moderate brown; a brownish gray to a dark olive-brown

solid - not hollow; feeling hard

spermatic - resembling the odor of human sperm or semen

sphagnum - a genus of moss that grows in bogs

spore print - a visible deposit of spores obtained by allowing a gilled mushroom to drop spores onto white paper for a few hours or overnight

ss - abbreviation for sensu meaning "in the sense of", "according to the view or description of" a particular author

sterile - not producing spores

stipe - the correct name for the "stem" of a mushroom

striate - marked with lines or fine grooves

subcrowded - a term used of gill spacing, intermediate between close and crowded, might also be used to mean more or less crowded

subdecurrent - of gills, meaning short decurrent or nearly decurrent or somewhat decurrent (i.e. intermediate between adnate and decurrent, when attachment extends slightly further down stem than when adnate)

subdistant - of gill spacing, intermediate between close and distant, the order being crowded, (subcrowded), (subclose), close, subdistant, distant

subgills - the short gills that do not span the entire distance from margin to stem, same as lamellulae

subglobose - nearly spherical

subshining - somewhat shining

sulcate - grooved, furrowed

tan - leather-colored, similar to undressed leather

thick - term used for width of stem, depth of cap flesh, or the distance between the faces (sides) of one gill

thin - term used for depth of cap flesh, or the distance between the faces (sides) of one gill

tomentose - covered with soft hairs, often soft densely matted hairs, like a woollen blanket

translucent - transmitting light diffusely, semitransparent

type - the element on which the descriptive matter fulfilling the conditions of valid publication of a scientific name is based; in the case of mushroom species, the collection of fruiting bodies from which the original concept of the species is derived

umbonate - having a raised knob or mound at the center of the cap

universal veil - a layer which initially covers the whole fruiting body including the top of the cap, always breaking and sometimes leaving fragments on the cap or the stem, or a volva at the base of the stem

variety - (abbreviated var. or v.) a consistent appearing variation of a species, with more variation than a form, sufficiently hereditary as to characterize homogeneous populations

veil - referring either to the partial veil which joins the stem to the cap edge at first, and often breaks to leave a ring on stem and remnants hanging from the cap margin, or the universal veil which initially covers the whole fruiting body including the top of the cap, always breaking and sometimes leaving fragments on the cap or the stem, or a volva at the base of the stem

vein - a fold-like structure on a surface somewhat resembling the visible veins on a forearm, sometimes forming a network

vinaceous - the color of red wine or red wine stains; a paler or grayish red; dull pinkish brown to dull grayish purple

violaceous - of some violet hue

viscid - sticky but not slimy or lubricous: the mushroom usually feels somewhat slimy or slippery when wet but when dry may need to be wetted slightly to feel sticky; sometimes used to include slimy

wart - bumpy outgrowth found on caps, stems, and spores

waxy - appearing as if coated with wax

 

REFERENCES

  1. Beardslee, H.C. 1918. "Russulas of North Carolina." Journ. E. Mitchell Sci. Soc. 33: 188.
  2. Bills, Gerald F., Orson K. Miller Jr. 1984. "Southern Appalachian Russulas I." Mycologia 76(6): 975-1002.
  3. Bills, Gerald F. 1984. "Southern Appalachian Russulas II." Mycotaxon 21: 491-517.
  4. Burlingham, Gertrude S. 1915. North American Flora. 9.
  5. Burlingham, Gertrude S. 1918. "New Species of Russula from Massachusetts." Mycologia 10: 93-96.
  6. Burlingham, Gertrude S. 1936. "New or Noteworthy Species of Russula and Lactaria." Mycologia 28: 23-267.
  7. Crawshay, Richard. 1930. Spore Ornamentation of the Russulas. London.
  8. Grund, D.W. 1965. Survey of Genus Russula in Washington State. Ph.D. thesis.
  9. Grund, Darryl W. 1979. "New and Interesting Taxa of Russula Pers. Ex S.F.Gray occurring in Washington State." Mycotaxon 9(1): 93-113.
  10. Hesler, L.R. 1960. "A Study of Russula Types" Mem. Torrey Bot. Club 21: 1-59.
  11. Hesler, L.R. 1961. "A Study of Russula Types II." Mycologia 53: 605-625.
  12. Hesler, L.R. 1961. "A Study of Julius Schaeffer's Russulas." Lloydia 24: 182-198.
  13. Peck, C.H. 1907. "The New York species of Russula." N.Y. State Museum Bull. 116: 67-98.
  14. Rayner, R.W. 1968-70. "Keys to the British Species of Russula 1-3." Bull. British Mycological Soc.
  15. Romagnesi, H. 1967. Les Russules d'Europe et d'Nord d'Afrique. Bordas.
  16. Shaffer, R.L. 1962. "The subsection Compactae of Russula." Brittonia 14:254-284.
  17. Shaffer, R.L. 1964. "The Subsection Lactarioideae of Russula." Mycologia 56: 202-231.
  18. Shaffer, R.L. 1970. "Notes on the Subsection Crassotunicatinae and other species of Russula." Lloydia 33: 49-96.
  19. Shaffer, R.L. 1972. "North American Russulas of the Subsection Foetentinae." Mycologia 64: 1008-1053.
  20. Shaffer, R.L. 1975. "Some Common North American Species of Russula Subsection Emeticinae." Beih. Nova Hedwigia 51: 207-237.
  21. Thiers, Harry D. 1997. The Agaricales (Gilled Fungi) of California 9. Russulaceae I. Russula. Mad River Press, Eureka, California.

INDEX

 SPECIES KEY ENTRIES SPORE SIZE CRAWSHAY TYPE
 RUSSULA Pers.      
    R. abietina Peck 414b, 607a, 804b 7.5-10 x 7-9 E-F B-2
    R. adusta (Pers.) Fr. 5b, 6b 7-9 x 6-8 A D-1
    R. aeruginea Lindbl. 606b 6-10 x 5.5-6.5 D-E B-2
    R. albonigra (Krombh.) Fr. 6a 7.7-10 x 6.7-8.2 A C-1
    R. atropurpurea (Krombh.)Britzelm. 403b 7-9 x 6-7 A-B B-1
    R. azurea Bresad. 408a, 510a 8-10 x 7-8 A B-2
    R. basifurcata Peck 106a 7-8 x 5-6 E B-1
    R. bicolor Burl. 204a, 309b 8-9.5 x 7-8 A B-2
    R. blackfordae Peck 106b, 709a 8-9 x 7-8 D B-2
    R. brevipes Peck 7a 9-12 x 8-10 B C-3
    R. brunneoviolacea Crawshay 413a 7-9 x 6-7.5 C-E B-3
    R. cascadensis Shaffer 7b 6.7-8.2 x 4.8-6.7 C B-2, C-2
    R. cessans Pearson 418b 8-9 x 7-8 G C-2
    R. chamaeleontina Fr. 306a, 418a 8-10 x 7-8 G-H B-2, B-3
    R. claroflava Grove 206b 8 x 6-6.5 E-F A-3, B-3
    R. consobrina Fr. 705b 8.5-10 x 7.5-9 B-C B-2
    R. crassotunicata Singer 102a 9-10 x 7.5-8 A A-2, B-2
    R. cremoricolor Earle 105a 8-9 x 7-8 A B-1, E-1
    R. crenulata Romell apud Britzelm. 104a, 204b 9-11 x 7-9.5 A B-3, C-3
    R. cyanoxantha (Schaeff.ex Schw)Fr. 408b, 807a 7-9 x 6-7 A B-2
    R. decolorans Fr. 206a 9-14 x 7-12 E-F A-3, B-3
    R. densifolia (Secr.) Gillet 5a 7-9 x 6-7 A C-1, D-1
    R. disparilis Burl. 709b 8.7-10 x 6-7.5 D-E A-2, B-2
    R. dissimulans Shaffer 4a 7.7-10.8 x 6.5-9 A B-2, C-2
    R. emetica Fr. ex S.F. Gray 309a 9-10 x 7-8 A C-2, E-2
    R. farinipes Romell apud Britzelm. 103a, 203a, 705a 6-8 x 5-7 A A-2
    R. flaviceps Peck 207b 7.5-9 x 7-7.5 E-F B-2, B-3
    R. foetens Fr. 703a 8-10 x 7-9 B-D B-3
    R. fragilis Fr. 104b, 309a, 403a, 806a 7.5-9 x 6-8 A-B C-2, D-2
    R. gilva Zvara 207b 7.5-8.5 x 6.5-7.2 F-G C-1, C-2
    R. gracilis Burl. 805a 7.5-9 x 6-7 D-E B-2
    R. grisea (Secr.) Fr. 416a 7-8.5 x 5.5-6.5 C-D C-2, E-1
    R. heterophylla Fr. 603a 5-7 x 4-6 A B-2
    R. laurocerasi Melzer 704a 8-10 x 7-9 B-C E-3
    R. lilacea Quélet 412a, 803a 6-9 x 5-7 A-B A-3
    R. lutea (Huds.) Fr. 207a 7.5-9 x 6-8 G-H A-2, A-3
    R. maxima Burl. 416b 9-11 x 7.5-9 B-C C-2
    R. modesta Peck 606a 6.3-9 x 5-6.5 D-E C-1, C-2
    R. murrillii Burl. 414a 8.5-10 x 7-8.5 D-E D-2, E-1
    R. mustelina Fr. 710b 7-10 x 6-8 B-D C-2
    R. nigricans Fr. 3a 7-8 x 6-7 A D-1
    R. occidentalis Singer 415a, 605a, 808a 8-10 x 7.5-9 B A-3, B-3
    R. olivacea (Schaeffer) Fr. 307b, 420b, 607b, 808b 8-13 x 8-12 G-H A-3
    R. parazurea Schaeffer 501b 5.8-8.5 x 5-6.5 C-D B-2, C-2
    R. pectinata (Bull.) Fr. 704b 8-9 x 5.5-6 C-D A-2, A-3
    R. pectinatoides Peck 707a 7.5-9 x 5.5-7.5 B-D C-2
    R. pelargonia Niolle 311a, 406a 7-8.5 x 6-8.5 A-B C-2
    R. placita Burl. 404a 7-9 x 6-7.5 D-E C-2, E-2
    R. praetenuis Murrill 304b 7-9 x 5.5-7 A B-2, C-2
    R. puellaris Fr. 413a 8-10 x 7-8 D A-1, B-2
    R. queletii Fr. 406b 8-10 x 7-9 C-E A-3
    R. rosacea (Pers.ex Secr.) S.F.Gray 311b 7.5-9.5 x 6-8 D-F A-2, B-2
    R. smithii Singer 603b 8-11.5 x 7.5-10 A A-3
    R. sphagnophila Kauffman 305a, 412b 8.5-11 x 7.7-9 D-E C-2
    R. turci Bresad. 419a 8.2-9.2 x 6-7.5 F C-2, E-1
    R. urens Romell 601a 8.5-12.7 x 6-10.5 F-G A-2, A-3
    R. versicolor J. Schaeff. 804a 6.7-8 x 5.7-6.2 D-E B-2, C-2
    R. vesca Fr. 304a, 707b 6-8 x 5-6 A B-1
    R. veternosa Fr. 202a, 310a 7-9.5 x 6-8 G-H A-3
    R. violacea Quélet ss Romagn. 405a, 806b 9-11 x 7.5-9.5 B-D A-3, B-3
    R. viscida Kudrna 303a, 711a 7-10 x 7-9 B-C C-1
    R. xerampelina (Schaeffer) Fr. 307a, 420a, 711b 8.2-11 x 7-9 D-F B-2, B-3

 

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