Variable Russula

Russula cyanoxantha var. variata

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By Roger Phillips

Published 2006

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Variable Russula Russula cyanoxantha var. variata (Ban. in Pk.) Singer. (illustrated 40% life size) Cap 5–12cm across, convex then flattened, centre depressed; very variable in colour, shades of greenish-yellow or purple; dry to slightly greasy. Stem 30–100×10–30mm; white to dull cream; dry, dull, often wrinkled lengthwise. Flesh white, sometimes with touches of purple, hardly reacting to iron salts; hard, brittle; taste slightly hot after one minute, often acrid, smell like shellfish. Gills adnate to slightly decurrent, crowded, conspicuously forked; white. Spores 7–11.4×5.5–9.5µ, ovate; warts 0.3–1µ high, no reticulum present. Spore print white (A). Cap cystidia scattered, small, short, and narrow, ends slightly swollen. Habitat in oak woods; summer to autumn. Rare in Europe, not recorded for Britain. Edible. Note this is distinguished from R. heterophylla by almost nil to slightly greenish reaction to iron salts on flesh.