Russula

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Mushrooms

Mushrooms

By Roger Phillips

Published 2006

The Russulas or Brittlegills are a genus of gilled mushrooms that have simple stems without ring or volva. Many Russulas are brightly coloured, with red, purple, yellow, or green caps. These can be convex when young, becoming flat or funnel-shaped with age. One simple characteristic that helps identify a Russula is that the flesh of the whole mushroom is granular and will break easily, like a sugar lump. The gills have a very neat, geometric look and are brittle, hence the common name Brittlegill; they vary in colour from white to egg-yolk yellow. Note the taste; they may be hot, bitter, or mild, and a few have interesting smells. Check the amount that the cap peels. To aid identification make a spore print overnight, then scrape together the spores to form a thick layer and note the colour. Some species are edible and good to eat, but many are very bitter or hot to taste and therefore inedible.