|Major Groups > Gilled Mushrooms > Pale-Spored > Russula > Russula brevipes & delica|
by Michael Kuo
This common russula is initially whitish, but it soon develops tan or brownish shades--though it can also remain fairly pale overall. The gills typically bruise brownish, and the stem is often fairly short in proportion to the cap. It is a sturdy and compact mushroom with a mild or slightly acrid taste (though variety acrior is strongly acrid).
I find Russula brevipes most frequently in mixed woods with sandy soil, in northern Michigan, where I have seen fruitings in the hundreds. Lactarius deceptivus is often growing alongside Russula brevipes, and separating the two species at a glance can be all but impossible. However, Lactarius species produce drops of milk when injured, making it easy to distinguish the two species with a pocket knife. I might add, however, that one tires of this fairly quickly ("That's a Russula, that's a Lactarius, that's a Russula . . ."), especially if there are other, more interesting mushrooms around.
There may be several genetically distinct species passing as Russula brevipes; the group awaits a revision based on contemporary analysis and data.
Ecology: Mycorrhizal with conifers; growing alone, scattered, or (typically) gregariously; common; summer and fall, or over winter in warm climates; fairly widely distributed in North America, at least as a species group.
Cap: 9-20 cm; convex with a central depression and an inrolled margin when young, later broadly convex with a central depression, the margin remaining somewhat inrolled or straightening; dry; smooth or minutely felty/scruffy, sometimes becoming cracked in age; white to whitish or creamy at first, developing brownish discolorations; the margin not lined; the skin fairly tightly adnate, not peeling easily.
Gills: Attached to the stem or running down it slightly; crowded or close; white at first, later creamy to pale yellow; sometimes spotting and discoloring brownish; in var. acrior sometimes bluish, especially near the juncture with the stem.
Stem: 3-8 cm long; 2.5-4 cm thick; sturdy and solid; more or less equal; dry; smooth; whitish; sometimes discoloring and bruising brownish.
Flesh: White; sometimes discoloring brownish.
Odor and Taste: Odor not distinctive or faintly foul; taste mild to slightly acrid--or moderately to strongly acrid in var. acrior.
Spore Print: White to buff.
Microscopic Features: Spores 8-11 x 6.5-8.5 µ; broadly elliptical to nearly round; warts officially .7-1.7 µ high (Shaffer, 1964) but frequently lower, in my experience; connectors sometimes infrequent, but more often present and forming partially reticulated areas. Pileipellis a cutis of interwoven, hyaline, worm-like elements with rounded apices; pileocystidia absent; oleiferous hyphae often present.
REFERENCES: Peck, 1890. (Saccardo, 1891; Kauffman, 1918; Shaffer, 1964; Smith, Smith & Weber, 1979; Arora, 1986; Kibby & Fatto, 1990; States, 1990; Phillips, 1991/2005; Lincoff, 1992; Evenson, 1997; Barron, 1999; McNeil, 2006; Miller & Miller, 2006.) Herb. Kuo 09059507, 01120614.
Russula brevipes var. megaspora is recorded from California; it differs in spore size (9-14 x 8-12 µ). See also Russula brevipes var. acrior, to the right.
Russula delica is a similar European species.
Further Online Information:
Russula brevipes var. acrior
Cite this page as:
Kuo, M. (2009, March). Russula brevipes. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: http://www.mushroomexpert.com/russula_brevipes.html