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Russula gracilis

[ Basidiomycetes > Russulales > Russulaceae > Russula . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

Russula gracilis is a small russula with a mottled cap, found in low, wet ecosystems (usually near birches or willows) across North America. It has a sharply acrid taste, and a creamy to yellow spore print. The cap colors are variable, but involve shades of pink to red, and shades of green. The stem is white, but often features a flush of pink.

California authors (Arora, 1986; Thiers, 1997b) report Russula gracilis under Douglas-fir; they may be describing a separate species with similar morphology.


Ecology: Mycorrhizal with willows, alders, and birches (the illustrated collection was made under water birch) in riparian ecosystems; growing alone, scattered, or gregariously; summer and fall.

Cap: 3-6 cm; convex, becoming broadly convex to flat; sticky; smooth; mottled with shades of red to pink and green to olive--usually with the greens over the center and the pinks nearer the margin; the margin sometimes becoming slightly lined at maturity; the skin peeling fairly easily, usually at least halfway to the center.

Gills: Attached to the stem; close; white to creamy or very pale yellow.

Stem: 3-5 cm long; up to 2 cm thick; fragile; whitish, often with pink flushes.

Flesh: Whitish; unchanging on exposure.

Odor and Taste: Odor not distinctive; taste acrid.

Spore Print: Creamy to yellow.

Chemical Reactions: Iron salts negative to pinkish on stem surface.

Microscopic Features: Spores 7.5-9 x 6-7 µ; with low warts projecting to about .5 µ; connecting lines scattered, usually not forming reticulated areas. Pileipellis a cutis embedded in a gelatinous matrix; pileocystidia cylindric to clavate; ochraceous-refractive in KOH and positive in sulphovanillin.

REFERENCES: Burlingham, 1915. (Burlingham, 1915; Saccardo, 1925; Arora, 1986; Kibby & Fatto, 1990; Phillips, 1991/2005; Thiers, 1997b.) Herb. DBG: RMNP 2009-004.

This site contains no information about the edibility or toxicity of mushrooms.


Russula gracilis

Russula gracilis

Russula gracilis

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Kuo, M. (2009, March). Russula gracilis. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: