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Russula pulchra

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

by Michael Kuo

One of a gazillion red species in the genus Russula, Russula pulchra features a dull and unpolished cap that develops a cracked surface with age, a stem that is often flushed with pink, a creamy spore print, and mild taste. It is associated with hardwoods in eastern North America. Microscopic features (which should probably be verified for positive identification) include elliptical spores with well developed warts, and a distinctive pileipellis that lacks pileocystidia but features multi-septate end cells.

Russula flavisiccans is very similar, but has a bitter to unpleasant taste; additionally, its stem is never flushed with pink, its surfaces often become brownish when handled, its cap turns pink with KOH, and its flesh, stem, and gills become yellow when dried. It also differs microscopically.


Ecology: Mycorrhizal with oaks, beech, and other hardwoods; growing alone, scattered, or gregariously; summer and fall; probably widely distributed in eastern North America.

Cap: 5-10 cm; convex when young, becoming broadly convex to flat, sometimes with a shallow depression; sticky when fresh or wet, but usually dry when collected; very finely velvety; often developing cracks with maturity; scarlet to pinkish red when fresh but often fading to orangish red or peach red; the margin usually lined at maturity; the skin peeling with difficulty, usually only near the margin.

Gills: Attached to the stem or running slightly down it; nearly distant; white when young but creamy with maturity.

Stem: 3-7 cm long; 1-2 cm thick; white, often with a flush of pink; dry; fairly smooth.

Flesh: White; unchanging when sliced.

Odor and Taste: Odor not distinctive; taste mild.

Spore Print: Creamy.

Chemical Reactions: KOH on cap surface yellow.

Microscopic Features: Spores 6.5-9 x 5.5-7.5 µ; with warts up to 1.5 µ high; connectors scattered and infrequent--or sometimes frequent, creating reticulated areas. Pleurocystidia scattered; more or less fusoid; projecting. Pileipellis a cutis of pinkish to hyaline elements beneath trichodermial areas with hyphal ends multi-septate, with barrel-shaped sub-terminal cells beneath an obovoid to subfusiform terminal cell; pileocystidia absent.

REFERENCES: Burlingham, 1918. (Saccardo, 1925; Kibby & Fatto, 1990; Phillips, 1991/2005; Roody, 2003; Binion et al., 2008.) Herb. Kuo 09030205.

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


Russula pulchra

Russula pulchra

Russula pulchra

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