What You Should Know
Russula rosea is a north temperate, some consider it edible other inedible, commonly found mushroom of the large "brittlegill" genus Russula.
This beautiful mushroom is often confused with other reddish brittlegills. Brittlegills can be difficult to separate without resorting the chemical tests and microscopy, and identifying the Rosy Brittlegill is not helped by the fact that the stems are not always flushed with a carmine red.
The cap is convex when young, later flat, mostly bright cinnabar to carmine-red; often with yellow spots and up to 10 cm in diameter. The gills are pale straw-yellow, brittle, and occasionally with a red edge at the rim of the cap. The spores are pale cream. The stem is usually flushed carmine but can be pure white. The flesh is hard and bitter tasting. This mushroom is commonly found in coniferous forests or near beech trees.
Other names: Rosy Russula, Rosy Brittlegill.
Russula rosea Mushroom Identification
Red or pink, often cream towards the center; sometimes entirely cream; dry, either shiny or matt, sometimes slightly powdered. 5 to 12cm diameter, convex, later flattening or developing a slight central depression. Peeling minimally or not at all.
Pale cream, almost free; forked; very brittle.
Solid and difficult to squash; brittle white flesh; surface usually but not always flushed carmine, especially in upper part; cylindrical, often slightly swollen in lower part; 4 to 10cm long, 1 to 2cm diameter.
Ovoid; 7-9 x 6.4-7.4µm; with warts up to 0.5µm tall, connected to form a complete or near-complete reticulum (mesh-like network).
Odor and Taste
Odor pleasant but not distinctive; taste mild but variable - usually reminiscent of cedarwood pencils or turpentine, but sometimes slightly bitter.
The rare Russula pseudointegra is distinguished by its hot-tasting flesh. Red-stemmed forms of R.rosea could also be confused with Russula xerampelina, but the latter has softer flesh and no woody flavor.
Russula rosea Taxonomy and Etymology
The Rosy Brittlegill was described and given its currently accepted scientific binomial name in 1796 by Christiaan Hendrik Persoon. Some confusion arises because in 1886 Lucien Quélet described another brittlegill and named it Russula rosea; however, that reddish-capped species and now recognized as synonymous with Russula aurora (Krombh.) Bres.
Synonyms of Russula rosea include Russula lepida var. lactea (Pers.) F.H. Møller & Jul. Schäff., Agaricus lacteus Pers., Russula lepida Fr., Russula lactea (Pers.) Fr., Russula linnaei, and Russula lepida var. alba Quél.
Russula, the generic name, means red or reddish, and indeed many of the brittlegills have red. The specific epithet rosea means rosy red, of course.
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