What You Should Know
Russula virescens characterized by the green color of the cap, the spores without amyloid notch, and long and narrow basidia. The name comes from the Latin “virésco” - I become green, greenish, greening.
This mushroom is easy to be determined fungus. Characterized by the always dry surface of the cap, velvety. The thick fissures at the center of the cap, wider and coarse towards the margin. The color is mixed shades of green, aqua, teal, and blue. The stem, robust but frail, crooked at times.
Russula virescens found under chestnuts and other hardwoods in Europe (the species was originally named in Germany) and North America.
This is a choice edible mushroom. It may consumed also raw, dressed in the salad.
Other names: Green Cracking Russula, Quilted Green Russula, Greencracked brittlegill, Palomet (French), Gefelderter Grüntäubling (Deutsch), Gorro verde (Español).
Russula virescens Mushroom Identification
Cracked, grass-green surface, paler towards margin and with green patches on a very pale green or whitish background creating a 'quilted' or 'crazy paving' effect make this a distinctive brittlegill - something of a rarity! With age the green colouring fades from the centre to a dull brownish-ochre.
The cap peels 1/2 to centre; convex, flattening only in the centre, sometimes with a slight depression; greasy when moist; margin sometimes faintly grooved; 4 to 10cm across.
Creamy white, turning darker with age; slightly arched, adnexed; crowded; with a few interveins.
White or cream, browning with age; cylindrical, sometimes slightly fusiform, or tapering at base; 4 to 8cm long, 1.5 to 4cm dia.
Cream spore print. Broadly ellipsoidal to ovoid, 7-9 x 5.5-7 µm; ornamented with small warts up to 0.5µm tall; a few of the warts are connected with fines lines but not forming a network.
In broadleaf woodland from August to October, particularly under Beech trees, oaks, and Sweet Chestnuts. In common with other members of the Russulaceae, Russula virescens is an ectomycorrhizal mushroom.
Russula aeruginea the Green Brittlegill, is typically smaller but otherwise somewhat similar and occurs in the same kind of habitat; however, its cap does not crack.
Russula virescens Medicinal Properties
Blood lipid regulation/hypocholesterolemic effects
A Chinese study suggests that R. virescens has beneficial effects on blood lipid regulation. Rats given high (600 mg/kg/day) and low (300 mg/kg/day) doses of R. virescens via stomach perfusion for 30 days had significantly (P<0.05) lower levels of total cholesterol, total low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides than in the hyperlipidemia control group (Wang et al., 2005).
The Chinese study above also showed that rats were given high and low-doses of the mushroom had lower levels of serum and liver malondialdehyde (a biomarker used to measure levels of oxidative stress), and increased levels of the enzyme superoxide dismutase (Wang et al., 2005).
Polysaccharides extracted from the mycelial culture of R. virescens and administered intraperitoneally into white mice at a dosage of 300 mg/kg inhibited the growth of both Sarcoma 180 and Ehrlich solid cancers by 70% (Ohtsuka et al., 1973).
Russula virescens Cooking Notes
Russula virescens is one of the finest of edible brittlegills; it has a nutty flavor which is noticeably enhanced by the process of drying. These are versatile mushrooms; their firm texture and fine flavor make them ideal for sauteing, grilling, or frying with onions, but they are also very good in omelets, soups, and stews.
Provided the caps are mature enough to display the distinctive quilting that is associated with this species, it is difficult to mistake this for any other woodland mushroom.
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