What You Should Know
Russula sanguinaria is a mushroom in the genus Russula, known for its bright red cap and stem. It is commonly found in coniferous forests, and typically grows in clusters. The cap can be up to 10 cm in diameter and is smooth and glossy. The flesh of the mushroom is white, and the stem is typically the same color as the cap.
The Bloody Brittlegill is widespread in many European countries. There are reports of Russula sanguinaria (or a very similar species) being widespread in North America.
This mushroom is inedible. It has a "peppery" taste and is sometimes quite bitter. Many similar-tasting Russulas are poisonous when eaten raw. The symptoms of consuming them are mainly gastrointestinal, such as diarrhea, vomiting, and colicky abdominal cramps. The active agent has not been identified, but it is thought to consist of sesquiterpenes, which have been isolated from Russula sardonia and the related genus Lactarius.
Other names: Bloody Brittlegill, German (Blut-Täubling), France (Russule sanguine, Russule rouge sang), Netherlands (Bloedrode russula), Denmark (Blodrød Skørhat), Norway (Blodkremle), Sweden (Blodkremla), Finland (Verihapero), Spain (Cualgra sanguínia, Netorra sangue), Portugal (Cualgra sanguínia), Hungary (Vérvoeroes galambgomba), Slovakia (Plávka krvavá Holubinka krvavá), Slovenia (Češnjeva golobica), Czech Republic (Holubinka krvavá), Poland (Gołąbek krwisty), Latvia (Asinssarkanā bērzlape), Estonia (Verev pilvik).
Russula sanguinaria Mushroom Identification
The fungi is 2-10 cm in size and has a convex shape when young, becoming broadly convex to flat and sometimes with a shallow depression. It may be sticky when fresh or wet, and has a smooth texture. The color is dark to bright red, but may fade with age. The margin is not lined or only slightly lined when mature. The skin is fairly attached and peels only at the margin.
The gills are attached to the stem or slightly run down it. They are close together and white when young but quickly turn creamy, yellowish, or yellow.
The stem is 3-10 cm long and 1.5-2.5 cm thick, it is firm and the color is similar to the cap or paler. Sometimes it is flushed red over a white base color. It is dry and fairly smooth.
White; unchanging when sliced.
Odor and Taste
Odor not distinctive; taste quickly and usually strongly acrid.
Creamy to yellowish or orange-yellow.
KOH on cap surface pale orange; iron salts on stem surface negative to pinkish.
Mycorrhizal fungi have a symbiotic relationship with 2-needled pines such as Bishop pine and red pine, as well as other conifers. These fungi are commonly found growing alone, scattered, or in large groups, and are present throughout the summer and fall, and even in warm climates during the winter. They are widely distributed throughout North America.
Spores 7-9 x 6-7 µ; with isolated warts .5-1 µ high; connectors scattered and infrequent, only occasionally forming partially reticulated areas. Pileipellis a cutis of well-defined or partially gelatinized, hyaline elements. Pileocystidia cylindric to subclavate; 0-4 septate; to about 100 x 10 µ; positive in sulphovanillin and ochraceous-refractive in KOH.
Russula sanguinaria Look-Alikes
Sometimes it is red, with a stem that is also flushed the same color. It has a smell similar to crab meat.
It grows in the same habitat and has a bright red cap. The stem is rarely colored and it is very crumbly and fragile.
Differs only in spore dimensions; its spores measure 9-11 x 8-11 µm.
Similar, but has a white stipe and a white
Russula sanguinaria Taxonomy and Etymology
The Bloody Brittlegill mushroom, also known as Agaricus sanguinarius, was first described in 1803 by Danish botanist Heinrich Christian Friedrich Schumacher. The German mycologist Stephan Rauschert later redescribed and gave it its current name in a paper published after Schumacher's death in 1989. The generic name Russula means red or reddish, reflecting the color of many of the brittlegills' caps, although they can also come in a range of other colors. The specific epithet sanguinaria comes from the Latin word for blood, referring to the mushroom's red caps and stems.
Russula sanguinaria Synonyms and Varietes
Agaricus rosaceus Pers.
Agaricus sanguinarius Schumacher (1803), Enumeratio plantarum in partibus Saellandiae septentrionalis et orientalis, 2, p. 244
Agaricus sanguineus Bulliard (1781), Herbier de la France, 2, tab. 42 (nom. illegit.)
Russula acris Steinhaus (1888), Hedwigia, 27(2), p. 51
Russula confusa Velen., 1920
Russula luteotacta var. rosacea (Pers.) Singer
Russula rosacea (Pers.) Gray.
Russula rosacea f. subcarnea Britzelm., 1893
Russula rosacea ss. Cooke (1890), Illustrations of british fungi, 7, n° 982, tab. 1020
Russula sanguinaria (Schumacher) Rauschert (1989), Ceská mykologie, 43(4), p. 204
Russula sanguinea var. pseudorosacea Maire, 1910
Russula sanguinea var. rosacea (Pers.) J.E. Lange
Russula sanguinea var. rosacea JE Lange, 1940
Russula sulphurea Velen., 1920
Photo 1 - Author: Holger Krisp (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported)
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