Russula sanguinea: The Ultimate Mushroom Guide
About The Russula sanguinea Mushroom
Russula sanguinea has previously been misidentified as Russula rosacea. Whatever you call it, the rosy Russula is easy to identify by its red cap, rosy pink stipe, brittle flesh, and acrid taste. It is widespread and fairly common in Europe and 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 are mainly gastrointestinal: diarrhea, vomiting, and colicky abdominal cramps. The active agent has not been identified but is thought to consist of sesquiterpenes, which have been isolated from Russula sardonia, and the related genus Lactarius.
Other names: Rosy Russula, Bloody Brittlegill.
Russula sanguinea Identification
4-10 cm broad, convex to plano-convex, becoming plane with a depressed disc; the margin in age slightly striate and sometimes upturned; surface smooth, viscid, bright red to dark red, fading to pink or lavender-pink, sometimes with white or yellow blotches; flesh white, unchanging when exposed, brittle; odor mild, taste acrid.
Adnate to adnexed, white to creamy to pale yellow, close to subdistant.
5-10 cm long, 1-2.5 cm thick, equal or tapering toward the apex; surface smooth, dry, pink to rose; stuffed to hollow in age; flesh white, brittle.
7.8-9.5 x 6.5-8.5 µm, subovoid to subellipsoid with amyloid ornamentation of isolated spines and warts.
Pale yellow to yellow.
Scattered to gregarious under pine, fall to early spring.
KOH on cap surface pale orange; iron salts on stem surface negative to pinkish.
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 sanguinea Look-Alikes
Similar, but has a white stipe and a white
Sometimes red with a stem also flushed the same colour; it smells of crab meat.
Macroscopically identical, but tends to favor sphagnum moss in coniferous forests, and is much rarer.
Grows in the same habitat and has a bright red cap. It rarely has a colored stipe and is very crumbly and fragile.
Russula sanguinea Taxonomy & Etymology
In 1803 Danish botanist Heinrich Christian Friedrich Schumacher (1757-1830) described this species and named it Agaricus sanguinarius. It was formally redescribed and given its present binomial name in a paper (published in 1989, after his death) by the German mycologist Stephan Rauschert (1931-1986).
Russula, the generic name, means red or reddish, and indeed many of the brittlegills have red caps (but many more are not, and several of those that are usually red can also occur in a range of other colors!).
The specific epithet sanguinaria comes from the Latin noun sanguis, meaning blood; it refers of course to the blood-like color of caps and stems of these brittlegill mushrooms.
Russula sanguinea Synonyms
Russula acris Steinhaus, 1888
Russula rosacea f. subcarnea Britzelm., 1893
Russula sanguinea var. pseudorosacea Maire, 1910
Russula confusa Velen., 1920
Russula sulphurea Velen., 1920
Russula sanguinea var. rosacea JE Lange, 1940
Russula sanguinea profile
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