What You Should Know
Russula fragrantissima is a species of Fungi in the family Russulaceae. It is characterized by a yellow-brown to ocher cap, usually with a tuberculate-striate margin, fairly large size, and an odor that can be fetid, sweet, almond-like, like maraschino cherries, or combinations of these. Habitat solitary to gregarious in duff in mixed hardwood-conifer forests, often associated with oaks and tanbark oak; fruiting from fall through winter, common in north coastal forests.
Russula fragrantissima Mushroom Identification
Mycorrhizal with hardwoods or conifers; growing alone, scattered, or gregariously; summer and fall; widely distributed in North America.
7.5-20 cm; convex or cushion-shaped when young, becoming broadly convex to flat, with or without a shallow depression; slimy when wet and fresh; dull yellow to yellowish or brownish-yellow; the margin lined at maturity; the skin peeling away easily at the margin, sometimes beyond halfway to the center.
Attached to the stem; close or nearly distant; sometimes forked near the stem; whitish to creamy; often discoloring yellowish brown to brownish, but not bruising.
7-15 cm long; 1.5-6 cm thick; white, discoloring brownish to yellowish or reddish near the base; dry; often becoming cavernous; more or less smooth.
White; unchanging when sliced.
Odor and Taste
Odor strong and fragrant, reminiscent of maraschino cherries, almonds, or benzaldehyde - with a foul component which begins to take over, especially in age; taste mild to moderately acrid.
KOH on cap surface negative to pinkish. Iron salts on stem surface negative to pinkish.
Spores 6-9 x 6-8 µ; broadly elliptical or subglobose; with warts and ridges up to 1 µ high, sometimes with connecting lines that may form a partial or nearly complete reticulum. Pleurocystidia abundant; positive in sulphovanillin. Pileipellis a cutis embedded in a gelatinous matrix; pileocystidia clavate to fusiform, ochraceous-refractive in KOH and often positive in sulphovanillin.
Russula fragrantissima Look-Alikes
Has unusually firm flexibility of fruit body and chalk-white spores (Pilat).
Similar but the pleasant almond extract scent does not become fetid in age, and the spores are slightly smaller with different ornamentation; it is rare in California.
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