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Summary: Hygrophorus russula is recognized by 1) a coral-pink to vinaceous red cap usually streaked with purple-red or vinaceous fibrils, the cap surface viscid but soon dry, 2) hard flesh, 3) close to crowded gills, 4) a dry, smooth stem, 5) the absence of a veil, and 6) growth with hardwoods.
Collections were examined from WA, AL, IL, MA, MI, NY, TN, TX, Canada, and Belgium, and NC is included in the distribution, (Hesler(1)). There are collections from BC at Pacific Forestry Centre and the University of British Columbia. There are collections from OR at Oregon State University. There is a collection from AK at the University of Washington. The herbarium at the College of Idaho has a collection from ID. It also occurs elsewhere in Europe (including Switzerland - Breitenbach(3)).
Cap: 5-13cm across, convex to flat or with uplifted margin when old, margin often incurved when young; coral-pink to vinaceous red, "usually streaked with purple-red or vinaceous fibrils", occasionally staining yellowish when rubbed or when old, "margin often paler or whitish"; viscid when wet but soon dry, smooth or minutely scaly, (Arora), 5-12cm across, hemispheric or convex, sometimes with broad umbo, margin often becoming elevated, margin long remaining inrolled; 'color variable: "shrimp pink," "cameo pink," "coral pink," "vinaceous pink" or "deep vinaceous," the margin whitish to "Chatenay pink," disc purplish red or pinkish red'; 'viscid, soon dry, usually streaked with purplish-red fibrils, smooth at first but breaking up into minute appressed-fibrillose patches' giving the disc a granulose to subscaly [somewhat scaly] appearance, 'sometimes staining yellowish when rubbed', margin finely cottony-pubescent, (Hesler), margin often with a zone of purplish watery spots, (Largent)
Flesh: thick; white or tinged pink, (Arora), thick, firm; white or tinged pinkish, (Hesler), firm, quite hard, similar to Russula Section Compactae, (Largent)
Gills: "usually adnate but sometimes adnexed or slightly decurrent", close to crowded (120-150 reaching the stem), soft, slightly waxy; white at first but soon flushed pink and developing purplish-red to vinaceous stains when old, (Arora), bluntly adnate, becoming decurrent, rather close, 120 to 130 reaching the stem, narrow to moderately broad, acuminate [gradually narrowing] at both ends; white when young but soon flushed with pale pink ''and later spotted with sordid purplish-red spots'', sometimes sordid purplish red overall when old, (Hesler), adnate to subdecurrent, 63-78 reaching stem, 3-7 subgills between neighboring gills, narrow; "white when young, later with purple-wine-red spots"; edges smooth, (Breitenbach)
Stem: 3-10cm x 1.5-3.5cm, usually stout, equal or narrowing in lower part, solid; white at first, ''soon stained or streaked pink to reddish or vinaceous''; dry, smooth, (Arora), 3-7cm x 1.5-3.5cm, equal or narrowing slightly downward, or at times subventricose [slightly wider in middle], solid; white at first becoming stained, streaked or washed pinkish, finally colored more or less as cap; dry, top pruinose to bald, lower part bald, (Hesler), at first bald, then typically developing purplish red punctae particularly at the apex when old, on exposure or when dried, punctae may extend over the entire surface, eventually the surface becoming colored as the cap, (Largent)
Veil: absent (Arora)
Odor: typically mild (Arora), mild (Hesler)
Taste: typically mild, (Arora), mild (Hesler), sometimes slightly bitter, (Lincoff(1))
Microscopic spores: spores 6-8 x 3-5 microns, elliptic, smooth; gill tissue slightly divergent, (Arora), spores 6-8 x 3-4.5(5) microns, elliptic, smooth, inamyloid; basidia 4-spored, 40-53 x 5-6 microns; pleurocystidia and cheilocystidia absent; gill tissue divergent with a mediostrate composed of large hyphae, 5-16 microns broad; clamp connections present on gill trama and cap cuticle hyphae, (Hesler)
Spore deposit: white (Arora)
Habitat / Range
scattered to gregarious or in fairy rings in mixed woods and under hardwoods, associated mainly with oaks, (Arora), gregarious, "at times in arcs or fairy rings", "in oak and mixed oak-pine woods", August to December, (Hesler), summer, fall, winter
Russula spp. are similar in stature but the stem of Hygrophorus russula does not snap like chalk, (Arora). Hygrophorus erubescens has subdistant to close gills (75-95 reaching stem) instead of close to crowded with 120-130 reaching stem, and it grows in coniferous woods, (Hesler, but note that Breitenbach(3) gives gills reaching stem as 63-78 for H. russula though with 3-7 subgills between neighboring gills). H. erubescens has a cap and stem that have a tendency to turn yellow (especially the stem base), a stem that is purple-red punctate along almost all of its length, gills that are less crowded, habitat in mountain spruce forests, and spores that are somewhat larger, (Breitenbach). The gills of H. capreolarius are already spotted wine-red when young and when old they are completely wine-red or brown-red, whereas H. russula has gills at first white then spotted purple-red; gills of Hygrophorus capreolarius are decurrent whereas those of H. russula are often emarginate-adnate, (Moser(1)). H. capreolarius also has subdistant to distant gills, and favors conifers. Hygrophorus purpurascens has a viscid cap (weakly viscid to dry for H. russula) and subdistant gills (close for H. russula), favors conifers (H. russula favors hardwoods), and has a fibrillose veil, (Bessette(1)).
Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2020. E-Flora BC:
Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia [eflora.bc.ca]. Lab for
Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British
Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed:
2021-10-18 6:27:05 PM
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