Russula mushrooms: characterization of species and habitat

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Russula mushrooms, popular and widespread in our country, belong to the genus of lamellar mushrooms from the Russulaceae family. The description of this family is known not only to experienced but also to beginner mushroom pickers. The genus includes edible species and poisonous varieties, so it is very important to know what a mushroom looks like, suitable for eating.

Mushroom Characterization

A young russula is characterized by the presence of a spherical, hemispherical or bell-shaped hat, which in the process of growth and development of the fungus acquires an open, flat or funnel-shaped shape. The edges of the cap can be either wrapped or straight. The surface is covered with dry or wet, dull or glossy, occasionally cracked peels of various colors. Depending on the specific features, the skin can be easily removed from the pulp or be grown.

The plates are grown and notched type, can be descending or free. Often there are species with forked branches, as well as with blunt or pointed edges.

The leg is cylindrical, dense, with a cavity inside, sometimes it may have a thickening or a sharpness to the base. The main color is white. The pulp is dense, brittle or spongy.

A feature of the family is the brittle fruiting body of mushrooms, which can complicate the collection and transportation. In older instances, the color of the flesh is often observed and the presence of not a soft, but relatively caustic taste. It is widely believed that the flesh of Russula is suitable for use just a day after salting, which is why the whole family of these mushrooms, popular in our country, got its name.

Russula: features of the collection

Photo gallery

Common species

The popularity of russula in our country is due to their dignified taste and wide distribution. A significant part of the species of this genus is edible, but some have a pronounced bitter taste, which, however, quickly disappears as a result of soaking and subsequent boiling.

View nameLatin nameHat FeatureLeg DescriptionPulp Features
Russula blackRussula adustaConvex-spread, in the central part, depressed, brown, stickyDense, light brown, cylindricalSweetish, with a sharp aftertaste, blushing at the cut
Russula greenRussula aerugineaConvex, flattened or indented, grass green stain, smoothCylindrical, white colorYellowish white, sweet, without a pronounced aroma
Russula white-blackRussula albonigraConvex, depressed or funnel-shaped, with a whitish staining surface, darkening with an incisionCylindrical or reverse conical, sturdy, off-white stainMint-flavored, browned under the influence of air
The russula is leatheryRussula alutaceaHemispherical, flat or depressed, covered with violet-red or red-brown skinCylindrical, white with pink or yellow tintWhite, without pronounced aroma and taste
Yellow russulaRussula claroflavaHemispherical, convex, flattened or slightly indented with furrowed edgesCylindrical or tapering shape, yellowish whiteStrong, white, with a fruity-floral aroma, sweetish

Varieties with a burning, caustic flesh are classified as inedible. Some lovers of quiet hunting call such species "false russula." There are not too many edible mushroom species.

View nameLatin nameHat FeatureLeg DescriptionPulp Features
Russula caustic birchRussula betularumFleshy and brittle, flattened or slightly depressed, with pronounced wavinessWrinkled, white or yellowish, with cavitiesFragile, white, with a pungent taste
The russula is hotRussula amarissimaBright red or pinkish-red, peel quite easily removedLoose, white, often with a cavity insideFragile, white, with an unpleasant pungent taste
Russula gallRussula felleaConvex, with a tubercle in the center and a weak ribbing of the edges, straw yellow or light ocher in colorSpindle-shaped or club-shapedIt has a geranium aroma and a strong burning taste
Russula brittleRussula fragilisFlattened, from pale violet to reddish-violetCylindrical smooth or club-shapedSweetish aroma and pronounced bitter taste
Russula wavyRussula undulataFleshy and very strong, pronounced red crimsonShortened, strong enough, white with a pink tintWith a pungent taste and a slight scent of sidor


Russula grow almost everywhere. Russula adusta prefers acidic soils of pine forests, where it bears fruit from mid-summer to October. The species Russula aeruginea is widespread in deciduous and mixed forests, where it forms mycorrhiza with birch trees. Russula albonigra can be found not only in conifers, but also in deciduous forests, forming mycorrhiza with birch and pine trees. The distribution area of ​​Russula alutacea is broad-leaved forests, where fruiting bodies grow both singly and in small groups. Light yellow Russula are characterized by the formation of mycorrhiza with birch trees and most often grow in swampy areas of the forest.

The inedible species of Russula betularum, similar to the edible species of russula, is most often found in wetlands or wet forests. Russula fragilis is widespread in conifers and deciduous forests. Also common in coniferous species is Russula undulata. Particular attention is required to russula Mayor or Russula mairei, which belongs to the category of poisonous mushrooms, and threatens to eat serious health problems.

Beneficial features

Despite the fact that russula is not among the noble mushrooms popular among mushroom pickers, there is no doubt in their benefit. The pulp contains vitamins B1, B2, PP, C and E, and is also characterized by a sufficient amount of dietary fiber, unsaturated and saturated fatty acids, monosaccharides and disaccharides. A high content of potassium and phosphorus was noted. Calorie content per 100 g of product is only 19.0 kcal.

Cooking methods

Russula are good in boiled, fried, pickled and salted form. You can cook them a significant amount of delicious and healthy dishes. Cooking should always begin with the preparation of fruiting bodies, which must be thoroughly cleaned and, if necessary, soaked or pre-boiled.

It is recommended to cook pickled Russula for the winter as follows:

  • Pour 1 kg of clean and chopped mushrooms with water in an amount of 0.45 L and boil for 15-20 minutes;
  • drain the mushroom broth and add a teaspoon of sugar, a tablespoon of salt, bay leaf and peppercorns to it;
  • bring the marinade to a boil, add a glass of 9% table vinegar and pour the broth with mushrooms;
  • boil the mushrooms for five minutes, and then pour into clean jars and roll up.

Russula: harvesting for the winter

Russula salted "in a village" are also very good. It will take a couple of kilograms of russula, two tablespoons of salt and fresh garlic. The peeled and well-washed russula should be placed in a clean bowl with the caps down, pouring layers of mushrooms with a mixture of salt and chopped garlic. Salted russula should be placed in a cool place. Mushrooms will be ready for use in about a week. Such a cold appetizer perfectly retains the aroma of forest mushrooms and is very suitable for any festive feast.


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