Russula emetica

Russula emetica (R.H. Petersen) (Basidiomycota, Russulaceae), also called “the sickener”, which is an apt term, as ingestion of this mushroom can lead to severe gastrointestinal upset.

Russula emetica (PLP847_2018_203). (A) cap is a fairly deep pinkish to red color. (B) Hymenium and stipe are pure white in color.
Figure 1. Russula emetica (PLP847_2018_203). (A) cap is a fairly deep pinkish to red color. (B) Hymenium and stipe are pure white in color.

Taxonomy:

  • Kingdom: Fungi
  • Division: Basidiomycota
  • Class: Agaricomycetes
  • Order: Russulales
  • Family: Russulaceae
  • Genus: Russula
  • Species: R. emetica

Russula emetica (R.H. Petersen) (Basidiomycota, Russulaceae), also called “the sickener”, which is an apt term, as ingestion of this mushroom can lead to severe gastrointestinal upset. R. emetica grows in a mycorrhizal association with other trees, often conifers and can be found from spring through the fall months (Figure 3). The cap is a distinct shade of red, often darker in the center and will peel away from the gills (figure 1). The hymenium is pure white when young and the are attached to the stipe, although they do not run down at all. The stipe itself is also white in color (figure 1).

Russula emetica Figure 2
Figure 2. Russula emetica (PLP847_2018_203). Beautifully ornamented spores produced by Russula emetica (A). Some spores shown lining the edge of the gill (B). The white spore print produced by Russula emetica (C).

This fungus, as do all mushrooms in the Russula genus, has spores which are ornamented and also hyaline (Figure 2A, 2B). This ornamentation helps to distinguish this genus under the microscope. The spore print for this Russula is white and can be seen in Figure 2C.

Russula emetica Figure 3
Figure 3. Russula emetica (PLP847_2018_203) growing in a densely packed pine forest amidst both living and decaying evergreen trees.

 

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